Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Getting Started With Co-Authoring: A Conversation with Cat Michaels and Rosie Russell

Congratulations to Jana Leah for winning Lights Out on last week's blog. Thanks for all the entries!


Today I have a special treat for you. Cat Michaels, a fellow SCBWI-Carolina member, asked if I would help her and her co-author, Rosie Russell with the launch of their new middle-grade book, Just Between Sam and Me. I've share authors' publication journeys and participated in book launches, but Cat had something different in mind. She suggested that I interview them via Zoom to find out how the two of them met and decided to work together (Cat is in North Carolina and Rosie is in Missouri). The video below is the result of this great idea. It's only six minutes long, but trust me, it took us a few hours to brainstorm and for Cat to assemble it. 

Top row, left to right: Carol Baldwin, Cat Michaels
Bottom row: Rosie Russell

Today is the first part of a four-part series. I hope over the next few months leading up to the publication of their book on December 2, you will gain tips about collaborating with another author, self-publishing, and of course--there will be opportunities for great giveaways along the way! Here's what you can look forward to:

Part I: Getting Started With Co-Authoring 

Part II: Writing Roles, Bumps in the Road, and Self-Publishing (September 16)

Part III: Writing about Bullying (October 14)

Part IV: Just Between Sam and Me Review (December 2)

Tips From Cat and Rosie: Getting Started with Co-Authoring

What should you look for in your perfect author partner?
·      Similar writing styles
·      Experience in same genre/audience
·      Complementary work and communication styles
·      Dependable
·      Reliable
·      Flexible
·      Patient
·      Cheerful
·      Comfortable with technology
·      Someone who can check ego at the door

What are the benefits of co-authoring?
·      Great sounding board and brainstorming (especially when    you’re stuck!)
·      Double the marketing power and social media reach
·      Split the load: writing, editing, marketing, production costs, etc.

What are the downsides of co-authoring? 
·      Takes longer
·      More challenging to reach consensus and make decisions
·      Loss of some creative control (especially as a solo Indie author)
·      Disaster if co-writers aren’t a good fit or don’t take time to determine details before they start writing


I promised you a giveaway for each blog post, right? Well, the first goes to EACH ONE of you who leaves a comment with your email address. (If you are not comfortable leaving your email address on my site, you can email me instead.)  Cat will send you each a link to download a free advance reader copy of the first chapter! I read it with my 8-year-old granddaughter and both of us want to find out what happens next. Giveaway ends September 9. 


Christine BK said...

What a wonderful video! Cat's energy is infectious and she is a sweetheart. Congrats on finishing the middle grade chapter book!!!

Cat Michaels said...

Carol, even after knowing each other for seven years, Rosie and I spent weeks hashing out details of our writing partnership before we ever wrote a jot. All that 'pre-work' helps us slide along on a successful writing partnership. We reveal more on the vid, so I hope your readers have a listen as well as reading our tips.

Curious about how other co-writers started their collaboration. Also happy to answer questions here that your readers may have about what worked for Rosie and I in our start-up phase. Plus, more good co-writing insights coming in September. Thanks for guesting us on your blog!

Sandra Warren said...

Love this post, especially since I just finished a ZOOM co-op presentation with Kathleen Burkinshaw for a North Carolina School Library Media Conference. Figuring out how to make it work is still fresh in my mind. Most, if not all, of Cat and Rosie's points about collaborating as writers also applies to collaboration as presenters.

Co-op writing has to be an even bigger, but not insurmountable, challenge. Cat and Rosie's book sounds like a story that will help many middle-schoolers as the topic seems to be one that reoccurs every year at the beginning of school. I'm sure their experiences and views living in two parts of the country adds perspective that would have been missing from one author.

Informative and wonderful blog as usual, Carol.

Carol Baldwin said...

Sandra, thanks for your comment, your name is in the hat to receive the first chapter. I heard about that co-op presentation with Kathleen! Christine, please leave your email address so you can also receive it. And Cat, that is a really good point. You should say that in the next post!

Rosie Russell said...

Hi Carol, thank you so much again for featuring Cat and I in this first series of how we became co-writers. It was so nice to visit with you in person, via ZOOM.

I hope everyone will enjoy watching for more to come. We are excited to finally share our story we've been working on the last year and an half. We hope to share helpful hints for those considering this journey, as well.

I hope your viewers will feel free to ask us any questions. We'd love to answer them.

Thanks again, Carol.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'll definitely need to bookmark this post. Coauthoring seems daunting. Thanks for the interview to find out more.

Carol Baldwin said...

THANKS, Theresa. I think the book will resonate will you.

Linda Phillips said...

Not only does this book sound like a winner for rising 6th graders, but I love the new dimension of the virtual interview that you have added to your blog. Congratulations Cat and Rosie, and way to go, Carol!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda. YOu and I should figure this out next time I want to interview you!

Carol Baldwin said...

And thanks, Rosie, for the opportunity.

Eiry said...

Thank you, Carol. I'm following Cat and Rosie's collaboration with interest. The book promises to be very special.

Eiry said...

Thank you, Carol. I'm following Cat and Rosie's collaboration with interest. The book promises to be very special.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thank you, Eiry. Please leave your email address so I can enter your name in the giveaway. Thanks for stopping by.

Rosi said...

This is an interesting way to do this. I am always in awe of people who can write with a partner. I can't imagine it. Thanks for the post.

Kathleen said...

Carol, I enjoyed this post! I love your idea of the video interview. It was so interesting to learn how Cat and Rosie's journey came about as co-authors-and hearing it from them as well! You never know where you will find your next writing adventure!(You also did some pretty neat editing of your video.) :) And yes, I agree with Sandra. And it was a joy to work with her and look forward to when we may have opportunity to present in person post Covid. I'm looking forward to your next video installment!

Carol Baldwin said...

Actually, the idea totally belongs to Cat and she was the movie editor too. I haven't mastered that, Kathleen. We'll have to put our thinking caps on about doing another video installment!

Maria said...

Love the video! Going to need a new book after I finish the one I’m reading .

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for leaving a comment, Maria. Please leave your email address too so you can receive the first chapter!

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