Writing and publishing an entire book by yourself can be quite daunting. Particularly, if you’re a first-time writer.
And even though you might know that the business benefits are certainly there, producing a book to position yourself and your business is still not an easy thing to get done.
However, in recent years, a new publishing trend has really taken off in the business world – collaborative books or anthologies.
This is where a group of people band together to write one chapter each (or a section), to create a professionally published book between them.
Therefore, splitting up the work and dividing the costs of publishing.
It can be a really great way of taking that first leap into book writing and publishing, without too much stress or drama. And taking part in these books can also help you to get published, much faster.
But many business owners don’t always know that these types of opportunities exist. And then when you find them, you might be wondering about how they really work and what they can truly add to your business and profile.
So, let’s take a look.
The benefits of publishing a business book
Now, this is something we wrote about in Issue 1 of Rural Entrepreneur Australia, but we’ll quickly give you a brief overview here.
Publishing a book for your business will:
- Help to position you as an expert in your field.
- Increase trust and credibility in the eyes of your potential/existing clients and customers.
- Increase trust and credibility in the eyes of others in your industry – leading to speaking gigs and the like (which help grow your profile).
- Gives you another marketing channel and traffic source – you’ll potentially be found on Amazon and on Google, more easily.
- Help you to cut through the noise online and really stand out from your competitors (books hold authority).
- Fun – it gives you a creative outlet that can break up your daily tasks.
- Provides an interesting challenge – when it’s something you wouldn’t normally do.
- Healing – giving you a chance to reflect and work through past experiences.
- Clarifying – when you reflect, you often see new opportunities for the future.
The benefits of a collaborative book
Writing 60,000+ words for a full-length book is a massive undertaking. Depending on your schedule, it could take 6 to 12 months to write that. It doesn’t necessarily have to (as with the right writing process and support you can do it quite quickly!) – but realistically, it certainly can.
And when you battle first-time author issues such as writer’s block, procrastination, no accountability or support – it’s highly likely that you won’t get around to either starting it or finishing it.
Therefore, contributing a single chapter to a collaborative book may only require you to write 3000 to 6000 words. And it also provides greater accountability and support.
So, you might choose a collaborative book because:
- It takes less time and work to write a smaller contribution.
- The publishing costs are split between authors, which means you outlay less.
- Usually, the entire publishing process is handled for you by a professional publisher with a specialist team (less hassle).
- The resulting book is generally better quality when produced properly by professionals and with the input of multiple ideas and suggestions from other authors.
- You have other authors to bounce ideas off.
- You’ll have access to more support throughout the writing, publishing, and marketing process.
AND – here’s the big one – it gets YOU in front of OTHER audiences.
When authors collaborate on a book – everyone shares that book to their own audiences.
Which means your name ends up front and centre, in a credible way, on the other authors’ social media channels etc. This can lead new clients and customers to your channels.
How do collaborative books work?
Generally, a collaborative book is coordinated or headed up by one or two business leaders. They will promote the opportunity to get involved – and you’ll apply for your spot in the book.
Many books offer between 10 and 30 spots for authors.
The book will have a central theme, so you’re likely to need to pitch how your story or your expertise can contribute to that theme or topic.
Authors are then chosen, and the leaders of the project will keep you in the loop as to the rest of the process.
Everyone will run and manage these projects slightly differently. So, it is important to ensure you fully understand what’s required by the organiser before committing.
This might include specifics such as word counts, whether you’re contributing a single chapter or a specific section, how your contribution is to be written, and when each part is due.
However, many (including ours) require you to write a single chapter of around 3000 – 5000 words.
What does the process look like?
Generally, the process can look a little like this:
- You meet the other authors and get to know them.
- You might be offered the chance to submit a few topics for the organisers to choose from.
- The organisers choose the best topics from each author and determine the chapter structure of the book.
- You’ll be given your final topic.
- You’ll then write your first draft – and send it to be edited.
- The editors will come back with suggested changes.
- You review the changes and accept or reject them.
- The editors finalise your contribution.
And then – the publishing team and organiser handle the rest of the process.
You may also get the opportunity to review the proposed cover design and submit your feedback and suggestions.
Finally, you’ll help with marketing the finished book to your audience – hopefully with plenty of support and templates etc. from the organisers.
Are there costs involved?
Generally speaking – yes, there usually is a fee to be involved. This might concern you, but it is standard practice and to be expected.
Publishing a book through a self-publishing company (like us at The Rural Publishing Company) isn’t a $2 exercise. When there’s complex elements such as cover design, typesetting (internal design), editing, proofreading, printing etc. – all of these things take expertise and time. And the success of a book – or indeed anything – depends on getting things done well.
Therefore, there is a cost.
The benefit, as mentioned earlier, is that with a collaborative book each author shares the cost of publishing.
That way, it’s significantly less than trying to do it alone.
Precisely what cost, again, is down to the individual project.
However, it can be anywhere from $500 through to $5000. This can depend on the cost of publishing – but also on the size of the audience you’re potentially getting in front of.
It will also depend on whether the organisers are including a certain quantity of print copies for you, or if you simply order however many you feel you need, as you go.
Is there any writing support?
This again, will depend on the organisers and the publishing house involved in the project.
Some business leaders WILL provide lots of coaching and support – others will simply expect you to write your chapter by the due date.
Some publishers will be directly involved in supporting authors, others will not.
If you’re a beginner writer or not so confident, it’s wise to make sure you will have access to some form of support from the organisers.
But the beauty of these projects is that they are collaborative. You should have access to the other authors to bounce ideas off when needed. You’re not going it alone.
What if I’ve never written a book (or anything) before?
Then collaborative books are likely to be perfect for you. In most cases, beginner writers are completely welcome.
You’ll be able to give it a go with extra support and encouragement.
And here’s the thing to keep in mind – a great editor can make any writing sound fantastic! They will make sure you sound like the polished professional you are.
Our experiences with collaborative books
So, I’ve been involved in two collaborative books so far.
First, I contributed a single chapter to a larger book called Back Yourself. This was organised through a women’s business group called AusMumpreneur.
I chose to do this because they had a larger network and audience than I did. I thought it would be a great chance to get in front of their audience in a prominent way, but to also create some great relationships with the other authors.
The project certainly did that. Plus, it gave me the benefit of gaining a first-hand insight into the world of professional publishing AND how these projects were run.
As a result, I then decided to try and organise my own collaborative book.
The idea was to do something similar to Back Yourself, but with a rural and regional focus.
Rural Business Women ended up bringing together 16 of us women, each of us running businesses from regional areas.
Admittedly, the project challenged me far more than I expected. But the rewards have been fantastic, not just for me, but the other authors too.
We were a pretty diverse group, all in different areas across Australia, in different industries running completely different businesses – at different stages. Many were juggling competing priorities, such as farms and kids as well.
While the project was supposed to take 3 months, it ended up taking 12 months.
However, the diversity ensured a wide range of knowledge and advice, which was just what I wanted. And the chance to lead these incredible women in such a big project was pretty life-changing for me.
Rural Business Women ended up topping the charts on Amazon and becoming a number one best seller in the Women and Business category. It was quite the achievement.
And many of the authors have been featured in lots of local media outlets.
Together, we’ve sold hundreds of copies. We’re impacting women right across regional Australia with our knowledge – and that’s really cool.
Plus, we decided that all eBook sales on Amazon would be donated to a regional charity. In this case, we went with an organisation called Rural & Remote Mental Health. It’s nice to give back in this way.
In fact, this book was what prompted us to start our own publishing company, as we enjoyed the process so much. Books are such a passion of ours as they are such an affordable and accessible way of sharing stories and knowledge.
About our current collaborative book opportunities
You’ve probably guessed that we have an ulterior motive for sharing this insight into collaborative books.
Yes – we offer our own.
We’ve well and truly experienced the power of collaboration in so many different ways, and books aren’t any different.
The more regional business owners who can join forces and grow their businesses together, the further we all get and the more we can all achieve as a collective.
We’d therefore love to invite you to be a part of our next two collaborative titles, so you can get a taste of what being an author can bring to you, both personally and professionally.
Book 1: Rural Business Women Volume 2 – this is designed to follow on from the business basics provided in Volume 1, to provide slightly more advanced information.
Book 2: The Rural Rebel Business Revolution – this is all about how you might be doing things differently in business, to get ahead.
We have a maximum of 20 author spots in each book.
If you’d be interested in getting involved, or have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us.
Or simply go here: https://theruralpublishingcompany.com.au/collaborative-books/
What We Offer
Personalised, one to one coaching, to help you get your book written.
Done for you publishing services, where you retain all rights and royalties.
Book writing and publishing courses so you can learn the processes yourself.