Co-Authored books, pros & cons, and is it for you?
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”– Helen Keller
Been thinking about publishing a book to share your story, build your brand, and break into the speaking market? But not sure how to start?
Becoming a published author is a lifetime dream for a lot of passionate people like you, yet it can be a big investment of time, money, and effort. So should you give up on that dream or procrastinate until the day you are ready?
Like everything in life, taking baby steps is better than taking no steps at all, and in the publishing world, one of the best first steps to take towards becoming a published author is to be part of a co-authored book, or what is known as an Anthology book. It just involves a fraction of work and a fraction of the investment, but still comes with all the perks.
In this blog we will discuss answers for:
- What is an anthology book?
- Why should you consider co-authoring a book?
- Why should you not be part of a co-authored book?
- How to choose the right anthology to be a part of?
- How to apply to be part of a successful anthology book?
Let’s start by understanding what is an anthology book
An anthology book is a collection of works by a variety of authors, which is organized around a particular theme.
What is interesting is that some of the most successful self-help books ever written were actually anthology books. Surprisingly, one of the bestselling self-help book series in history is also an anthology.
Do you want to guess which one?
Chicken Soup for the Soul series. It has gross sales of around 500,000,000 copies to date. Yes, that really is five hundred million!
The first edition of the book, like most subsequent titles in the series, consisted of inspirational true stories about ordinary people’s lives.
So do not underestimate the power of being a co-author in an anthology book.
It is a hidden secret only a few insiders in the industry know about, and for a good reason. To date, anthology books remain to be a small proportion of the industry because typically, it is more work for an independent publisher (consider dealing with multiple authors vs dealing with one author, both for just a single book).
Of course, like everything else in life, there are both pros & cons for independent anthology books as well.
Pros of co-authored anthology books
A lot less effort
Co-authoring an anthology book typically means you only have to write one chapter of about 2,000 – 3,000 words. Expressing your point of view around the central theme of the book. This is typically the length of a long blog post, which is something you can write over a weekend, as compared to a few months required to fully write your own book.
Keep in mind that writing 12 chapters is not like 12x writing one chapter. Just like how running 12 km is not 12x running of 1 km.
When you have to write a full book you need to ensure everything you are writing has a coherent flow and structure, and that complicates things.
When you co-author a book you’re not the only one promoting it, the other authors are too, so your name will be seen by decision-makers in different industries and possibly countries. This simply can be a great personal brand builder.
Being a part of the tribe, whose members are sharing their point of view on a common topic creates bonding — a passion tribe that can collaborate together with you for future work. It simply makes you part of an “in-crowd” of authors.
You can never go wrong when you have a group of authors who are passionate about a topic sharing their points of view, the same way that you are. This will expand your horizon and enhance your innovative and creative thinking. Surely there are one or two things you can learn from other experts with the same level of passion as you.
Speed to market
Working on your own book can take anywhere from 8 months up to a couple of years, to go from the conception of the idea to print. Going with a co-authored/anthology book that is done by an independent publisher. Means that you will become an international author in a span of just a few months.
Testing the waters
Writing your own book takes time, dedication, money, and investment. And sometimes, you are just not ready to do that for whatever reason—stretching your knowledge, and your wallet to write a full book. But when you co-author a book, you can become an author with the least amount of time, money, and effort and then decide if you want to move on to a bigger book venture later.
Books get you attention, attention gets you business. Books are like business cards on steroids. Being part of a co-authored book will even give you a more of a wolf-pack positioning. Where you are able to show that you are part of a bigger thing rather than just being a lone wolf.
Cons of co-authored anthology books
Being part of a co-authored book requires the humble mindset of “sharing is caring” as opposed to that of “I’m the king of my castle” attitude. So surely, co-authoring isn’t for big egos who do not want to share the glory.
Due to the complexity of splitting profits between many authors of the book, the publisher will simply donate 100% of the book profits to a charity or a social cause.
It will be hard to make a democratic decision when you have so many authors in one book. So typically, the final decision maker in an independently published anthology book is the publisher. This is to ensure everyone’s rights are respected.
Are you dealing with a well-established publisher or something that’s just a one-man-show? There are too many people out there launching their own anthology books but they have no presence as a professional publisher. Which simply means your book will have no credible name attached to it. Ask your publisher how many books have they published so far and check if they have a proper presence as a professional company, not just a freelancer or someone doing it as a hobby.
Is the theme something that will enable you to maneuver your topic into it without compromising on what you want to write to be a Bestselling Author. Or is it going to be restrictive? A good anthology theme will give you credibility and authority positioning from the way it is named and themed.
Perks & bonuses
What do you get aside from them offering the standard “we will edit and publish the book”? This could include:
- Do they offer you a presence on their website (which gives you credibility as a Bestselling Author)?
- Do they create an actual community to help the authors grow to become bestselling author?
- Do they guide you on writing the chapter or just leave it to you? (Even if you are a good writer. This could impact the quality of the book, as some authors write in a very random manner so a publisher should take lead on directing the content)
- Do they create a book marketing kit for you?
- Will there be any other bonuses that they offer?
What do they do to promote you and the book? Do they send online releases, do social media campaigns? Do they submit the book for awards or run marketing campaigns?
Do you get your own cover?
It is a lot to ask for but you should insist on a version of the book with your own picture as the main author. This makes all the difference in the world when you want to use the book as your business card.
Do they help you list your name on Amazon?
Again this is a lot to ask for and will cause a lot of headaches for the publisher. But when you are listed as a co-author means you get extra visibility on the internet.
Do they allow your competition?
It’s important to ensure that you are the only one in your niche within the book. Of course, there will be other authors but you do not want someone who competes with you to be featured in the same book. Also when you are the only one in your niche, there will be less probability that you end up crossing paths while using the book to promote yourself as a Bestselling Book Author or Co-author.
If you are really excited about co-authoring a book, why don’t you check out our latest project PASSIONATE EXPERTS… where the World’s Most Passionate Entrepreneurs & Professionals Reveal The Secrets Behind Success In The New World of Business, Health, Wealth & Lifestyle. You might be a good fit to apply for the project.
In short, becoming a co-author of an anthology book gives you the chance to test if venturing into the authoring world is for you. If it is, then you just got a great warm-up to whet your appetite to go on, write your own book. And if not, it simply ends up being a great experience to help you scratch the itch of being an author and getting it out of your system.
But if you are still thinking about why you should even write a book, then check out this blog post about #1 reason why to write a book.
Whichever option you want to go for, make sure you do write a book, you have a message to share…the world is waiting for your book. That can be the Bestselling Author in the times to come.