10 Tips to Being a Co-Author

by Leslie Gould, @lesliejeangould

(with input from her co-author Mindy Starns Clark)

1. Find someone with a similar writing style and voice.
Thankfully our agent, Chip MacGregor, recognized that Mindy and I have a similar writing style and voice, and he suggested that we work together. That has been a big boost to our process. We can seamlessly edit each other’s writing and keep the continuity of the story going without any big hiccups.

2. Find someone who has different strengths than you do.
Having a similar style is great, but it’s actually a benefit if you don’t share the same strengths. Mindy is amazing when it comes to plot, while I’m more character driven. Thankfully we complement each other in those two areas.

3. Meet in person (if at all possible).
Although, all of the work can be done over email, texting, phone calls, Skype, and whatever else works best for you, it really does help to see each other face-to-face. Mindy lives in Pennsylvania and I live in Oregon, but over the seven years we’ve been co-authoring, we’ve met in person multiple times. There’s nothing like brainstorming in person to get the ideas flying!

4. Make sure there’s a mutual understanding of who is responsible for what in the writing process.
We’ve used different approaches depending on the project. For example on some of our novels, one person wrote a rough first draft, then the second person heavily edited it and tied everything together, and then finally we both edited the story again. On other projects, we divided the writing of the first draft and then edited each other’s work after that.

5. Be ready to be flexible and rethink #4 when needed.

In the seven years Mindy and I have been working together, we’ve each had a parent die, Mindy sustained a serious injury, and my husband was deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Those were the biggies. And, as you can imagine, there were a whole lot of other little things going on too. You get the idea. Life happens. Thankfully, whenever one of us was facing an ordeal, the other was able to pick up the slack.

6. Do all you can to kill your pride, as early in the process as possible.
Co-authoring is a lot like marriage and parenting. This person WILL see you at your worst. Typos. Plot holes. Stupid stuff. And stressed over deadlines. There’s no way around it—the sooner you get over yourself the better.

7. Don’t think that you’ll be doing half the work of what you would do writing a novel on your own.
Co-authoring takes time. The preliminary work. The back and forth.The editing and polishing. The work isn’t cut in half. (On the other hand, it is less work than writing a novel on your own.)

8. Be prepared to do some of “your” best writing, ever.
Having a co-author means that you have a first “editor” whose name is on the front cover, along with your own. She wants your writing to absolutely shine. Your co-author is absolutely invested in making your writing the best it’s ever been.

9. Divide and conquer when it comes to marketing.
As with the writing, the marketing work isn’t cut in half but having a co-author definitely makes it easier. You can split up guest blog posts (like this one!) and other tasks. But the great thing is that having a co-author means your book—your baby—will get far more attention with both of you marketing it than any of the novels you market on your own.

10. Be prepared to miss your co-author when the project is done.
Writing can be a lonely business. Working with a co-author means you’re in contact through the process—and then in constant contact when you’re pushing your deadline. Then, suddenly, it’s all over and that can be a little lonely. Until it’s time to start the next project!


It’s not half the work of writing a novel on your own. ~ Leslie Gould (Click to Tweet)


A thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last

Virginia, 1864

Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?

Virginia, present day

Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.

* * *
From the Christy Award-winning team of Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould comes a thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last. Learn more and purchase a copy.

Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould have co-authored seven books together, with one more contracted. Their first, The Amish Midwife, was a Christy Award winner and a #1 bestseller. Their latest novel, My Daughter’s Legacy, released July 1st and is the third in their Cousins of the Dove series about the French Huguenots. Altogether, Mindy has written 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction with over 1 million sold, while Leslie has written 27 novels.