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Friday, January 23, 2015

Collaboration and the Indie Writer - The Business Side

Creating with other writers always sounds like fun. If you've been with any type of writing group, whether something formal or just a friend, you've brainstormed and come up with lots of nifty ideas. The energy in shared creativity can be intoxicating.

So intoxicating that writers don't stop and think about the business ramifications of publishing a joint project.

Laura Kirwan and I came into collaboration from a different angle than most writers. We were both attorneys at one point in our lives. So we were very aware that we needed an agreement in writing to cover our asses, aka a contract.

As Laura mentioned in her comment on Wednesday, we have a clause concerning acts of Murphy (feel free to substitute the deity of your choice). It acknowledges that we are both in positions of dealing with elderly family members, and frankly, shit can and does happen with them, or us. That goes back to how the actual writing is divided between us and what happens if one of us cannot fulfill her duties.

In most contracts, the parties to the contract agree to which state's law controls the contract (aka, choice of law). In most situations, each party tries to get their own state listed. When we first started talking about a collaboration, I was in the process of moving from Texas to Ohio and Laura lived in Arizona. So which state did we choose?

North Dakota.

Yes, we picked the most inconvenient place for both of us to force us to come to an amicable decision over something we were at odds over. Though I really think our coin toss clause will solve most of our problems.

We decided whose imprint our joint books under which will be published. (Neither. We created a whole new imprint.) We decided how money will be handled. We also came up with a formula if one of us decides this isn't working and wants to buy out the other person.

These are the situations most writers don't want to think about when they're in the throes of a new relationship. But by shaking out the business bullshit well before hand, you can focus on writing the story.

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