“The Rise of Co-Authoring”

A reader’s perspective on co-authored books

It has never seemed odd to me to see co-authored non-fiction books: academic studies, project reports, news, magazine and journal articles, even “autobiographies”. I’ve been part of such collaborations a time or two with mixed results and I’ve not been a big reader of explicitly labelled co-authored fiction. Not sure why, perhaps the negative publicity (Naked Strangers – before my time but I read about it 😉 and my experiences with more mainstream efforts (James Patterson, John Clancy come to mind) has contributed to this aversion I’ve had to give them a chance.

I am sure that unbeknownst to me I have read a number of co-authored fiction novels where there is only one pen name listed. I can think of one lesfic from a few years ago that I enjoyed and somehow discovered it was published under a single pen name by an author I quite liked and another that was new to me. I noted that it was co-authored in the acknowledgements and later found via social media that it was not an enjoyable experience for at least one of the co-authors and that she was not anxious to repeat the experience. I imagine that it is a little like buyer beware when entering into a co-author relationship for the first time. You can think that you have the same vision and work ethic, complementary writing and communication skills, but … you just never know. Like the collaborative effort between editor and writer some editors and writers work well together and others less so. Sometimes there is even a best before date. But when it works I suspect it must be great fun and has benefits for all concerned. I would imagine as well that it is so much easier to collaborate now than ten even two years ago. During this pandemic it must be fun to work with someone else on something so creative.

It may be just a fluke but I’ve seen an increase in the number of co-authored books be it within a single novel or with different authors writing a novel within a series or collection of novellas within a single work lately so I thought I’d talk about a few today.

Up to it’s fifth edition now, my first foray into co-authored lesfic was the beloved two book series by Blayne Cooper and T. Novan: Madame President and First Lady. Close to 20 years since first published we are now in the “futuristic” time period in which the book is set. Some things have come to fruition others not but it is an enjoyable slow burn romance with strong independent women tackling, to a limited extent, political and cultural issues.

T.B. Markinson has been busy over the last couple of years co-authoring novels with some of my favourite independent authors (Harper Bliss, Clare Lydon, and Miranda MacLeod). In addition to contributing a novel A Shot at Love to the trilogy The Village Romance Series with Harper Bliss and Clare Lydon, she has also co-authored individual books with them as well as Miranda MacLeod. I have read them all (my budget thanks you for using the KU platform) and found them well written, flow seamlessly, feature interesting and well developed characters, as well as contain timely angst and “hot” scenes. And all are, for an added bonus, sprinkled with plenty of humour. Markinson’s most recent co-authored release is with Miranda MacLeod. Heart of Ice is an enjoyable age/gap and ice queen romance. There is some fun social media out there with these two talking about the process and how it was working together as well.

I guess that I have gotten over my “co-authored” novel aversion after all. I know that I have a few others in my archives (Harper and Caroline Bliss – A Swing at Love; Kris Bryant, Maggie Cummings and M. Ullrich Against All Odds; JM Dragon and Erin O’Reilly When Hell Meets Heaven Series to name a few). Next, I’ll be checking out the late Erica Abbott’s collaboration with Pol Robinson [Un]Common Ground. Looks like a dose of just what we need these days.

Please feel free to comment about the process or any such novels that you’ve read lately and would like to share.

Stay Safe!

7 comments

  1. Although my experience was different between Erin O’Reilly and Ali Spooner, I loved co-authoring with both of them. I would absolutely do it again. I think the key is allowing both authors to keep their own voice and style. That can be accomplished in many different ways.

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    • I can also imagine how exciting it might be for a relatively new writer to end up collaborating with more established writers. Especially those one might have looked up to in the past.

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  2. The only book I’ve co-authored came about because Elle Armstrong helped me come up with an idea for a spinoff and I knew I couldn’t write both books without help. There just wouldn’t be enough time. It was challenging to merge our voices, but I haven’t seen any complaints. And in many ways we balanced each other out. The editing was a challenge, but it was a positive experience.

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    • Sorry, it’s Kindle Unlimited offered by amazon. You pay a monthly fee and can read any novel an author chooses to put on the platform. You are restricted to having up to 10 books “on loan” for reading at a time.

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  3. I don’t mind co-authored books. It hasn’t held me back from reading them. But I think there is a difference between the James Patterson and Tom Clancy sort (where it’s them writing with some random X author, where you know that Patterson or Clancy have provided all the synopsis/outline/etc and it’s the other person actually doing the writing to Patterson/Clancy’s style) vs. the coauthoring done by TB Markinson, et al. I definitely prefer the latter, where it’s two authors working together rather than the dominant popular author providing all the plot and the unknown doing all the writing.

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  4. Absolutely. I am also thinking how much easier it is now to be able to collaborate on-line than it was before. There can be almost immediate feedback and brainstorming. Done well no issues with it any more 😀

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