The collaboration tax in freelance projects

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The price of freelance work goes up as you involve more people from your company in their work. Call it the “collaboration tax.” The best analogy I can give is this: I once hired a carpenter to rebuild the porch on my house. I wanted to see if I could get a better price than … Continued

Collaborating on research: the value of multiple perspectives

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Two or three researchers can do better than one. Here’s how to take advantage of that. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about Web research that informs writing, whether that’s an article, a book, a white paper, or an internal document. Even if you’re doing actual primary research, such a survey or interviews, … Continued

The unwritten rules of collaborative courtesy

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Collaboration on writing is hard enough. It can work only when there is a shared understanding of process and assumptions. Some rules and conventions regarding writing collaboration seem obvious to me — so obvious that I never mention them, because an experienced writer would find it insulting. Then a perfectly well-meaning collaborator will break such … Continued

Don’t let version confusion destroy your writing process

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The most fundamental principle in writing is actually . . . version control? It’s an unwritten rule. Like changing your underwear every day. And if you violate it, you are a barbarian. This is the least sexy writing advice ever. But if you and your collaborators don’t share a common understanding of version control, you’re … Continued

Writing a book with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Drive

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I’ve been working on a collaborative book project with two other authors. On this project, I’m the principal writer; they are my clients. Here are a few things I learned about the superiority of Google Docs and Google Sheets for collaborative authoring. Using Google Drive for shared access to research My collaborators and I work … Continued

Collaborating on a book is a terrible idea. But if you must, be asymmetrical.

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Writing a book is hard enough. Adding another person makes it twice as hard. Collaboration only makes sense if it’s asymmetrical — if you have complementary skills and different jobs. I’ve written three books with coauthors, edited a few more, and am currently ghostwriting parts of books with other authors. Coauthoring sounds like it’s going … Continued