Inside the Writer's Studio: on Co-Authoring a Title

In the writer’s studio this week we have the rare chance to talk to a duo, Jack and Ashley, who have co-written Osric’s Wand, a novel that introduces readers to a world of magic in its infancy. While the world leaders of Archana gather for an unprecedented peace treaty signing, tragedy strikes, and rumors spread of war. Osric; a young, untested leader, is thrust into the chaos and must journey far with his unlikely companions to stop the inevitable world war. Hear more about their advice if you are getting started on your own project and the challenges they faced in bringing this tale to the page.


1. What is your one piece of must know advice for aspiring writers?

Ashley: Write what you are passionate about and accept criticism with an open mind.  I think writers should enjoy the writing process, regardless of whether it is for profit or not.  Writing a story should be just as enjoyable as reading one.  I admit that I am a bit of a perfectionist and I tend to take criticism personally.  This characteristic is not beneficial when it comes to accepting suggestions and critiques about my writing.  I have to keep in mind that any improvement to the story will make me a better writer and provide more enjoyment for my readers.

2. Is there an unforgettable lesson you learned from writing this book you wouldn’t know otherwise about fiction?

Jack: The most important lesson I learned was to ignore advice from other writers.  Not that their advice is bad, but there are as many theories about writing a good book as there are writers.  Listening to what all of them have to say may cause you to become frustrated with yourself, and you may begin to doubt whether you want to write.  Just write what you want to read.  Chances are that if you want to read it, others will want to read it as well.  You may never become a billionaire doing it, but at least you will enjoy yourself.

3. Any challenges for you as you wrote and published this book?

Ashley:  My greatest challenge was balancing the time that writing deserves and requires with the rest of my obligations and passions.  I am a single mom, I run my own business, and I am a full time student.  It was very difficult to find time to write each day without sacrificing any other priorities.  However, my always diligent, and often relentless, co-author made sure I found the time and we completed the first book in under a year.  I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to collaborate with Jack, and I would recommend that every writer try working with another author at least once.  It allows a story to develop in surprising ways, it keeps the writing process exciting and new, and it gives you someone else to be accountable to in your writing throughout the process.

4. How would you start your next project?

Jack: Some great music, a glass of iced tea, and a room with just me and a computer in it!  But if you mean, “How will your next book start?”, that is much easier to answer.  It will start exactly where the last book left off.  We are only a few months away from bringing the second installment to the world.  My talented Co-Author, Ashley Delay, aptly named it Osric’s Wand: The High-Wizard’s Hunt!

5. Anything else you want the readers to know?

Jack: I want to say thank you to all of our fans.  It goes without saying that we would not be in this position without you.  It is amazing to have so many of you falling in love with the characters that create themselves for us as we write.  I am also humbled by all of the feedback we have received in the reviews.  Those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to spread the word about our book have been amazing in helping us get to where we are.  The personal recommendation may be the best form of advertising on the planet, and we have had more than our fair share from readers.  Thank you again!

Ashley:  First of all, I want to second that thank you!  We were blown away when The Wand-Maker’s Debate broke into’s bestseller lists.  Thanks to our fans’ enthusiasm and support, it has remained there since.  Secondly, we can’t wait to hear what you think of The High-Wizard’s Hunt!  Keep an eye on as the release date approaches for a chance to win a copy of the second book.



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Stop asking and Start Learning

books (Photo credit: brody4)

Happened again today: I opened my email to find a note from someone who heard I worked at well reputed publisher. She wanted to take me to coffee so she could tell me about her literary aspirations. She has a book idea; she wants to get published.

Before I tell you how I replied, let me get off my chest what I wanted to say to her (and the dozens of other people who write to me on a monthly basis in this vein): the Internet is your friend.

In most cases, the aspiring author is not a sweaty, tempted plagiarizing undergraduate. The average I-have-a-book adult has a well paying job and the germ of a story he/she wants to tell to someone. Anyone. They just can’t figure out how to get pen to paper. This is the first problem. The non-writer, we’ll call this type, because the person who professes to want to publish a book HASN’T WRITTEN ONE. Ever. To this person I say forget the debut novelist bestsellers. This is the same as dropping out of college and saying you’re going to be Jobs-like genius.

Keep it simple, non-writer. Start writing. By yourself. At home. In the cafe. In groups. As Nike says, Just Do It. And when you’ve finished a story, a chapter, a manuscript, then we’ll talk. Writing is about commitment. Show your great idea some.

The second most common problem is the what-do-I-do-with-my-book. If you are reading this from a laptop in the comfort of your home (or on a desk top at work) then you are amongst the more fortunate 10% of the world who have access to education and technology. Do some research with your best friend for dinner party debates, Google. There are literally hundreds of thousands of articles out there for first time writers. The indie boom has meant that everyone who has self published talks about, blogs, about, tweets their publishing stories. There are even some related links in this post below. Read them. Apply. Repeat.

If you’re too lazy, clueless or busy to do either of the above, then check out my book So You Want to Sell a Million Copies which is the result of two years of my guest blogging publishing advice at Writers and Artists Yearbook.

I got my own job in publishing; I published my own books. You can too. If you still want more details, join me and the media master mind Rachel in the OC this Tuesday 9:00 p.m. (Doha time) on Spreecast. It’s free to setup an account and we’ll share our wisdom at no extra charge. And this is when I’ll tell you what I said to my latest I-have-a-book inquirer.

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