Promotion Tips for Co-Writers

Cowriting can be a great boon to your career – think Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins – or the anchor that beaches your writing career. Marcy and Lisa have been writing together for almost 3 years. We started out as good friends with similar interests before launching into freelancing together, and we work well together – but we thought we’d share a few promotion tips for cowriters.

women holding sign 'mutual benefit'The Key To Success

If you write together long enough, one challenge you’ll encounter is how to juggle joint and individual networking and promotion. The lynchpin for us has been mutual benefit. Any of our joint platforms also promote our individual freelance work and vice versa. We’ve reaped many benefits from this, including saving time.

Visibility

If you want a career as a professional writer, you need a web presence through a website, a blog, and social networking sites. As part of maintaining our independent careers, we both have our own websites. This allows us to display our individual work in our portfolio sections (though we also both display co-written articles there as well). It also allows us to have something to show to clients who will only be working with one of us, and to highlight our unique areas of expertise.

To save time and to promote our partnership, we share this blog. Marcy made Lisa sit down and make a plan for the blog, and to humor Lisa, Marcy lets Lisa decide spur of the moment when it’s her week what to post about inside stated guidelines. If Marcy is out of town, Lisa covers, and vice versa. By splitting the work, we’re able to do three posts a week, something neither of us had time to do on our own.

Regardless of who posts, we both promote the latest blog post on networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and G+, doubling the exposure that we’d otherwise have individually. Even if you don’t plan to write together regularly, if you know a writer who you trust and who has a similar vision to yours, sharing a blog can be a huge time saver as long as each participant has high visibility.

Conferences

Another area where our divide-and-conquer strategy has served us well is at writer’s conferences. We bring our own business cards, one-sheets, and presentation binders, but our presentation binders often contain pieces we’ve co-written. We attend different sessions and exchange notes afterward. This broadens our investment at each conference and our network of contacts.

On occasion we’ve gotten a reputation for being inseparable. (David Koop from Multnomah, who we met at Mt. Hermon, will probably always remember us as the quirky Canadian girls who finished each other’s sentences.) The lines can be fuzzy, and you need to be prepared for some people to remember you only for your co-written work and to not want to work with you independently.

This doesn’t bother us, but if sharing the limelight bothers you, you might want to hold off on entering a co-writing relationship.

It’s not all about you

The most important thing to remember when you’re networking and promoting together is that you’re going to be more successful if you support and build up the other person. When we hear about a good opportunity, whether it be an editor looking for new writers, a job, or an idea that we’re not going to pursue but that the other might enjoy, we pass it along.

We’ve even entered the same contests and critiqued each other’s work – never had a problem because we’re friends underneath everything else, and want the other one to see her dreams come true whether we ever see our own happen.

When it comes to managing the distance, as well as networking and promotion, flexibility is the key. Be willing to bend a little, be patient with the other person, and if they’re doing the same for you, you might just form a partnership (and a friendship) that lasts a lifetime.

So – your turn. How do you juggle your writing, your family, and other outside commitments?

**We’ve moved! Please join us at our new permanent homes. You can find Marcy at her website and Lisa at her website.

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7 comments on “Promotion Tips for Co-Writers

  1. Hi Marcy and Lisa:

    This post was very inspiring. The one thing I struggle with is finding time to post on my blog. After reading that your partnership actually saves you time, well…it kind of surprised me.

    I met a wonderful writer at Write Canada this year–Stephanie. And although we haven’t partnered up (hey, Steph hope you’re reading this), we have kept in contact almost daily, encouraging each other and reading each others work. So who knows?

    Thanks again!

  2. Despite what Tracy says, I almost feel as if we have partnered up. Her critique of Chapter 1 really made me take a good hard look at it. The rewrite isn’t perfect, but it’s way better because of her insights…and what I’m learning from both Lisa and Marcy. Thanks, ladies. You’re the bestest!

  3. I’m really excited that you two found each other and are enjoying being friends and critique partners. I can’t tell you how valuable I’ve found Lisa’s critiques over the years.

    I’m also not at all surprised that you hit it off. You’re both such genuinely nice people.

    Marcy

  4. I’ve heard it said over the years that the one sure way to ruin a friendship is to live and/or work together for an extended amount of time. If something as simple as that can ruin a relationship, was it really a true friendship in the first place?

    My other thought, as I was reading this, was how much like having a co-writer sounds like being married :). It’s a partnership for the mutual benefit of two people, but as soon as someone becomes focused on only themselves, things start to fall apart.

    I’m glad I stopped to read this post, because a friend and I have been toying around with the idea of co-writing some stuff together because we have a lot of the same common interests, but we each come to our conclusions (which are often eerily similar) in different ways.

    I’ll be referring back to this post in the future, I think!

    • You’re very right that if something as simple as living or working together can ruin a friendship, then it wasn’t much of a friendship to begin with. I actually roomed with my best friend for three years during university and with another friend for a year while doing my master’s. We were friends going in and came out stronger friends for our time spent together. In co-writing, as in anything else, you get out of it what you put into it 🙂

      Marcy

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