View Full Version : Co-author question

07-09-2005, 04:04 PM
I've seen a co-author on the cover of a book written as "with" instead of "and."

John Jones with Mary Smith

What does with mean? Does it always mean that Mary Smith put it into better English? Or can it mean Mary Smith had some of the ideas?

My friend, Mark, is writing a technical book which will contain adaptations from his first book, which he co-authored. He would like to acknowledge his former co-author, Bob, in this new book, since some of the adaptations are actually the co-author's ideas.

Mark wrote all the words in the first book, but the co-author, Bob, contributed a substantial amount of the ideas, which is why he got a co-author credit on the first book.

Should the second book now say by Mark and Bob?
Or should it say by Mark with Bob?
Or should is just say by Mark (and give Bob an ack inside the book)
Or is there some other way of handling this that you would suggest?

Thanks! Linda

07-09-2005, 05:42 PM
I would like to know what others have to say about this as well.

I know that Cecil "Cec" Murphey ghost writes books. He does all the writing but the "author" gives him the info and the story. Cec's name is listed as "with," not "and."

I was under the impression that "and" meant both individuals contributed to the book's thoughts, ideas and writing. "With" meant that one person physically wrote the book and the other gave the story/idea.

07-09-2005, 07:22 PM
The ordinary interpretation of "with" is that only one of the two individuals contributed substantial expression to the book (usually, but not always, the second one); for example, My American Journey, by Colin Powell with Joseph Persico, was almost entirely rewritten into its current form by Joe Persico from notes, interviews, etc. with Powell. Thus, Persico contributed most of the "style," while Powell contributed most of the "substance."

Legally, though, there is no distinction between "with" and "and"; it is strictly a marketing decision by the publisher. The best course of action is to explain the exact circumstances to the publisher and ask the publisher's advice on what will work best. Typically, textbooks and reference books will retain the works of all authors who worked on earlier editions. For example, one of the real monsters in legal reference books is Nimmer on Copyright, which continues (in its current edition) to list the elder Nimmer as an author, although he's been dead for some time and in fact contributed only minimally to the revisions in the edition before the current one. In fact, most nonfiction books don't even bother with an "and" or "with"—that seems prevalent only in memoirs and autobiographies—and just list the names one after the other.

aka eraser
07-09-2005, 08:50 PM
Has Bob been approached and given his OK to this new book? I would think he should have some input on how the credit reads and might possibly have a right to a piece of the new book's action.