Remember your priorities

This can be tough once you're well into the project, when it stops being one big hoot and starts feeling like real work. So give some thought to the question while you're still having lots of fun. Was your goal just to do a fun story with your friend? Was it to get both of you published? Was it to make both of you financially independent? (Good luck if that's the case - collaborations are not usually the golden road to

Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love and Money

riches.) Or were you aiming for something else? And what is going to satisfy both of you? Just completing a whole book? Selling it? Still being friends once it's done?

The deal is different for two established pros working together than it is for two beginners. Agents frequently introduce potential collaborators - you frequently meet the person you're going to be working with for the first time after you've already signed the contract (though you both will have done a fair amount of prep work before.) You don't have emotion or the potential loss of friendship riding on your project if it fails. Usually both of you already have a pretty good idea of how the business works. It's less exciting, but you have less to lose - and you can make some good friends if you and your collaborators get on well.

If you've gone through this list and you know how you want to divvy up the work and you've covered all your potential trouble spots and worked them out in advance and you still want to do the collaboration, you should do fine. Remember that joint projects always take longer than you planned, always contain some surprises, and rarely go turn out the way you expected. They can be fun if you if you know this in advance and have already made allowances.

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