What I Learned Co-Authoring a Book

post by Michelle Griep

Co-authoring really can be a fun adventure!
Kelly Klepfer & Michelle Griep
Sometimes you need to take a risk and dare peeking over the edge of your box, even venture just outside of it. But in writing my latest release, Out of the Frying Pan, I catapulted from my safety zone and took a freefall into uncharted territory for me. Not only did I switch genres, I buddied up to do it and wrote with a partner.
I learned a fair amount of survival tips along the way, so if you’re considering writing a novel with another author, here are a few nuggets of writerly wisdom . . .

Don’t edit the other person’s voice to death.
This was my problem. Big time. I’m the sicko who happens to love to edit. Soup can labels, dog food bags, you name it and I’ll edit it. Generally this skill comes in handy, but not so much when I red-inked my buddy’s scenes. The beauty of having two authors in one book is that the reader gets to enjoy two distinct voices. Resist the urge to make it sound like one.

Transitions are your new best friends.
When we finally put all of our scenes together, some of them didn’t mesh so well. Segues are a must, especially when there are two different brains thinking on different wavelengths. Just a sentence or two will do it at the beginning of each scene.

Have one main plotter.
My buddy and fellow Rocketeer, Kelly Klepfer, worked out the big picture for Out of the Frying Pan. Good thing, because too many ideas can spoil a novel. Not that we didn’t brainstorm together from time to time, but someone has to ultimately be in charge of steering the writerly ship.

Have loads of grace and buckets of mercy.

Sometimes I screwed up a scene. Sometimes Kelly did. We both had to go back to the drawing board when our scene didn’t work for the other person. Know that’s part of the game ahead of time so tempers don’t flare.

Divvy up the marketing chores.

Just because you finish writing the book together doesn’t mean the work is over. That’s when marketing begins. Don’t weigh down your partner with the bulk of getting the word out. Do what you learned in preschool: share.

Would I do it again? Sure. Writing a book together is a fun adventure. Just make sure to do it with someone you love. 


When the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts–especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters harbor their own secrets that take life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.



Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.