Before You Co-Author a Book, Consider These 3 Questions

When it comes to co-author scenarios in the publishing world, there are a few things that authors fail to consider before embarking on the publishing process. In working with a publisher, most will only issue one royalty check per title. This means that you and your co-author will need to work out the fine details of how money earned will be handled.

How Will You Divide Payments?

Since publishers do not want to go through the hassle of splitting royalty payments between authors, this means that you and your co-author will need to handle this prior to approaching the publisher. One solution is for you and your co-author to create an LLC in which all earnings from the book will go to. Then you will need to draft up an agreement between you and your co-author designating how the royalties will be split.

How Will Copyright be Filed?

Another item to consider is how the copyright will be filed. Will it be under the company you created or under both authors’ names? What rights will each author have over the book? Most authors never consider the legal end of co-authoring a book, but I have often seen this create a problem between authors. If both authors own equal rights to the book, this means that each author has the right to do whatever they wish the book: create derivate works, printing, distributing, etc. without the permission of the other author. One way to solve this dilemma is through an agreement stating what each author has the rights to do without the permission of the other.

What Will Your Publishing Process Look Like?

You might also want to consider how this will affect the publishing process. Most publishers, outside of traditional ones, will want the author to sign off on the editing, cover design, etc. If you are in a co-author scenario, most publishers will want both of you to sign off on each part of the process. It is also important for you to ask your publisher how this will affect your publishing timeline. It may mean longer publishing times if both authors are to go through the editing, design, and proofing process together.