Using Technology to Write with a Partner + A Giveaway

tbs tour button


You know that I RARELY participate in blog tours if you are a regular reader of this blog but I am OBSESSED with These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (link is to my Save the Date — my review is to come next month!). It was such a wildly fun science fiction read SET IN SPACE and I really enjoyed it. I’ve read books that were co-authored before (mostly David Levithan’s stuff) and I’ve found the process fascinating — ie. David said he and Rachel Cohn would send each other emails with their chapter and then that person would write their chapter based on that).

So obviously when I read this I was curious about their process and I’m so excited to have Amie and Meagan on the blog today to talk about how they use technology to write with a partner! I think it’s an interesting topic both for readers AND for writers who might be interested in going that route. Really, it’s interesting even for any other sort of collaborative project you may be doing!


Blog Tour 3


Living on two different continents has its advantages, but is also means we have to be creative when it comes to writing together. These Broken Stars was plotted together in our living room in Australia, but once Meg moved back to America, we had to come up with some smart ways to make technology work for us.

With our timezones pretty much the opposite of each other, we always email the manuscript to the other before we go to bed. That way when we wake up the next morning to take it back, it’s like magical elves wrote a new chapter overnight! It’s always so exciting to see what that new chapter looks like!

Here’s the nitty-gritty on how we use technology to get our work done:

Google Hangouts

Oh, we’d be in so much trouble without the ability to video chat! We both type over 100 words per minute, but our brains still race faster than our fingers can type! Especially when it comes to brainstorming, it’s great to be able to jump on video chat and just talk it out. It means we can both see when the other is pausing to think and give them room, and allows us to jump around. We’ve learned to write down what we decide, though, after managing to forget the final decision a few times!


Where would we be without our ability to talk and text? Viber’s a free app (and there are many others like it) that allows us to talk and text whenever we like, using just our data or our wifi. The texting is particularly handy—as Amie wakes up in the morning and gets to work, Meg might be heading off to make dinner. Texting means Amie can get stuck into the manuscript, and summon Meg back with a text message if we need to talk. Simple, but super effective.

In-Text Comments

Everybody uses comments and tracked changes, but after so long working together, we practically have our own language. From a blank comment highlighting one word (this indicates the word is a repeat of a word used earlier in the sentence – for example, the second use of “terrible” too close to the first) to long comment conversations, we make the comments work for us. Often whole conversations will happen inside one comment. Someone leaves a question, and the other person comes along and poses some suggestions for how the problem might be fixed, and then when the manuscript is handed over again, the conversation continues. We make sure one of us uses bolded text and the other doesn’t, so it’s easy to see where a conversation is happening. We’ll be honest: there are a lot of jokes in those comments as well. It’s hard to be professional ALL the time!

Google Docs

So. Valuable. These are a must for any collaborator. A google doc means everybody always has the most up-to-date version of the book, and it means you can both collaborate on the same document in real time. Very handy!

We hope this behind-the-scenes glimpse was interesting—just a small sample of the many technological tricks we have up our sleeves!


Thanks ladies! I’m also a huge fan of the Google docs in keeping The Broke and the Bookish organized as well as a similar text app to Viber– Whatsapp. You ladies sound like you have so much fun writing together!!

I highly recommend if you haven’t heard of this book! I am not a huge science fiction reader but I would HIGHLY recommend this to people who aren’t into it either.


These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are longtime friends and sometime flatmates who have traveled the world (but not yet the galaxy), covering every continent between them. They are sure outer space is only a matter of time. Meagan, who is also the author of the Skylark trilogy, currently lives in Asheville, NC, while Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Although they currently live apart, they are united by their love of space opera, road trips, and second breakfasts.

Visit the These Broken Stars website for the latest news on the series and follow the authors on Twitter at @AmieKaufman and @MeaganSpooner. You may also sign up for their newsletter as well! These Broken Stars will be available in North America on December 10, 2013.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour:

Monday, 11/11            The Midnight Garden
World-Building for the Future

Tuesday, 11/12            Love is Not a Triangle
Author Interview

Wednesday, 11/13     The Perpetual Page-Turner
Using Technology to Write with a Partner

Thursday, 11/14           Good Books and Good Wine
Audiobook Sample + Narrator Interview

Friday, 11/15                The Starry-Eyed Revue
Character Interview with Tarver

Monday, 11/18             Cuddlebuggery

Author Interview

Tuesday, 11/19            Books With Bite
Amie & Meg’s Favorite Things

Wednesday, 11/20       Xpresso Reads
Establishing Characters with Role-Playing
Thursday, 11/21           Great Imaginations
Co-Authoring Books

Friday, 11/22                Nawanda Files
Lilac’s Gorgeous Dress: A Look at These Broken Stars’ Cover Art

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I was so interested in learning about how people co-author books! <3 Love this blog, and the giveaway!

  2. I remember reading your review and feeling really intrigued by this. Excited for this! (But trying not to keep too high of expectations – it’s a delicate balance.)

  3. This book sounds awesome. And the cover is so pretty! Great post and awesome giveaway 🙂

  4. I adore Science Fiction and have been excited about this novel’s release ever since I first learned of it, but your Save The Date feature is definitely what solidified it for me 😀 The setting is undeniably unique and the description of Lilac and Tarver, both as individuals as well as their relationship, has me completely smitten. The wait until its publication on December 10th seems interminable!

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a while but I think this is the first time I’ve commented 🙂 Anyway, this sounded so good to me the first time I heard about it! I can’t wait to read this–I love sci-fi and I love that it was written by two ladies across the world from each other–can’t wait to see what that looks like in the book!

  6. Great giveaway and the cover is so amazing!

  7. This book has been quickly rising up my TBR list as I read more and more brilliant reviews about it!
    Really interesting post, thanks for the insight into co-writing. I have always been curious 🙂

  8. I could not live without technology to (a) do my job (I’m a high school secretary. Everything’s online. We became a Google school this summer, and I am continually finding ways to make better use of Google Calendar and Google Docs and etc…). or (b) my life: I love my iPad so much, I wanted to marry it. Now, I have an iPhone, too, finally, and….yeah. I’m a happy girl with my tech. 🙂

  9. This is super interesting! I’m always curious how co-authors do it. I think every team is different. Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia take turns. One writes the first draft and the other revises. Then for the next book in the series they switch. It’s always interesting to see peoples’ process. 🙂 And this book sounds amazing. I have an eARC and can’t wait to dive into it!

  10. I’m normally not such a fan of technology, but boy am I glad it came along so that this beautiful thing could be written! I can’t wait!

    I’m a librarian’s assistant so I don’t have much technology interaction with my job, but the librarians do. The library would die with computers and scanners.

  11. AHHH, I’m so glad to hear you are as obsessed with the book as I am. I can’t stop talking about and I can’t wait for everyone else to do the same.

    Here’s my review (I couldn’t wait until December to post it:

    This was a great post, because I often wonder how two authors work together so seamlessly. Sometimes it can make a book choppy, but in this book I think it made it even better. I could not tell by the words that it was written by two authors, but I can tell by the ideas and the imagery — they definitely used the other as a sounding board to make sure everything sounded and was the best it could be. Kudos to these two!

    Thank you for the post (and the giveaway!) and glad to know another TBS fangirl! 🙂

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this! I just finished a book by two authors last night and I was wondering how they managed to create a work so seamlessly. I can’t wait to read this…these two look like so much fun, and the story sounds amazing! Thank you so much for the giveaway 🙂

  13. I have this galley and it’s coming up really soon on my reading list!!! I love sci fi stuff, so when I saw it on Netgalley, I requested it immediately. Very excited for this one, and even more so now that I see you liked it. 🙂

    I did not realize it was co written. that is awesome, and I loved all the details on how they made it work for them. Very cool. 🙂

  14. I couldn’t live w/out my computer for writing. I am NOT a fan of writing long hand. Too messy and hand-crampy, lol! Excited for These Broken Stars, I’ve heard so many good things about it.

  15. I’m a recent sci-fi convert—and this seems much more intriguing than lots of the “boy sci-fi” my husband keeps trying to make me read!

  16. It’s so interesting to hear about how Meagan and Amie collaborate from different continents! I use most of their methods to communicate with family and friends back in the Philippines, which is pretty cool. I can’t wait to read These Broken Stars!

  17. How interesting! Who would believe that you could collaborate on a book from halfway across the world!

  18. We use Google Docs for our blog, too–a necessity when there are four of us! It’s especially helpful in planning out who’s doing what, and for readalong posts. I hadn’t even thought about any of the other options Meg and Amie mentioned, but it sounds like this method totally works for them. I love that they seem to have such a great time working together!

    Thanks for joining the tour, Jamie–I can’t wait for everyone to be able to read this book!

  19. Ohhh my gosh! I have been DYING to read this. I’m so excited! Thanks (:

  20. Thanks for bringing us this post, Jamie!

    Technology is essential for my “real” work and blogging. Google docs is such a lifesaver. I tend to write in short bursts anyway, and now the keyboard on my laptop is shot so I’m doing a lot of dictating with the app on my phone and writing on my lunch break.

  21. I would definitely not be able to live without technology to do my job, it relies solely on technology, without it I wouldn’t have a job.

  22. I don’t think I could live without technology. I use it for everything especially to write and go on the internet! I need Facetime and iMessage to talk to my BFF when we’re writing our story. It’s an essential part of living for me.

  23. My work is school right now and I need technology to write papers and all that fun stuff. But I also write for myself when I’m not busy with that, and while I guess I could write by hand… that’s just not the way I prefer to do things. 😛 So no, I don’t think I could live without technology for those purposes.

  24. I keep hearing such great things about this book. I didn’t realize it was cowritten, but that miss it all the more intriguing.

  25. I cannot wait to read this! And I love hearing about how coauthors write. It’s always fascinated me.

  26. Very cool look at how to write when separated by continents! I usually enjoy the co-written books I’ve read.

  27. I definitely don’t think I could study to be a scientist without technology, we can do so much more research with new advances!

  28. As a fiction writer/journalist, there’s no way I could live without my computer, phone, or Kindle Fire. I use all of those items daily for nearly everything I do.

  29. Maybe this is what I need a co author to keep me on track… I have a great plan for a book, just can’t seem to get it written….

  30. I really enjoyed this book! I loved the world, and the twists and turns were just crazy!

  31. This was so cool to read. As I read TBS I was thinking about all the time and hard work that clearly went into crafting it, because it was AMAZING. So I really liked learning the different ways Meg and Amie use technology to their benefit. Gah. I just can’t get over how great their book was.

  32. I love that this book was written by two people. I’ve only heard great things about it and December can’t get here fast enough!!!!

  33. God I’m so ready to read this book already!!! Give me one!! Haha I don’t think a can live without technology!! I can maybe make to 3 days if I HAD to.

  34. Michele Piedrahita says:

    I love reading and getting myself lost in an amazing tale especially if its romance! I’m an avid reader but also an artist. If i were to write a book, no I don’t think i would have been able to do it with out technology. What you two have been able to accomplish is truly inspiring. Please continue to weave worlds with your words.

  35. Bonnie Hilligoss says:

    I’ve wanted to read this book ever since the beautiful cover first drew me in. It has all the different aspects that I love to read about. Thank you for the chance to win a copy!!

  36. Thanks for the contest, Jamie! LOVE THIS POST.

  37. Sophia Rose says:

    I love creative world building and romance so I’ll definitely be reading this one. Interesting how technology allowed two people far from each other to team write a story. I’m parts ignorant and parts necessity when it comes to technology in my job and life.

  38. I don’t think I could NOT use technology. My job requires me to use a statistical package. I wouldn’t even see the point of going to work if I could not use technology. LOL

  39. I was really disappointed I couldn’t take part in this blog tour. It seemed almost like it was only for the bigger blogs unfortunately. But I absolutely loved this post! it was such an interesting topic. This was one of my favourite books of this year.

    Thanks Jamie!

  40. Yea, since I work in the publishing industry, there is no way I could live without technology. I wouldn’t get anything done if everything resorted back to using the post office. Getting a manuscript would take longer, then the edits, and it would be five years before we had a polished MS. I’m so thankful for email, lol.

  41. I would be so lost without technology – and it pains me greatly to say that. Our internet was down at work for about two days and it was the longest two days ever. How awful is that?! At the same time, I try to cut back on how much I use technology. You know. Get out there in the world. Except in the winter. Then I stay inside. All the time (not really, but really).

    I think it’s pretty neat that they were able to use all these technology “cheats” to their advantage to help them co-write their author. I also love that “elves” typed up chapters in the middle of the night. I’m pretty sure I’d feel like that too if I woke up and my book was magically longer.

  42. Katiria Rodriguez says:

    I am really excited and I’ve been dying too get my hands for this book because I never read a book about in space before and about two totally strangers stuck in a planet it looks and sounds awesome! and I could not live without using technology for my job or creative endeavors I would just go crazy if I don’t have any technology with me Thanks for the great giveaway!

  43. This is really interesting!
    The series looks amazing, love the cover 🙂

  44. Holly Anne says:

    I don’t think I would be able to function with technology. With new devices and such, it’s so much easier to communicate with people outisde of my area. I find it very helpful for school. I use a variety of apps to help me organize my school work.

    Writing a book together must have been so much fun. Daily videochats! Aah! Can’t wait for this to be released. Great intereview!

  45. Morgan Faufaw says:

    I love technology and am excited by the new and advancing tools we have but I do miss a time when things were simpler and we went to library or a bookstore and spent time just discovering things. I love just holding my books in my hand not always using an e-reader, although it is nice for vacation.
    I have been wanting to read this book, it looks truly amazing! It has been on my to read list on Goodreads for awhile. Thank you for the amazing giveaway!!!

  46. I don’t think I could do my job without technology. All of our files for the insurance claims are uploaded to a system that everyone in the office has access to. I think if we had to go back to processing claims on paper we wouldn’t be able to work as fast.

  47. Nope, absolutely not! I need my technology 🙂

  48. I couldn’t live without technology in my job… But then again, I’m in software dev, so that’s not really a difficult call!

  49. This book has been on my goodreads list for about a year now i am so glad it is finally being released

  50. This book was SO good! As a blogger, I have to say, no, I couldn’t live without technology. I need my internet!

  51. Very intriguing to see how authors actually co-author a book. I love google docs and I think it’d be the best way to do so (: And I’m actually quite technology dependent, especially when it comes to projects

    Thanks for doing this giveaway! <33

  52. I can’t imagine life without technology because it’s such an integral part of my education and my main means of communication. I would fail college if I didn’t have a computer to type my research papers. Wow though, I look forward to reading this epic love story after my finals are over!!

  53. Jaime Lester says:

    I had no idea these authors were writing a book together being so very far away from each other! An amazing feat by any standards, this just makes it more so!


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