8 ways to find a health book collaborator
Should you write a health book yourself, or work in collaboration? Look closely at the top selling health books in bookstores and you’ll see that many if not most are written in collaboration between a writer and a health expert. Often the expert is named first as the “author” to give the book clout, while the writer is listed second. Sometimes the writer isn’t even mentioned on the cover but acts as a ghostwriter for the expert (and should negotiate a higher percentage of the split). But there’s plenty of room for both names on the cover of a health book, depending on how you negotiate your contract. (More about that later.)
Teaming up with a collaborator to write a health book has many advantages. It lightens your load and improves your odds of success. And it can be loads of fun. Here’s why you should consider it:
- If you’re a busy expert in the health fitness or nutrition field, you may be too busy to write an entire book on the side, even if you have the writing skill. Writing a book takes a certain kind of writing skill you may not be used to. A writer can communicate your health book ideas effectively in a competitive marketplace. And a writer will also help with the responsibility of writing the proposal, finding an agent and publisher, and working with editors.
- If you’re a professional writer, you can benefit from a prominent health experts platform and credentials, two necessities for selling today’s health book by conventional means. You may do more of the upfront work, but the expert can do the talk show circuit and answer questions in the press — who want credentialed experts, no matter how much you may know about your topic.
How to find a collaborator
- [If you're a health expert] You can post a free add on ASJA.org (American Society of Journalists and Authors), a professional writing membership of over 1,000 vetted writers.
- If you’re health expert] Browse the bookstores for similar books to the one you want to write. Figure out which of the bylines belongs to the actual writer. In many cases the writer is only listed in the acknowledgments. Then search for their website and contact info.
- [If you're a health expert] Check magazines and newspapers for bylines of popular articles on your topic. Then search for their contact info online and ask them if they’d like to talk about a collaboration.
- [If you're a health expert] You may already be talking to an agent, publisher, or book packager who likes your health book idea. They can probably suggest a good co-writer.
- [If you're a health writer] Read medical journal articles and medical university press articles on your health topic. The experts contact info shouldn’t be hard to find through the university press office.
- [If you're a health writer] Ask one of the experts you’ve interviewed for other projects. They’re most likely comfortable working with you and know you’re ligit. You can also ask other health writers if they can recommend any of the experts they’ve interviewed on your health book topic.
- [If you're a health writer] Browse online for books out of print or soon to be out of print on your topic. Contact the expert author and find out if they’re ready for an update.
- [If you're a health writer] Contact agents who rep health books and try to get on their list of go-to writer collaborators. A good place to meet agents for this purpose is at writers’ conferences such as those put on by ASJA.org and FreelanceSuccess.com.
Coming soon: How to talk to a potential collaborator; and Who gets what? Collaboration agreements and contracts