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Writing a nonfiction book "with" someone

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Sister Ray

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A very popular facebook page I follow was recently asked why they didn't write a book about their experiences. The owners responded with "we don't have the time." Immediately I thought of volunteering to write one for them. A traditional ghostwriting agreement wouldn't go over very well here, because they don't have a lot of money to give for such a product. I'd love to just write it myself, but I'd like the owners to have some portion of money go to their cause.

The best way to do it, at least in my eyes, would be writing it "with" them. I'm sure everyone here has seen books written by such and such well known figure, "with" an additional author. The only thing that has stopped me from writing them to suggest it is that I'm not totally sure how it works. I understand I'd be essentially doing all the writing, and I'm fine with that, but how is a contract like that set up? Anyone done this before or has any links about it I could read?
 

Old Hack

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If it's a non-fiction book you speak to the people whose story you're interested in telling, and get their agreement to proceed. This should include an agreement to allow you access to their archives, perhaps, for your research; an agreement to give you interview-time; details of any rights of approval they get; and information about whether they'll get payment or not.

Usually they won't get payment. They'll make money from the increased attention their business attracts if your book is successful.

Once you've got that agreement you write a proposal for the book: a detailed outline, three chapters, some marketing stuff. Then you find an agent or publisher, then you write the book.

You usually have to write a draft proposal before getting the initial agreement with the people whose story it is, so they know what they're agreeing to.

This isn't ghostwriting, as the book will have your name on the cover.

My concerns are that there's a huge difference between "a book about a very popular Facebook page" and "a book with a lot of commercial potential"; and if you don't have a proven track record of writing books like this, you might struggle to convince people you can do it.

I hope that's a help.
 

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Speaking with my Non-Fiction Editor hat on, I have to ask you why their story is more commercial than that of any of the other hundreds of thousands of animal rescue organisations out there. I'm not trying to discourage you: but your proposed book has to have something that sets it apart from all the others if it's going to work.
 

barbarairvin

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I think collaborating on a book is a great idea. This is one of my goals as well. It is difficult to find someone who shares the same interests as myself and writes the way I do.

So, for now, I'm writing by myself.

Barbara
 

Barbara R.

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You could start with a simple letter of agreement: you're going to write their story, with their full cooperation, and if the book sells, any income will be split...whatever split you agree on. Then, once you've worked up a convincing book proposal, you start the search for a literary agent to handle it. If you find one, the agent can help you formalize the agreement between the partners.

Good luck!
 
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