What I Look For in a Collaborative Book


books have been growing in number for the last decade.  I have been involved in helping promote them, but usually never signed up. Why?  Because I was always working on my own projects and honestly have really limited funds. I made the conscious decision to focus all my publishing dollars on my own solo books.

book=cover-we-are-all-healersWhat I feel is the most positive aspect of this  genre is the ability for someone interested in writing to dip their toes in. Being in a collaborative book is the easiest, most stress free, and cost effective way to give writing a try. Someone else will be in charge of the details - selecting a concept, supporting the writers, choosing an editor, finding a typesetter and proof reader, creating the cover art and launching the book. Word counts allowed for each chapter usually range from 1500 to 3500 words, and the cost to sign on varies wildly. For most, profits go to either a charity or to the business publishing it.

For business owners, this is a chance to set yourself up as an expert in your field.  It also can be used as a marketing tool to open new doors.  For someone with a story to share, this is a chance to get experience writing and introduce yourself to readers. The option is always there to build on this by following up with a solo book of your own written with a better understanding of the process. 

In the last 18 months, I made the decision to accept the invitation to be a part of two collaborative chapter books.  One was a unique concept by a mentor - Sue Dumais - where each author wrote a shorter personal piece on how we were healers. That took me back. I didn't consider myself a healer in the traditional sense, but with her guidance began to see the bigger picture. Everyone could be a healer. I had goosebumps when I realized the wisdom I gave wings to in my books and articles could become the catalyst for someone’s healing.  Once I submitted my story, my mentor wrapped it in her own words - sharing from her deep knowledge of my healing journey.

The second
invitation came from a woman's group I love - The Connected Woman.  It was inspired by the idea that when women share, they can effect change.  We each were given free rein to share a story from our own struggles along with our journey through it.  What helped us? What from our experience could offer insight to others?  I loved this concept, and the higher word count of this project offered me the ability to go deeper. 

There were other factors that led me to say yes to both. The first was making new connections, both personal and on social media. The second was to test the waters to see if being a part of collaborative books would help me as an author break into new territories. The third was having the price, the word count and benefits offered make sense, and the total had to be within my budget. Remember, the dollars had to come from my limited publishing funds.  

The final must-have for me is one that most collaborative books don’t consider - the contributing authors' names need to be listed on the front cover.  Usually they are placed on the back cover or inside in the table of contents. However, as a published writer with author pages on Goodreads and Amazon, having my name on the front cover was an important element for me.  This visibility clearly marks me as an author in the book, and it makes adding the books to my author pages much easier. Sadly this last point led me to recently walk away from what otherwise was a really great opportunity. In the end I had to trust my instincts.


None of what I share is set in stone, not even for me. There are always exceptions. I have happily been a part of all three Pursuit 365 books, but with 365 authors there was no way our names could be clearly listed on the cover. That said, their cover does feature all our signatures tucked in the background as a part of the artwork. Very subtle. With this series, the great price, compared with what I received in terms of new connections and marketing, continues to make being a part a great choice.  

It's important for anyone considering being in a collaborative book to clearly understand your purpose in choosing to write. Once you know your why, it's easier to evaluate each offer to see if it is the right choice for you - price, word count, deadlines, project quality, launch plans.  From there you need to think about how you will use your participation to further your goals  As mentioned above, you could promote your business, build brand recognition, set yourself up as an expert, book interviews, or even help you start connecting with readers in anticipation publishing your own solo book.

There is no right or wrong. When a new door opens, it is important to take time to research whether it is right for you. If you simply want to be an author in a book because it's on your bucket list, that's okay too.  My only real advice is to understand why you want to do this, do your homework and then trust your instincts