Cropped image of two people's hands at a table with coffees and pastry snacks, one person picking up their espresso while the other is writing in a notebook, possibly taking down an interview
Writing

Why You Might Want A Co-Author, And How To Find One

The other day someone on Twitter asked me how I’d found a co-author for Windows Forensics Cookbook and I realised it might make a good blog post.

I hadn’t planned on co-writing a book. I hadn’t even planned on writing a book about digital forensics, but the publishers who approached me really wanted me to. I said no several times before eventually saying yes on the condition that I could have a co-author to write it with me. 

There were two reasons why I insisted on a co-author. The first, and most important, was that the subject matter of Windows Forensics Cookbook was very technical, and I am not first and foremost a technical investigator. I can tech away with the rest of them, but it’s not where my main skillset lies, and although I knew we’d be bringing in a technical editor to check what I’d written, I wanted to make sure it was coherent in the first place. I also knew someone who had a more solid technical background would be able to deep-dive into some of the topics the book would cover in a way I couldn’t.

The second reason was that I didn’t think I had time to write a book, but I maybe had time to write half of one. As it happened, I got ill and was therefore very pleased that I had a co-author, because I don’t know whether we’d have managed to get it published last year otherwise.

Cropped image of two people's hands at a table with coffees and pastry snacks, one person picking up their espresso while the other is writing in a notebook, possibly taking down an interview

So, how did I find my co-author? I asked for one on Twitter. I can’t remember exactly what I tweeted, but it was something to do with having a digital forensics book deal and looking for someone to be co-author with me. I used the hashtags #digitalforensics and #dfir – two industry favourites – and also #amwriting, which is followed by a lot of writers and aspiring authors.

When people got back to me I looked through the responses and decided Oleg Skulkin sounded like a good bet. He was excellent to work with and I’m very glad I found him.

If you’d like to co-write a book I’d recommend Twitter as a place to find someone to help out, although you could also try talking to people in your industry via other channels. I’m in a number of Facebook groups for academics, and if I ever get around to writing a psychology or philosophy book I may ask for co-authors for those on Facebook.

If Twitter hadn’t worked out for Windows Forensics Cookbook I probably would have asked on LinkedIn, where I have a number of industry connections who may have been interested.

Email lists aren’t as popular as they used to be, but they do still exist for certain sectors, so if that’s the case with you then this may be another way to find someone to write a book with.

I’m sure one of the reasons I found a co-author so quickly and easily was that I already had a book deal agreed with a publisher, so if you haven’t done that yet it might be worth securing a book deal beforehand. Few people want to work for free!


Have you co-written a book? How did you find your co-author? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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