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Breathe Life Into 2024 Publishing with Collaboration

While the calendar New Year might be a manufactured thing, it’s often a nice time to reset and gain a fresh perspective on life, work and projects. If you’re an indie writer or publisher, doing a lot of things by yourself, collaboration could be worth looking into as a way to  get some fresh perspective and even ideas into your work. Rather than feeling stuck with a project, or piece of writing,



 

FINDING COLLABORATORS:


Collaboration is something like a meeting of equals, so unlike when you hire someone to work with you in order to get a project done. This means that it is a good idea if you’re considering putting together a quality publication but without a large budget to hire staff. Instead you might wish to collaborate with people who have different ideas and skills from you, and you may offer them something in return, or keep it a casual affair.


The idea with collaborating is that you work on things together, rather than just asking people to do different jobs. Depending on what you might want people to work on with you, other acceptable ways to compensate collaborators could be in project skills swaps or even providing credit. Some sort of equality is implied in this relationship, and so it isn't about just getting other people's skills because that's what we usually do when we pay them. Collaboration is more about all helping each other and community building.


Alternatively, even chatting with friends or family about a story and bouncing ideas around can count as collaborating. Stuck with a storyline, or have a character going nowhere - ask people what they think and you are bound to gather a lot of different directions you could go in.


It takes time to network and build up a peer group of like-minded people, but you can collaborate with anyone you already know, and you might even be surprised at the skills people you know have that they don’t usually show off about.


WRITING:


Have you got an old project that has gone only so far? Even for relatively solitary writers, collaboration could freshen your storytelling up and get you feeling enthusiastic about possible characters or plot twists again.  It might be hard for some writers to discuss their work with normies before it’s ready, but if you are in a rut it really might be worth talking over segments of your work. If you aren’t usually someone who shares, then friends and family might be fascinated by this.


You don’t have to tell people the whole story, just start with chunks that you want a fresh perspective on and that others’ might enjoy hearing about. Try people who are interested in the subjects you are working with, more than people you can imagine working in the same way as you or other writers.


It might be much more fun to discuss your private investigator character with a crime fiction fan, or your fantasy world with someone who has a mundane job they are a little bored in.


You could talk to people over tea and cake, have fun putting lots of prompts into AI software to see what new and weird ideas you get, or put together a closed social group online who would be willing to get involved and make it all fun.

 

PUBLISHING:


Publishing at any level is innately collaborative because all of the skills that go into making a good book.


If you have got to the stage when you want to publish then collaboration could help give your project some professional polish.  Skills that often stand in the way of getting publishing projects done include proofreading, graphic / book design, copy editing and obviously all the promotional things once you have the book done.


Paying professionals to do these things will make your project run much more smoothly and is something that you can be proud of. However, there are some collaborative options for people who don’t have the deep pockets you need to get publishing off the ground.

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  • Try a skills swap if you’ve got some skills others’ could use. For example, if you’re a writer, would you write some free quality website content in exchange for proofreading or website design?

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  • Look into backend contracts, which are used in the film industry and have been used by Pudding Press to get work done without the need for a several thousand pound outlay.


  • Look for similar larger collaborations for publishing, e.g. getting your short story into a larger collection instead of having to publish it all alone.

 

Wishing everyone a happy and productive publishing start to 2024, with lots of new stories and voices that don’t just follow the crowd.


Pudding Press Admin

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