St. Mary's Law Journal
Producing a book or article with co-authors is not an easy task. There are six potential issues one might consider before deciding to co-author a book or article. First, do you really want to be a co-author? Second, how many co-authors are going to be involved in the project? Having more than one co-author can make the departure of a co-author less of an issue, but each co-author needs to have a clearly defined role. Third, what role will each member of the team perform and what are those roles? Fourth, what should the co-author “marriage” look like? Multiple scenarios of a “marriage” are broken down and discussed. Fifth, what threats are there to the “marriage”? A structure needs to be formed and transparent anytime there are co-authors. Sixth, how would you dissolve the relationship? The relationship is much easier to dissolve when there is a clear path for how to handle the departure of one of the co-authors.
Authoring a work for publication is a difficult task by itself, adding other pieces to the puzzle can alleviate some issues while potentially creating others. Prospective co-authors must be proactive in answering the questions that will arise during the co-authoring process. Also, having a prenup is useful; a sample prenup is provided.
David A. Schlueter, The Co-Author Prenup, 44 St. Mary’s L.J. 451 (2012-2013).