Writing as a Team Sport by Kevin J. Anderson

Writing as a Team Sport by Kevin J. AndersonAnderson mixes his thoughts on why collaborations work, or don’t, with anecdotes from the many collaborations he has undertaken, creating a book that shows the reader the potential complexities of partnering with other authors without becoming dry or depressing.

This book provides advice and insight on co-authoring fiction, covering reasons to consider collaborating, choosing a collaborator, different ways two authors might work on the same book, and risks that can arise from collaboration.

Anderson provides simple and clear ideas for things to consider or do at each stage between considering whether to collaborate to handling the various positions that might arise after a collaboration is finished. Each stage in the process is supported by examples from Anderson’s many years of co-authoring with different authors and in different genres.

In addition to providing real evidence that Anderson’s methods have produced successful books, this extensive use of anecdotes creates a sense of living the issues that can occur in collaboration, providing the reader with a better idea of the emotional effects than is found in some guides.

Conversely, this choice might make the book less accessible to those readers who prefer their advice delivered as structured steps and bulleted lists rather than interwoven with biography.

The advice and examples all deal with situations where two authors collaborate. However, Anderson’s attempt to provide a sense of why these things matter as well as set out what might be reasonable steps are likely to make it easy for authors wishing to collaborate in threes or more to adapt where necessary.

Perhaps the only thing noticeably lacking from this book is insight into how to untangle problems with an existing collaboration. As such, while Anderson’s listing of possible pitfalls does include anecdotes that might assist, this book is likely to provide much greater assistance if read before collaboration rather than as a response to issues that have arisen.

Anderson includes a possible contract for collaborators at the end of the book. Although, this does cover the most common permutations that Anderson outlines through the book, it does not cover all matters. It is also couched in US legal language and assumes the collaboration will occur in the US, so will—at best—provide a starting point for any collaboration occurring outside that jurisdiction.

Overall, I found this book confirmed I’d set my own collaborations up in a reasonable fashion. I recommend it to authors who don’t have extensive legal or business experience, whether or not they are already collaborating or actively considering it.

I received a free copy of The 2017 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle, which includes this title, from one of the contributors with no obligation to review.

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