From Zero to Launch – Collaborations (Part 2)

Yesterday I mentioned how my lack of knowledge about co-writing was a boundary at first until I realized it was a barrier. Well, there is truth in knowledge will set you free. Sometimes it sets you on fire too, but that is liberating in its own way.

This is a bit of a tangent, but there’s a payoff I swear. 

Throughout the conference I attended, there was a reoccurring theme around how collaboration can assist authors in their publishing careers. Having studied organizational management in depth, many of the points made sense. What I didn’t realize, was how rigidly I framed collaboration as two (or more) people working on the same idea, discussing which words to use, poking and prodding at the plot and story structure, and so on.  

I missed all the other pieces of work an author needs to do, often just as difficult as writing that stupid manuscript. You know, managing your ads, the social media campaign, designing the cover(s), editing, material for your newsletter, etc. I held this false image about that part of the business and how much effort, work, and time would need to be put into those activities. It’s almost exhausting to think about it. 

Two questions need to be answered when thinking about publishing a book as an indie author.

  1. How competent are you at doing those things?
  2. How much time are you willing to devote to doing those things?
  3. Are you willing to learn to do those things well, or is it better to hire someone to do them for you?

Three. There are three questions.  

There is an underlying concern all three questions have in common too. To paraphrase another author, “I get paid for the words I write. So when I am doing anything that takes away from writing words, I am taking time away from the thing that puts food on my table for my family.”

At its core, they are absolutely correct. If we don’t put words down, we don’t spend the butt in the chair time, there won’t be a product to share with our audience. All the other activities are value-add multipliers. They influence how well our books reach people, and ultimately, our livelihoods if being an author is your day job.  

The one thing that tied everything together was time.  

There are only so many hours in the day we can work. Time is our most valuable resource. If you love writing, the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out your ROI on the previous series you published when you could potentially pay an accountant or ask a friend who enjoys doing that type of thing.

I will say it again. 

Time. Is. Our. Most. Valuable. Resource.

This is not exactly a new revelation, either. We all know this but are we living it? It definitely wasn’t something I considered cognitively when I decided to start writing and publishing.

We all have things that we like doing. I, for one, enjoy calculating the ROI (Return on Investment) of projects and products. I can make my own covers too. I don’t enjoy the work however, and I would have to really step up my photoshop game to produce a quality cover. It makes much more sense to find an excellent graphic artist and farm that work over to them. 

I never looked at how a collaboration could save me time and give me more time to write, which is what I want to do. I truly enjoy that part of the business the most. So tomorrow, I’ll explain how I changed my perspective and opened up new opportunities to write.