Indie Author Weekly

115: Co-writing a Xena substack (5 tips for your next co-writing project)

June 08, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 116
Indie Author Weekly
115: Co-writing a Xena substack (5 tips for your next co-writing project)
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever thought about co-writing a project with a friend? This episode of Indie Author Weekly features my brand-new project (a Xena: Warrior Princess rewatch substack called the GabStack), plus 5 tips for YOU to consider if you're entering into a co-writing project.  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN NOW to get 5 tips for your next co-writing project—and learn all about my new, very silly and delightful, super niche weekly Xena newsletter...   

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Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and the behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. I’m your host, Sagan Morrow (or @Saganlives on Twitter & Instagram), and I’m a productivity strategist and an author of polyamorous romcoms.

Now, have you ever thought about co-writing a project with someone else? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

For new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share a few tips if you want to co-write a substack (or, really any other project) with another person.

Some backstory: My sister and I have recently launched a substack where we rewatch Xena: Warrior Princess—yes, that epic 90s TV show featuring beloved icon Lucy Lawless. We watched it and were obsessed with the show as kids, but haven’t seen it since, so we’re rewatching the episodes and doing a commentary of it in a weekly newsletter, called the GabStack.

It is delightful and silly and you are going to love it! Check it out at New issues are released every Friday.

I’d LOVE to hear what you think of it—tag me, @Saganlives, on Twitter or Instagram to share your thoughts!

Okay! Now, if YOU want to co-write a project with someone else, whether it’s a substack or an article or a book or something else altogether, here are a few quick tips for you… 

Tip #1: Choose wisely about who your co-author will be.

I learned the hard way a few years back that just because you’re friends with someone, doesn’t mean you should go into business with them! And honestly, I think this applies to collaborations of all kinds. This isn’t as big of a deal if it’s a one-off project, like writing a single article or co-hosting a webinar together, but if you’re doing a longer-term project… such as co-writing a Xena substack with 7 seasons and 22+ episodes per season… then, you know, maybe think it through.

Frankly, I don’t think I’d co-write a newsletter like this with anyone, except for my sister. You might find that there are a lot of different people you’d be interested in collaborating with on something like this.

Tip #2: Outline your plans as clearly as possible upfront.

What is the purpose of this project? Is it for fun, for monetary gain, for positioning yourself as an expert, for adding to your portfolio, for reaching the widest viewership possible?

In our case, with co-writing the GabStack, it’s basically a chance for us to spend time together—especially because we can’t see each other in real life, since we’re separated geographically and there’s a pandemic going on. Writing this substack is pure entertainment for us, it’s a fun and creative outlet, and we’re sharing it with other people because it makes us laugh and brings us some joy—so maybe it’ll have that effect when you read it, too!

When you’re outlining your plans, it’s also a good idea to figure out the format of your project. For example, with the substack, my sister and I decided we wanted to each share our own thoughts on each episode, and to include two episodes for each weekly publication. Format, voice, and writing style are all things you might want to discuss at the beginning of your project.

Tip #3: Set expectations and divide roles.

Who will be responsible for doing what? Who will publish the work? Are you both contributing about the same amount? I know friends who have done co-writing projects together that ended up feeling frustrated with one another, or there was quite a bit of tension between them, because these expectations weren’t set in advance, or because one person didn’t carry their weight. Also, if there is any money involved, definitely get that sorted out and agreed upon in writing ahead of time—whether it involves expenses or income being made. 

In terms of delegating roles, my sister and I alternate who writes the episode recap, while we watch each episode of Xena. That way, we each get the chance to put our personal spin on it, and it gives the other person a break from doing it. We also work on shared Google docs so we always know exactly where we’re at with writing a given episode.

Tip #4: Create timelines.

Set deadlines for writing drafts, editing the project, and then publishing your work. In our case, with the Xena substack, we have a shared Google spreadsheet to document which episodes are going live, when, so that we know what we need to work on. 

This was also helpful for getting ourselves in gear to actually publish the first issue of the GabStack—we were talking about it for weeks until we finally said, “Okay, we need to set a launch date to just DO it, or else we’re going to still only be talking about it months from now.”

This type of thing is so important if you want to legit follow-through on your ideas! By the way, I have a free training that helps you follow through on goals, projects, and ideas of any kind—you can grab it at

Tip #5: Check in & have fun!

You’re in this together. Make sure you’re both on the same page about everything, and that you’re enjoying yourselves along the way. Working on a project with another person can be a huge headache and a disaster if you aren’t communicating or checking in with one another… or, it can be an absolute delight! 

With the GabStack, we have a great time with it… and again, because it’s a personal pet project rather than a business project, we’re pretty laissez faire about it. The entire purpose of it is to have fun, so we aren’t putting any pressure on ourselves about it. If we miss publishing an issue for a week, it won’t be a big deal. If one issue isn’t quite the same calibre of writing and hilarity as another issue, who cares? We’re enjoying ourselves and sharing that with the world so you can have a laugh when you read it each Friday. 

But I wanted to share these tips with you, because every co-writing project is going to be different. It’s important to take all of those things into consideration if you’re going into it from a business perspective, or with preconceived expectations, or if it’s someone you don’t know, and so on. It’s easy to look at something like the GabStack and think, “Oh, they’re having so much fun with this, that means that if I co-write a project with someone else, I’ll have the exact same experience.” You might! Absolutely. Just, you know, cross your t’s and dot your i’s, or at least think about those 5 tips before you agree to co-write with another person. 

To recap, those recommendations include: 

Tip #1: Choose wisely about who your co-author will be.

Tip #2: Outline your plans as clearly as possible upfront.

Tip #3: Set expectations and divide roles.

Tip #4: Create timelines.

Tip #5: Check in & have fun!

There you have it! A few quick tips for co-writing a project with another person. I hope this helps you have a blast with it.

And don’t forget to check out my Xena substack! You can read it at It’s a lot of fun and a very niche commentary/rewatch that I think you’ll get a kick out of.

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.