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Discussion Starter #1
Have any of my esteemed colleagues considered or produced a corroborative book with another author?

I’ve been toying with the idea for a while and can’t decide if it’s wise.

On one hand, a cocktail of styles and background expertise might produce a quality product. Let’s say a romance writer combined her skills with my survival chops, together producing a love story set in a life-threatening scenario. From a creative perspective, the combinations are practically endless.

From a marketing perspective, the project could be interesting. While a mere pittance compared too many on this board, I can virtually guarantee a novel with my name on it will generate 20,000 or so sales the first year. Combined with said romance author (or sci-fi or whatever), who contributed a similar reach, the result may end up with the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

For those into music, joint projects are common. Famous artist regularly get together and “trade 4’s.” I think it would be interesting to “trade chapters.” A coin flip determines who writes the first chapter. That chapter is emailed to co-author, who adds chapter two. Back and forth it goes until the book is finished.

On the negative, I’ve read a lot of the posts here (and other places). We all can be hardheaded and disagreeable. I worry that such a project may end up like a bad marriage – quibbling, fighting and eventual divorce with an ongoing custody battle over the rights to the “child.”

Still…it might be fun and produce one heck of a book…
 

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I've considered suggesting a collaboration with a good online friend (we beta one another, and act as sounding boards), but I've been holding off because he can churn out the words about 5x faster than I can. I do think it would be a fun thing to try one day, if you know someone with whom you'll get along during the process. Doug Preston and Lincoln Child have proven it's possible and potentially profitable, certainly.
 

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Another author and I will be doing that next month.  And Joe Konrath regularly does it; he talks about it on his blog.  I remember reading about the two of them using Google live docs to do it, which is what we're going to try.

 

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I'm starting oen with my girlfriend actually.

Of course I don't have a name to attract readers and she hasn't published anything before.

Still, it is in a topic we both like, she has mad photoshop skills (given she teaches it) and has an artist friend who we can get for artwork.

It may even turn out.
 

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I think OP meant collaborative.

Corroborative would be all of us agreeing with each other, and that would never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.
 

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Dalya said:
I think OP meant collaborative.

Corroborative would be all of us agreeing with each other, and that would never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.
I was actually thinking about this, earlier. There's a concept in intelligence analysis - and other things - called corroborative bias, where the fledgling analyst tends to assign greater credibility to information that reinforces or agrees with what they (think they) already know, or interpret it in ways that fits the established, well, status quo.

I think an indie corroborative book would be something that blindly regurgitates all the received knowledge and conventional "wisdom" about the brave new world of publishing of the last several years, even though much of that is outdated, unproven, or was never true to begin with. Mix 30 parts John Locke silliness, 25 parts DWS ranting, 20 parts J.A. Konrath idealism, and 25 parts of Mark Coker nuttiness, dust with unrealistic promises, wrap with two layers of tinfoil to keep new ideas out, and bake in the oven of improbability until hard and inflexible, then wrap in anything shiny and sparkly and serve.
 

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I've definitely considered it, but would only do it where there were alternate POVs, with each author having their own POV. I don't think I could have another author meddling in my prose and I'm damned sure they wouldn't want me meddling in theirs  ;D
 

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George Berger said:
I was actually thinking about this, earlier. There's a concept in intelligence analysis - and other things - called corroborative bias, where the fledgling analyst tends to assign greater credibility to information that reinforces or agrees with what they (think they) already know, or interpret it in ways that fits the established, well, status quo.

I think an indie corroborative book would be something that blindly regurgitates all the received knowledge and conventional "wisdom" about the brave new world of publishing of the last several years, even though much of that is outdated, unproven, or was never true to begin with. Mix 30 parts John Locke silliness, 25 parts DWS ranting, 20 parts J.A. Konrath idealism, and 25 parts of Mark Coker nuttiness, dust with unrealistic promises, wrap with two layers of tinfoil to keep new ideas out, and bake in the oven of improbability until hard and inflexible, then wrap in anything shiny and sparkly and serve.
Is that the same as "confirmational bias"? That's the phrase I've always heard.
 

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George Berger said:
I was actually thinking about this, earlier. There's a concept in intelligence analysis - and other things - called corroborative bias, where the fledgling analyst tends to assign greater credibility to information that reinforces or agrees with what they (think they) already know, or interpret it in ways that fits the established, well, status quo.

I think an indie corroborative book would be something that blindly regurgitates all the received knowledge and conventional "wisdom" about the brave new world of publishing of the last several years, even though much of that is outdated, unproven, or was never true to begin with. Mix 30 parts John Locke silliness, 25 parts DWS ranting, 20 parts J.A. Konrath idealism, and 25 parts of Mark Coker nuttiness, dust with unrealistic promises, wrap with two layers of tinfoil to keep new ideas out, and bake in the oven of improbability until hard and inflexible, then wrap in anything shiny and sparkly and serve.
And title it "How to Sell a Million Ebooks Overnight."

I was thinking about some of the "what should I do" threads and about how we answer by regurgitating what we've done. I wonder about the people who posted enthusiastically a year ago, who've given up. There's so much attrition in these ranks, and we have no way of seeing what isn't here. I wonder about all the people who received "advice" here and went on their merry way with their ugly covers and bad blurbs, heads down, writing the next book in a series going nowhere.

Who collects the stats on the people who have one last meltdown and actually quit? If we do analyses on the winners who get six-figure deals, we should also do post-mortems on those that form the modern Amazon slush. If we find that both parties have much in common, we can conclude that nobody really knows anything.

(Except she who wields the cattle prod.)
 

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Jena H said:
Is that the same as "confirmational bias"? That's the phrase I've always heard.
More or less the same, yes.

Dalya said:
I was thinking about some of the "what should I do" threads and about how we answer by regurgitating what we've done. I wonder about the people who posted enthusiastically a year ago, who've given up. There's so much attrition in these ranks, and we have no way of seeing what isn't here. I wonder about all the people who received "advice" here and went on their merry way with their ugly covers and bad blurbs, heads down, writing the next book in a series going nowhere.

Who collects the stats on the people who have one last meltdown and actually quit? If we do analyses on the winners who get six-figure deals, we should also do post-mortems on those that form the modern Amazon slush.
Something I started doing last year is to make a list of the eight or ten comparable books published in the same category on Amazon a day or two to either side of my new releases, and to go back and see how they're doing, periodically. (Comparable books in the sense of standalone versus standalone, say, and sub-$3 ebook-only versus sub-$3 ebook-only, et cetera.) It helps put things in perspective, of sorts, when you look at someone who's published, say, seven books, and not sold a single one (on Amazon, anyway...) four months later. Quantity, it seems, isn't always an instant ticket to sales.

But it's dangerous, IMO, to try to study those folks and their books too hard, to see what they did wrong. There's no book out there the groupthink can't come up with a dozen major "problems", real or imagined, with, after all, and it's really hard to deny the role luck plays in self-publishing. Are all those unsold and forgotten books badly written? Are the covers misleading? Amateur? Are the blurbs unattractive? Are the titles off-putting? Are the books, against all odds, just too damned niche? Are they listed in the wrong categories? Were they released too soon together? Too far apart? Or... were the writers just unlucky? If they'd stuck it out for another half-dozen books, might things have been different? The Shadow knows, but the rest of us can only guess.

There's also the whole question of how you tell when someone's had a final meltdown and quit for good, I suppose. Remember Franklin Eddy? He put out three books in June under that name, one in July, and... one in October. Has he quit? Has he died? Has he switched to a less-tainted pen name? I dunno. Jackson Jones used to post here on KB all the time, but just quietly disappeared in late July, and his books are no longer on Amazon, or anywhere else. That one crazy ultra-racist guy left KB, thankfully - but he's still writing. A lot of the "warriors" that thought e-books were The Next Big Thing have gone away (thankfully) to chase the next pipe dream, but not all of them, and it's hard to say how many might come back the next time some idiot guru tells them about some nifty new way to game the system in just two hours a week, or whatever...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I did intend Corroborative, thinking the contributors would have to agree at some level.

However, now that I think about it, collaborative may have been a more realistic term.

My point being that Joe Nobody is well known in the survival/PAF world. Joe Nobody, releasing a science fiction book, would be starting from scratch as a complete unknown. The same could be same of anyone entering my genera for the first time. Two mid-list authors, combining on a project could possibly have success in both markets to some extent.
 

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Joe_Nobody said:
My point being that Joe Nobody is well known in the survival/PAF world. Joe Nobody, releasing a science fiction book, would be starting from scratch as a complete unknown.
A complete unknown with a track record of (presumably) good reviews and consistent quality books, a loyal audience of readers, the follow-on exposure the book would get from people finding your other books... yeah, that's a terrible place to be. :)
 

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Dalya said:
And title it "How to Sell a Million Ebooks Overnight."

I was thinking about some of the "what should I do" threads and about how we answer by regurgitating what we've done. I wonder about the people who posted enthusiastically a year ago, who've given up. There's so much attrition in these ranks, and we have no way of seeing what isn't here. I wonder about all the people who received "advice" here and went on their merry way with their ugly covers and bad blurbs, heads down, writing the next book in a series going nowhere.

Who collects the stats on the people who have one last meltdown and actually quit? If we do analyses on the winners who get six-figure deals, we should also do post-mortems on those that form the modern Amazon slush. If we find that both parties have much in common, we can conclude that nobody really knows anything.

(Except she who wields the cattle prod.)
George Berger said:
More or less the same, yes.

Something I started doing last year is to make a list of the eight or ten comparable books published in the same category on Amazon a day or two to either side of my new releases, and to go back and see how they're doing, periodically. (Comparable books in the sense of standalone versus standalone, say, and sub-$3 ebook-only versus sub-$3 ebook-only, et cetera.) It helps put things in perspective, of sorts, when you look at someone who's published, say, seven books, and not sold a single one (on Amazon, anyway...) four months later. Quantity, it seems, isn't always an instant ticket to sales.

But it's dangerous, IMO, to try to study those folks and their books too hard, to see what they did wrong. There's no book out there the groupthink can't come up with a dozen major "problems", real or imagined, with, after all, and it's really hard to deny the role luck plays in self-publishing. Are all those unsold and forgotten books badly written? Are the covers misleading? Amateur? Are the blurbs unattractive? Are the titles off-putting? Are the books, against all odds, just too damned niche? Are they listed in the wrong categories? Were they released too soon together? Too far apart? Or... were the writers just unlucky? If they'd stuck it out for another half-dozen books, might things have been different? The Shadow knows, but the rest of us can only guess.

There's also the whole question of how you tell when someone's had a final meltdown and quit for good, I suppose. Remember Franklin Eddy? He put out three books in June under that name, one in July, and... one in October. Has he quit? Has he died? Has he switched to a less-tainted pen name? I dunno. Jackson Jones used to post here on KB all the time, but just quietly disappeared in late July, and his books are no longer on Amazon, or anywhere else. That one crazy ultra-racist guy left KB, thankfully - but he's still writing. A lot of the "warriors" that thought e-books were The Next Big Thing have gone away (thankfully) to chase the next pipe dream, but not all of them, and it's hard to say how many might come back the next time some idiot guru tells them about some nifty new way to game the system in just two hours a week, or whatever...
George Berger said:
I was actually thinking about this, earlier. There's a concept in intelligence analysis - and other things - called corroborative bias, where the fledgling analyst tends to assign greater credibility to information that reinforces or agrees with what they (think they) already know, or interpret it in ways that fits the established, well, status quo.

I think an indie corroborative book would be something that blindly regurgitates all the received knowledge and conventional "wisdom" about the brave new world of publishing of the last several years, even though much of that is outdated, unproven, or was never true to begin with. Mix 30 parts John Locke silliness, 25 parts DWS ranting, 20 parts J.A. Konrath idealism, and 25 parts of Mark Coker nuttiness, dust with unrealistic promises, wrap with two layers of tinfoil to keep new ideas out, and bake in the oven of improbability until hard and inflexible, then wrap in anything shiny and sparkly and serve.
Now there's something to talk about.

I've been thinking about some of these issues lately. Specifically, I've been debating digging up the old DWS threads. I'm betting no one who derided me lived up to either the output or those "easy-to-reach" revenue projections. I also bet a thousand more people are getting or confidently passing on the same lecture about fast writing to others.
 

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All my fantasies are written in collaboration with another author. I suspect in collaborations that no two authors work the same way. Hell, WE don't even always work the same way. It is essential that it be someone you get along with well and at least one of you had probably better be even-tempered (obviously him in our case). We value our relationship and our collaboration, so at times we each bend over backwards to get along. I've given in on points when I was absolutely sure I was the one in the right (and sometimes I was and sometimes I wasn't ;) ). It has its rewards. He comes up with ideas I never would. I provide other things.
 

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George Berger said:
I think an indie corroborative book would be something that blindly regurgitates all the received knowledge and conventional "wisdom" about the brave new world of publishing of the last several years, even though much of that is outdated, unproven, or was never true to begin with. Mix 30 parts John Locke silliness, 25 parts DWS ranting, 20 parts J.A. Konrath idealism, and 25 parts of Mark Coker nuttiness, dust with unrealistic promises, wrap with two layers of tinfoil to keep new ideas out, and bake in the oven of improbability until hard and inflexible, then wrap in anything shiny and sparkly and serve.
:D :D :D :D :D

George, you crack me up sometimes. Between you and Dalya, I think it's your fault I'm behind schedule since you make this place entertaining to procrastinate. ;)
 

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WHDean said:
Now there's something to talk about.

I've been thinking about some of these issues lately. Specifically, I've been debating digging up the old DWS threads. I'm betting no one who derided me lived up to either the output or those "easy-to-reach" revenue projections. I also bet a thousand more people are getting or confidently passing on the same lecture about fast writing to others.
I will rarely ask anyone what they think about anything I'm doing. Sometimes they can't help but tell me anyway. ::)

My method is to combine deep thinking and analysis and sensible decisions with one day a week of utter insanity and snap decisions. Both modes have their advantages.

The worst possible thing is to average out your efforts with groupthink or smoothing off all your pointy bits.
 

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Dalya said:
I will rarely ask anyone what they think about anything I'm doing. Sometimes they can't help but tell me anyway. ::)

My method is to combine deep thinking and analysis and sensible decisions with one day a week of utter insanity and snap decisions. Both modes have their advantages.

The worst possible thing is to average out your efforts with groupthink or smoothing off all your pointy bits.
Well, your one "One Day of Craziness" method might work as well as any other systematic one that's been proffered here. People make claims all the time about methods that work-e.g., freebies-but what they actually did and how well it paid off is never exactly clear to me. People have claimed that freebie runs do wonders for the next month. But what about the month after that-and what about six months later? Is the book still selling more than it did before the freebie or is the market saturated? Or did they have to keep going back to the freebie well? Who knows? They come, they claim, they disappear. Is that because they got rich or because they gave up?

George mentioned confirmation bias, but there's that other well known cognitive bias called wishful thinking. Who knows whether someone's steadfast assertion that something worked is meant to persuade us that it did work or whether the person meant it to persuade himself that it will work-just gotta keep believin'!

I'm not saying I know one way or the other. But I do know that what's supposed to work is far from established.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
George Berger said:
A complete unknown with a track record of (presumably) good reviews and consistent quality books, a loyal audience of readers, the follow-on exposure the book would get from people finding your other books... yeah, that's a terrible place to be. :)
Were the goal to sell the same number of books as is typical, I would agree. But then, why bother?
I don't think a track record or loyal audience is worth much in today's world of on-line book shopping, esp with a major shift in categories. While I believe my readers consume more than one type of fiction, those silo's of taste are diverse and nearly impossible to identify. Having a co-author may provide a bridge of sorts, spanning the gap between two genres and increasing exposure for both writers.

The whole may be greater, or less than the sum of the parts.
 

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No. I have a clear picture of how I want it to be. I've had to in musical theater, and it rarely ends well.

What happens when one person doesn't meet a deadline, gets sick, or their stuff just plain sucks? What if one person does 90% of the project, will you really feel like splitting it 50-50? What about the inevitable arguments when someone receives a compliment and accepts it for a scene or line the other actually conceived of? What if the other person half way through decides not to finish it?
What happens when you want to sell it for 5.99 and your other half won't budge off of 2.99?


As Dave Ramsey is fond of saying, "A partner-ship is the only ship that don't sail."
 
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