Friday, August 2, 2013

The Author Hookup Trend

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, J.T. Ellison and Catherine Coulter, our own dear friends Drew Kaufman and A.K. Alexander (Michelle Scott)—everywhere you look, authors are teaming up.

The trend seems more prevalent than ever, and I suspect it’s because authors are operating more independently now and because they have to work so hard to reach new readers. Collaborating with another writer brings a whole new readership to each partner, at least for that story or series, and hopefully with spillover to other works.

I never thought I could work that closely with someone. I don’t even have a writing group because it feels too collaborative. Of course, I count on my beta readers (and editor) for feedback, but that’s after I’ve nailed down the main story.

But I was approached recently by a friend about doing a collaboration, and I surprised myself by being receptive to the idea. Now that I have an FBI agent with her own series, a collaboration that brings Agent Dallas together with another established protag seems like a productive idea.

The other author has a kickass male FBI character and large readership of men, so the project could bring male readers into my Jackson series or, more likely, the series I’ve started with Agent Dallas.

We’re already brainstorming a plot, and I’d love to tell you who the other author is. But I worry that it might not pan out. We each have our own series we’re committed to, and we each have family responsibilities that may take precedence over a secondary writing project. But I want to do this and I hope we can make it work.

Ever since I decided to self-publish my newest story (with Agent Dallas), I’ve been getting my head back into indie mode and the marketing creativity it requires. It’s work, but it’s also fun and challenging, and this collaboration seems like a good way to expand my comfort zone and my readership.

What do you think? Have you collaborated with another author? Do you read books that are collaborations? Am I crazy?


  1. Good luck with this new venture, LJ! I edited an excellent thriller written by Joe Moore and Lynn Sholes, who have collaborated on several novels, with another one in the works right now. Judging by the results, it seems to work very well for them!

    There were two presentations on this topic at Thrillerfest, but I didn't attend either. Maybe some of our readers did...?

  2. I'm interested in watching how this pans out for you, L.J.!

  3. Best of luck with it. I imagine a collaborating on a project would be challenging. The only joint effort I've read was written by 4 authors and their differing writing styles made the whole thing a bit disjointed for me. I can't say I wouldn't read another, but I'd probably check out the sample first. Maybe it works better with 2 authors than 4 :-)

  4. My school report card might have read "doesn't play well with other kids." I can't imagine writing with anyone else, though I do co-present lectures, so ...

    Anyway, I wish you the very best experience, LJ, on the writing and selling ends.

  5. Great post, LJ! All the best with the project.

    This is something that I would love to do. I've talked about it with another author who has a similar series of political thrillers and we've both agreed its something for the future once our protagonists a little more established.

    ~ Ian

  6. Only collaboration I recall reading is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, two of my favourite authors. It's a hoot and remains one of my favourite books, although I felt Gaiman's touch was stronger in the novel.

    Never collaborated with another author. It's not something I would say a definite no to, but I think I need to establish my writing voice for longer, i.e. have more books under my belt, before I consider it.

    Great stuff and look forward to hearing how it goes for you :)

  7. Funny. The question came up at the CJ Box book signing tonight. He said, um… no. He did tell the story though of a friend of his in Bozeman who was a good writer, every bit as good as CJ, but he just couldn't get any traction. Then he started co-authoring with James Patterson. Now he's rich.

    1. Now, I'm thinking I need a different co-author. :)

  8. I just read the Janet Evanovich/Lee Goldberg novel The Heist. Being a big fan of Evanovich, I could tell what was her idea and writing and what was Lee's. The story was good and I did enjoy it but not like I enjoyed her own series. I put the book down and was not motivated to pick it up, perhaps because compared to her own writings, it was a B effort rather than an A which I have come to expect. In all, I was disappointed and I do not really know why because it was a good caper, well written with great characters.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.