Looking to elevate your professional presence, share your wealth of knowledge, establish your credibility, or create a lasting impact? A multi-author book just might be the way to get you there!
Multi-author books, sometimes called essay collections or anthologies, are the fastest way to get published. These books often attract entrepreneurs, business owners, coaches, and other go-getters who want the full benefits of writing a book without a full-time investment. By leveraging the power of multiple networks, books with more than one author almost always become best-sellers on Amazon. They also provide a fun and collaborative experience, making them a great opportunity for aspiring authors who aren’t quite ready to tackle a full-length book.
There is tremendous upside to joining a book with more than one author, which is one reason they’ve grown in popularity over the last several years. These books have an exponentially larger audience, which means more exposure and opportunities for the authors, allowing them to grow their businesses, pick up more clients, and book more speaking engagements, podcast interviews, and media placements. In this post, we’ll explore the full benefits of joining a multi-author book as well as things to consider before you commit.
How Do Multi-Author Books Work?
While the exact process varies depending on the nature of the project and the publisher, here is generally how books written by multiple authors work:
Book publishers form a group of typically ten to twenty co-authors from the same industry or niche, and each author contributes one chapter to the book. All of the chapters are individual stories, but they are all related to the book’s overall theme. Authors typically apply to be part of a multi-author book, sign a contract that stipulates their copyrights and any royalties, and pay an investment fee that goes toward the costs of publishing the book.
Multi-author books follow an author-subsidized business model and use the investment money from each author to pay for publishing and promotion services upfront. A co-author who invests $2,500 in a multi-author book gets the benefit of $1,000-$1,500 book cover, $3,000 in editing, $500 in formatting, $500 in copyrighting and publishing research, $500 in social media and email templates and visuals, and the 100+ hours that go into coordinating the entire project and book launch.
One of the key differentiators between Sulit Press’ multi-author book program and others is that we offer eight weeks of writing coaching, a $1,000 value. Many other multi-author programs offer no coaching or it’s an additional charge. We believe tailored book coaching benefits our authors and ensures a higher-quality book.
Are Multi-Author Books Legit?
Since multi-author book publishers charge co-authors to join the project, many people believe that they are some sort of scam. We’re here to set the record straight. Multi-author books are legit, but you do need to vet the publisher before you sign on (we will get to more on this below).
Multi-author book publishers have an author-subsidized business model, which differs from traditional publishers, who don’t charge fees upfront but make their money on the back end with book sales. Traditional publishers have historically paid advances to a select few authors, with the expectation that those books will “earn back” their publishing costs. Publishers typically keep 80-90% of the book’s royalties. Traditional publishers are also very choosy about who they publish, especially in the highly competitive nonfiction space, so this has left a gap within the marketplace for ambitious entrepreneurs and professionals who want to share their expertise.
What You Should Consider Before Signing onto a Multi-Author Book
As mentioned above, you need to vet your publisher. Many multi-author book publishers ofter limited support and promotion for writers. They don’t all produce high-quality books that would be worthy of sitting on the shelves of your nearest Barnes & Noble or local library. A good first step for anyone considering signing on for a co-authored book is to see whether that publisher is a member of the IBPA, or Independent Book Publishers Association. Being an IBPA member means the publisher has agreed to adhere to the same level of professional publishing criteria as a traditional publisher, they are simply using an author-subsidized business model.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and the publisher to determine if the multi-author book is a fit with your goals:
Who is the book’s primary audience?
Is that my ideal client or reader?
How does the book’s topic align with my business, interest, or area of expertise?
What kind of support will the publisher provide to help me write my chapter?
What is the publisher’s plan for marketing the book?
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you commit to a multi-author book:
Do I have the time to commit to writing a chapter in a book?
Chapters range from 3,000 to 4,500 words. This is a small fraction of what is required to write an entire book, but it’s also more involved than, say, writing a blog post. The best publishers provide support for authors and coaching on how to craft a winning chapter, focusing on elements of writing such as tone, voice, narrative style, and hook but you’ll still be responsible for writing and self-editing your own chapter.
Can I meet deadlines?
Typically, the writing portion of a multi-author book program ranges from as little as eight weeks to several months. Reputable publishers will have hard deadlines for first drafts with multiple rounds of revisions and final edits. They will expect authors to be actively engaged in reviewing changes, so the book can be well-crafted and promoted ahead of launch.
Is a Multi-Author Book a Smart Investment?
What you get out of a multi-author project largely depends on your goals and aspirations. Authors who leverage their new-found authorship (and often best-seller status) can expect to land more clients, press and media coverage, speaking engagements, guest blogging opportunities, strategic brand partnerships, and participation in expert panels. Additionally, they expand their own professional and personal networks by collaborating with fellow authors and tapping into their respective circles. Bottom line: Most participants will find the investment cost is minimal compared to what they get in return. They get all the benefits of writing a full-length book in less time and for less money.
Sulit Press offers a number of multi-author book opportunities year-round. View our current multi-author book opportunities. Have a question about our multi-author book program or have a topic you think would make a terrific multi-author book? Reach out!