How To Co-write A Book

I’ll give you the short answer: I have no idea.

I’ve been enticed with the idea of co-authoring a book for a long time. I’ve pursued my daughter, who is a good writer herself, to co-author something with me. But she’s been around me long enough to know that we wouldn’t get along as co-authors.

I’ve co-edited a magazine for a year, and that worked pretty well, especially since we divided responsibilities. When we were doing ParentTalk magazine, Randy Maxwell was responsible for advertising and promoting the magazine, I was responsible for the nuts and bolts editing, and both of us pitched in on any strategy and policy decisions. It helped that Randy and I were friends to begin with, but I was still apprehensive to begin with.

Now, after 40 years of writing, I am planning to co-author my first book and I couldn’t have picked a better author to do it with. Celeste Perrino-Walker and I have known each other for a couple of decades, and there is a lot of mutual respect and admiration going on there. She and I have written about the same number of books (18) and while I have wandered far from the fold in exploring indie publishing and writing whatever I jolly well felt like, she continued to make a name for herself in Christian publishing. Both of us have something to contribute to the collaboration. So why do I feel so nervous?

Maybe it’s because I know how solitary writing a book usually is. Maybe I know my process for writing, something that I thought no other person could really understand. Maybe because I am already up to my eyeballs in work, and adding this to the pile doesn’t add to my solitude and serenity.

But it’s too exciting a venture to pass up. Celeste and I have spent the past five days emailing ideas back and forth. We already agree on quite a few things, including a new storyline that is the brainchild of collaboration, not independent thinking, something she and I were adamant on. Knowing that in the past I have had problems writing books that were someone else’s baby, I was pretty sure that taking my ideas or hers and trying to write would be a train wreck.

And so the adventure continues. How do I co-edit a book? Well, we are about to find out. Rest assured, I will share the venture with you as we go along.