How to Co-Author a Book
Table of Contents
- Is Co-Authoring Right for You?
- Pros and Cons of Co-Authoring a Book
- 10 Steps for Co-Authoring a Book
- Pre-Project Planning for a Co-Authored Book
- Five Ways to Write Your Co-Authored Book Chapter
Writing a co-authored book has become more popular as busy entrepreneurs become not only busier but are also looking for better ways to build authority and grow their business.
Here at JETLAUNCH, we specialize in co-authored books for entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, consultants, influencers, Facebook group owners, and CEOs.
Is Co-Authoring Right for You?
Co-authoring a book is the perfect way to become a bestselling author with very little work on your part. If you own a Facebook group, offering a co-authored book deal is a great way to increase engagement and massively build your email list. It’s also a great way to create partnerships and joint ventures with other authors. In addition, because you’ll include your own ads in the book, you can grow your business significantly.
Co-authoring a book is a good fit for you if you:
- Want to build authority and become an influencer
- Are ready to leverage a book to grow your business
- Want to build your email list
When you author a book, even as a co-author, you instantly establish yourself as an expert. People take notice of you and start following you. Your fans want to hear more from you. When you include calls-to-action in your book, your readers will sign up to your email list, which allows you to give them even more value and turn them into customers.
Co-authoring a book might not be a good fit for you if you:
- Hate money
- Hate people
- Hate success
Yes, I’m being facetious—to a point. It’s amazing how many people sabotage their success by choosing the path of least resistance. If I told you I have proof (and I do) that co-authoring a book can help you make more money and bring success, and if you then chose to do nothing or continue wasting your money on ads or whatever else isn’t actually working for you, then that would be an example of self-sabotage.
Pros and Cons of Co-Authoring a Book
There are many benefits to co-authoring a book, but there are also some things to take into consideration. If you are the main author of the book, you receive more benefits than if you are only one of the co-authors. All co-authors are considered bestselling authors but only the main authors will see their names listed on Amazon.
Cost is another plus. While creating your own book can cost several thousand dollars, co-authoring spreads that cost over twenty to thirty people. And if you’re the main author, you might not have to pay anything. At JETLAUNCH, we don’t charge the main authors anything, but we provide massive benefits.
Another big advantage of co-authoring a book is the number of connections you’ll make with other successful people in your field. Your co-authors will be people with similar mindsets, work ethic, and drive. We’ve seen many successful joint ventures and partnerships formed between co-authors.
While the pros definitely outweigh the cons, there are a few points to keep in mind. For instance, you need to keep in mind that a successful launch campaign takes some organizing and consideration for timing. Although JETLAUNCH handles most of the burden, you still have certain marketing tasks to plan and schedule. You also want to have a good follow-up system to leverage your book and new status as a bestselling author.
- Become a bestselling author
- Low to zero cost
- Partnership opportunities
- Takes some organizing for marketing
- Need to pay attention to timing for the bestseller launch
- Requires follow-up system to leverage your book and new status
10 Steps for Co-Authoring a Book
Step 1: Determine goals. Where does a book fit into your business model? Books are often used for generating leads and building authority.
Step 2: Decide the main topic. What is a topic that is important enough to appeal to your dream customer and also aligns with your expertise, products, or services?
Step 3: Decide co-author requirements. How long should their chapters be? What will you not allow? (Self-promotion over valuable content, cursing, etc.) What is their timeline for sending their chapter manuscript? How many copies do they commit to selling, and how much marketing should they do?
Step 4: Find a publishing partner. Find a company that already has experience designing books and specifically has experience, not only designing a co-authored book, but can also help you organize and manage the entire project.
Step 5: Decide on your launch date. Give yourself plenty of time, not only for everyone to finish their chapters, but also for the editing and design process. Also, plan for time to order a physical proof, make changes, and prepare for your launch. In our experience at JETLAUNCH, we’ve found that three to four months is good.
Step 6: Choose your co-authors. If you have a Facebook group, write a post or schedule a live video to talk about the co-authored book you’re planning. Ask for interested people to sign up (and pay) through a form or landing page. You can do the same for a mailing list or social media or anywhere you have followers.
Step 7: Create a communications platform. Write an introduction and your chapter. Create a common place to communicate with all of your co-authors. Facebook Messenger groups are currently the best option because you know that your co-authors will receive all of your messages, plus you can use polls, which are very effective.
Step 8: Begin the marketing process. This includes promotional activity leading up to your launch day, plus everything that happens on launch day. Be sure you have a landing page prepared for the call-to-action you include in your book. Also, plan your follow-up email sequences. Lastly, don’t forget to set up a pre-order for the ebook version that ends on your launch day.
Step 9: Launch day. If you’ve planned well, you won’t have much to do on launch day. However, be sure you’re available to answer questions and troubleshoot last-minute problems.
Step 10: Follow-up. Your book is a lead gen tool. Every time someone signs up to receive your free lead magnet (listed in your book), you build your email list. This means you’ll have a steady stream of prospects for your products or services. Don’t forget to follow-up with your co-authors and look for ways to support them and their businesses, possibly looking for joint venture opportunities.
Pre-Project Planning for a Co-Authored Book
Next, we’re going to take you through some of the pre-planning you need to do before you begin writing. From finding a co-author to setting up your co-author agreement, you’ll want to have these things in place from the beginning.
How to Find a Co-Author for Your Book
There are several ways to find co-authors. If you own a Facebook group, it’s easy: write a post asking for people would be interested in co-authoring a bestseller for you. Of course, that could get difficult because you might get far more people interested than you have room for. After all, a book with fifty co-authors is a bit much. But then again, you could do more than one book and call them Volume 1, Volume 2, etc.
If you have an email list, it’s also easy because you can send an email explaining the project and the kind of co-authors who would be a good fit. Again, if you have a big list, you could end up with far too many interested co-authors than what you can handle.
If you don’t have followers, either with social media or an email list, you can still find co-authors relatively easily. You could write a post on LinkedIn where you talk about the vision of your book and the benefits of co-authoring with you, and then ask interested people to contact you. You could also create a landing page with a sign-up form, and then run ads that send traffic to that page. With a little creativity, you’ll think of many ways to find co-authors.
What makes a good co-author? Surprisingly, it’s not necessarily someone who writes well. For example, we did a co-authored book called Overcoming Adversity in Entrepreneurship, and some off the most powerful stories were not the most well written. We edit everyone’s chapter manuscript, so perfect grammar and spelling is not a requirement.
What you’re looking for in a co-author is someone who is willing to put in the work to help you market the book and who will get their chapter turned in on time. You want someone who will be easy to work with and who communicates well.
Because you’ll probably end up with far more people interested in co-authoring with you than you can fit in one book (I recommend no more than thirty), you want to come up with ways to filter out those who are only sort of interested and who probably won’t make good co-authors anyway. You want barriers to entry.
Price is one way to filter out the sort-of-interested from the let’s-get-er-done people. Someone who is willing to pay $497 will have a lot more motivation than someone who will only pay $97. The higher the perceived value for potential co-authors, the more they will be willing to pay.
Increased responsibilities is another barrier to entry you can use. By listing your expectations and the scope of work involved (which really isn’t that much), you can also eliminate the tire-kickers from those who are serious about the opportunity.
Have a Shared Vision
You want your co-authors to share your vision for the book and its potential impact. This means that you first need to know what that vision is and then you need to communicate it in a way that creates the same passion in your co-authors (and eventually, your readers).
One part of your vision will include what you hope your book will provide for your readers. Will it help them achieve a goal? Make money? Increase their health? Find happiness? If your book were a textbook, what do you hope your readers will learn after reading it?
Another part of your vision includes your financial goals for the book. Seasoned nonfiction authors know that the book itself will rarely earn enough in royalties even to pay for itself, let alone create a significant source of passive income. The best way to earn money from your book is to use it as leverage. A book can increase your authority and position you as an expert. It can also act as a powerful lead generation tool. If you use your book to generate leads for your business, you’ll make far more money than if you rely on the paltry few royalties you’ll receive.
Scope of Work and Define Co-Author Responsibilities
Before you ask a potential co-author to sign up and pay, you want to be sure they understand the scope of work required and what they will be responsible for. Writing the chapter is relatively easy because a single chapter might only be 2,000 to 3,000 words. You might also require them to create an audio version of their chapter, which can be as simple as talking into the voice recorder app on their phone. Other responsibilities might include a commitment to sell at least 20 copies on launch date and perform other marketing tasks. None of these are daunting requirements, but make sure they know this upfront. This is good information to include when you put out your call for co-authors as a potential barrier to entry.
Manage Version Control
While co-authoring a book can become an organizational nightmare, it can also go as smooth as butter if handled appropriately. Again, make sure you choose a design and publishing company with plenty of experience that can provide you with all of the organizational tools you need. The more your partner company can handle, including project management, the better off you’ll be and the more time you’ll have to focus on other tasks. Like running your business.
At JETLAUNCH, our model is to publish the book through our own accounts and keep all of the royalties. While this might seem greedy, we don’t actually use that money to buy a yacht or a Lambo. Instead, we funnel those royalties into Amazon ads, which benefits all of the co-authors. The more books we can sell for you, the more you’ll benefit.
We also don’t charge the main author(s) a penny. That’s right, your financial commitment is zero dollars. The amount we charge the co-authors pays for all of our services, which includes setting up and managing the entire project, all of the design work, providing ISBNs and publishing, and then all of the work that goes into setting up and running Amazon ads to sell more books.
Five Ways to Write Your Co-Authored Book Chapter
When you are ready to write your own chapter, here are five ways to approach it. They are:
1. Write a new chapter. Some people love to write, and even if you don’t, this isn’t an overwhelming task. If you’re writing a chapter as the main author, I suggest going for around 5,000 words. If you’re writing a chapter as a co-author, then 2,000 to 3,000 words are great, depending on the requirements of the organizing author.
2. Revise a previous article. This can be the easiest way to write your chapter. Find an article you’ve written before that relates to the main topic of the co-authored book, then revise it so it contains some new content that will be considered valuable to the readers.
3. Transcribe a previous video or audio. If you’ve recorded any video or audio that relates to the main topic of the co-authored book, then use a service like Rev.com to transcribe that into written text. Clean it up, and you’re ready to go.
4. Record a new video or audio. This is the method I most highly recommend. You can record a short workshop and do a q&a at the end to get even more useful information. Not only do you end up with a transcription to turn into your chapter, but you can also repurpose that video into many media assets to use across the web.
5. Hire a ghostwriter. We usually think of hiring a ghostwriter to write an entire book, but there’s no reason you can’t hire one for a single chapter. There are many online services for writing blog articles, which will work great for this.
If you’d like to learn more about creating your own bestselling co-authored book to grow your business and drive massive engagement, then send an email to email@example.com for more information on how to get started or click the button below to schedule a short phone call. We run the whole book process from start to finish, and all you have to do is reach out to your tribe. Heck, we even help you with that!