The power of author collaborations

teamHave you been invited to collaborate with a colleague or author but hesitated because you weren’t sure if it was a good idea or because you were reluctant to commit the time or energy?

Who can blame you? Let’s be honest: Before you partner with someone, you want to be fairly confident that it will be a good, productive experience.

That confidence often comes from experience working with your collaborator on other projects or in other ways. So starting small might be the best way to approach teaming up with someone else.

4 easy collaboration ideas

“Entry level” collaborations can take many forms. You might . . .

  • Ask another writer in your genre to share information about your new book with her e-opt-in e-mail list in exchange for sending details of her latest book to yours.
  • Organize a local authors event at a bookstore or library.
  • Include another author as a resource when pitching a magazine or newsletter on a story or a TV talk show on a segment.
  • Form a blog circle with other authors targeting the same readers. Link to the blogs in your circle from your site, comment on their blog posts, agree to contribute content to theirs — and vice versa — on a regular basis.

3 reasons to collaborate

But why would you do any of this in the first place? What’s in it for you? Here are three reasons why I love collaborations:

  1. You can help/entertain/educate/inform more readers when you partner with others who already reach the people you want to reach.
  2. It’s an easy and affordable way to expand the audience for your work.
  3. There’s potential for you to learn, grow, and improve when you team with a colleague who could be in a position to teach you about something you need to learn.

I seem to be leaning more and more towards collaborations in my own businesses. Sometimes I do it simply for the pleasure of creating something new with a smart colleague. Other times, it’s because I know that our combined efforts will do more good than the solo approach.

And, honestly, it’s just plain fun to work with smart people.

How I’m collaborating

Right now, I’m collaborating in a pretty big way with two people I admire a lot: Author and publishing advisor Jennifer Lawler, and ghostwriter and entrepreneur Marcia Layton Turner.

Jennifer and I are teaming up on two of her e-courses that start in September, “Plan Your Nonfiction Book” and “Write Your Book Proposal.” I’m teaching the platform-building week of the four-week nonfiction book course. For the book proposal course, I will review and advise on the marketing sections of their proposals for an additional discounted fee.

It’s not the first time we’ve collaborated, though. When I was creating the content for my “Book Publicity 101 for Fiction: How to Build Book Buzz Premium E-course” (just introduced in a Basic E-course version, too), I interviewed Jennifer to get her views on what novelists struggle with the most when promoting their books. (In addition to writing nonfiction books, Jennifer writes romance novels and at the time we spoke, was the acquisitions editor of the Crimson Romance imprint of Adams Media.) She also reviewed the course content.

Marcia Turner and I have teamed to create a new website, Information Products for Writers, an outgrowth of a workshop we presented with Fred Gleeck at the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference. In addition, we’re working with nearly a dozen writers this summer in a special 12-week “reinvention challenge” organized by Freelance Success, a subscription newsletter with a vibrant online community. We’re teaching group members how to create their first information product, and just between us, we’re loving every minute of it!

Start small!

There’s nothing bad about any of this. Yes, it takes time, but it pushes me to keep creating while it connects me with new people. Do you have room for this in your life? If you do, consider collaborating. Start small . . . it might lead to something big.

How do you collaborate with others to reach your readers or achieve other goals?


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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