This week we welcome return guest and inspired collaborator J. Thorn to talk about his many collaborative projects, including his recent collaboration in his American Demon Hunters series with three other authors on a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans; The Author Copilot, his new coaching service for authors; and his two new podcasts!
J. Thorn is well known for his creative collaborative works. He has collaborated so far with J.F. Penn/Joanna Penn, Zach Bohannon, Glynn James, Sean Platt, Dan Padavona, T.W. Piperbrook, T.W. Brown, Michaelbrent Collings, Mainak Dhar, J.C. Eggleton, Stephen Knight, David J. Moody, J.R. Rain, Chad Lutzke, Bettina Melher, John L. Monk, Jim Heskett, and Lindsay Buroker. (Whew!)
One of his more recent collaborations took place on an overnight train from Chicago to New Orleans with three other intrepid authors…
“All aboard the 8.05pm from Chicago to New Orleans for 19 hours that will change their lives.”
So reads the description of American Demon Hunters: Sacrifice, the resulting supernatural thriller written by J. Thorn, Zach Bohannon, Lindsay Buroker, and J.F. Penn in just three weeks, starting in Chicago and ending in New Orleans. J. Thorn and his cohorts spent the train ride down from Chicago brainstorming the book’s concept, then the following week in New Orleans hammering out an outline and writing their respective characters (along with a bit of adventuring), and then another week of edit passes before it was ready for a professional edit, then up for sale on Amazon where it has garnered an impressive 4.7 stars with 53 reviews!
(To hear from all four authors about their experience writing together from Chicago to New Orleans, check out their interview on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast Episode #124.)
It was a tough process, Thorn admits, but it was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience that he and Zach enjoyed so much, they are considering putting together collaboration workshops in destination cities (with or without travel by train) where participants will join genre-specific groups and come away with a finished book at the end of it. (For more information, please visit The Author Copilot Retreat Sign-Up.)
Tips for Great Collaborations
For authors looking to create great collaborations, J. Thorn advises two key points:
- It’s important to establish one’s own writing voice before attempting a collaboration. Experience in one’s own craft will make the collaboration process easier and the process much more smoother.
- Seek out potential collaborators in the people you’ve already built relationships with. J. Thorn knew J.F. Penn for years before they did their first collaboration together.
While J. Thorn advises persistence — it took him three years of polite relentlessness to get approval to adapt a Clive Barker short story to video — he also counsels patience. Although he has participated in many, many successful collaborations, he points out that he’s also had eight failed collaborations. And that’s just part of the process, he says.
“No matter how badly you want a collaboration, you can’t force it. And if you feel yourself starting to force it, it’s probably not the right person or not the right time.”
Next Big Thing
More collaborations, of course! The third book of his dark fantasy dystopian series Dustfall with Glynn James just released last month; and this month, he and Zach Bohannon released Book 1 of their new post-apocalyptic thriller series Final Awakening.
Advice to New Authors
“My best advice to my younger self or to a new author is there’s no perfect time. I think we’re all guilty of saying like, well, when I just get to here, then I’ll be able to do this…and sometimes I think you have to force yourself to do things that you’re not quite ready for and that sometimes work out and sometimes they won’t. But if you sit back and you think, like, well at this point in my life, or when I’m making this much money, or when my kids are this old — like, if you’re waiting for that stuff, there’s always stuff that’s going to delay your starting, so just do it.”
Have any listeners out there published a collaborative work? If so, would you do it again? What was your favorite part about collaborating? What was the worst part?
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