The Writer

Dream team

They say two heads are better than one.

To wit: countless covers for picture book, middle grade, and YA books carry the names of two authors. A few have many more. For instance, middle grade novel Best. Night. Ever.: A Story Told From Seven Points of View has (you guessed it!) seven coauthors.

Jen Malone, who served as coauthor and editor for Best. Night. Ever., says the book idea materialized when she and several of her critique partners landed at the same imprint. They originally wanted to write an anthology, but middle grade anthologies don’t sell very well. Instead, “our editor liked the idea of it being a cohesive novel,” Malone says. They agreed to a setting (a school dance), and each coauthor wrote chapters from a different character’s point of view.

While collaborative novels may present a cohesive storyline to the reader, there’s often a lot more happening behind the scenes before the book gets into readers’ hands. Read on to see how Malone and other coauthors generate ideas, write and revise drafts, and market their books collaboratively.

Why collaborate?

Malone, who’s separately coauthored middle grade novels with Gail Nall and Kristine Asselin in addition to Best. Night. Ever., says coauthoring as an established author can effectively connect each other’s fan bases. “The hope was that our audiences for our individual books would be introduced,” she says. “They might like how this character is written and seek out that author’s books.”

For Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, who were brought together by the same literary agent, the motivations are more artistic. Both have written books individually and coauthored picture books together, most recently Scanlon says writing with Vernick helps up her game. “Each draft raises the

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