Unpublished coauthors of fiction

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MoiraYoung
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Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by MoiraYoung » February 19th, 2010, 1:38 pm

One of my hypothetical future projects involves a joint fiction venture with another writer. He created the universe, and I've got an idea for a novel set in that universe. Both of us are unpublished.

Questions:
1) Let's pretend this was my first novel (i.e., I don't get anything published before it). Do agents and publishers accept or even like the idea of two writers working together, when both are unpublished? Or is that a privilege reserved for the already published?

2) How would this work regarding representation? Does the agent represent both authors, or just the manuscript?

To be clear, I'm not asking about the intricacies of who gets how much money. I'm interested in the feasability of such a venture. How well is this likely to go over with a prospective agent/publisher in the first place? Or would it be treated along the same lines as a pen name, where I should pitch the story first, and then worry about the details? On one hand, I'd hate for the dual authorship to get in the way, but on the other, I strongly dislike witholding information that is probably pertinent.

I hope I've posted this in the right forum.

casnow
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Re: Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by casnow » February 19th, 2010, 2:21 pm

Is your co-author actually going to be doing any writing in the story or did he just spend time outlining the "universe" that it is set in?

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MoiraYoung
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Re: Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by MoiraYoung » February 19th, 2010, 7:31 pm

The coauthor is a webcomic artist, and the novel would be set in the universe of the comic that he currently has online. He's a great storyteller and tells an entertaining tale. So I'd say without a doubt that he's put more than enough work into it.

casnow
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Re: Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by casnow » February 20th, 2010, 4:05 am

I'll preface by saying that I'm clueless...
If you are doing the writing, but borrowing from his comics, then you would be the one querying/selling the novel, but you would need an agreement with him that would "license" you to use his intellectual property.

I would imagine that if his comics have a strong web-presence than that could actually be used as a good selling point to agents/editors.

askmonkey
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Re: Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by askmonkey » February 22nd, 2010, 11:09 pm

I co-write with my twin sister and we were previously agented for our first novel. The way our agent handled it was to write a contract for each of us that said that she could market our manuscript for us. Subsequently, I wrote another novel on my own and she was set to help me with that one as well (but the agent ended up disappearing on me, but that's another story :P).
So I don't think having a co-author is a big deal since the agent will be taking his/her 15% from the total money either way. Just be sure you have your co-author's permission to pitch the story!

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 1st, 2010, 6:33 pm

MoiraYoung wrote:One of my hypothetical future projects involves a joint fiction venture with another writer. He created the universe, and I've got an idea for a novel set in that universe. Both of us are unpublished.

Questions:
1) Let's pretend this was my first novel (i.e., I don't get anything published before it). Do agents and publishers accept or even like the idea of two writers working together, when both are unpublished? Or is that a privilege reserved for the already published?

2) How would this work regarding representation? Does the agent represent both authors, or just the manuscript?

To be clear, I'm not asking about the intricacies of who gets how much money. I'm interested in the feasability of such a venture. How well is this likely to go over with a prospective agent/publisher in the first place? Or would it be treated along the same lines as a pen name, where I should pitch the story first, and then worry about the details? On one hand, I'd hate for the dual authorship to get in the way, but on the other, I strongly dislike witholding information that is probably pertinent.

I hope I've posted this in the right forum.
Situations vary a lot. If neither author has an agent, usually the agent will represent both authors jointly. I definitely think agents and publishers are open to this arrangement provided the end result is really good. There are authors like Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt who write together over the course of many books and develop a joint brand.

Definitely be upfront if you're working with a co-writer. You won't get penalized.

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MoiraYoung
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Re: Unpublished coauthors of fiction

Post by MoiraYoung » March 10th, 2010, 1:52 pm

Thanks! I'll keep this in mind if this ever becomes a reality.

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