Hey all. For the past sixteen months or so, I’ve been working as a developmental editor for a fairly prolific (largely indie / self-published) author, let’s call her Sally Roe. For some of her older works, she’s received some negative reviews and she was unhappy herself with the books’ quality; that’s why she hired me to re-edit the books with her. She pulled them from the virtual shelves and we began the work nearly from scratch. As a very young author with no training, she’s needed a great deal of help in understanding character development and plot structure, as well as removing some highly derivative elements. (She was, um, rather influenced by Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter and a bunch of other fantasy works. There was a character in one book who looked exactly like Movie Arwen and was named Liv, for heaven’s sake.)
Anyway, for one of her fantasy book series (five books, originally aimed squarely at a middle-grade audience), I went beyond mere editing and was asked to help her with so many new ideas and even characters, elements that turned the books from low-rent Harry Potter to something quite special and emotionally gripping–uh, if I do say so myself–that Sally graciously asked me to co-author the reworked series with her, wanting me to do more of the writing and re-plotting/character work.
I agreed and the books are now moving from middle-grade to young adult / new adult, since some of the themes have turned more mature and we’ve gone darker and more psychological. (Angst is kinda my thing.) Because the books will have crossover appeal, at least I believe they will, we’ve comissioned two different cover editions: one for MG/early YA (her preference) and one that’s more suitable for YA/adults (my choice).
We’re working on a collaboration agreement now – yes, belatedly, feel free to smack me.
Anyway, here’s my question: All along, since the books were originally hers, we’ve been using the credits
SALLY ROE and
(Jane Doe being me, natch.)
Since we’re coming out with two editions of the books, however, we thought that it might be nice to swap the author credits for each edition. So the books aimed at the younger set would use the above credits, while the editions aimed for the YA/Adult crew would have my name first.
JANE DOE and
My question, after all this (I should’ve hired an editor for this post!) is: is this a terrible idea? Will it be confusing? The books will likely be sold exclusively online, if that matters at all. If there’s any problem about the swapped credits then obviously I’m fine with having her name first even though my name comes first alphabetically, dammit. After all, this was originally her playground–I’ve just removed all the safety hazards and litter and added tons of new grass, a petting zoo, a pool and lots of new rides so that everyone’ll want to hang out there now.
Any thoughts about whether this is a no-good, silly idea? Or does it not matter? As I said, I’m perfectly sanguine about having her name first if consistency is important. I’m just wondering if consistency is important. Ideas, please?