Compete or Collaborate?

I often suggest that entrepreneurs, coaches, writers and other “free agents” find ways to work together. It enables them to take advantage of the power of collaboration, reduces the loneliness of working solo, is more fun and frequently provides greater opportunities than one would have alone. It has certainly worked that way for me on many occasions.

Our fearless blogathon leader, Jackie Dishner, is once again setting a great example – she’s off collaborating today and tomorrow with two other writers!

FRIDAY/SATURDAY, JAN. 22-23. The Authors & Adventurers (Christine Bailey, Teresa Bitler and Jackie Dishner) will be in Sedona at Sedona Rouge, presenting a travel talk and signing books. Come help us celebrate the new year, while we offer you some new travel ideas. Details here

I asked Jackie a few questions and included my thoughts (in italics) on lessons we can learn from her.

Debbie: Some people might think it odd for an author with a brand new book on travel in Arizona to seek out two other authors of Arizona travel books. Aren’t they competitors?

Jackie:  We don’t see ourselves as competitors. Each of our books has a different focus. We think they complement each other. And that makes the collaborative approach work so well. Because we each have different personalities, interests and skills, we work well together. We manage to break up the duties fairly easily. Who can do this? Or, who can do that? It just seems to work.

The power of collaboration is in bringing our different skill sets and perspectives to the task at hand.

Jackie: Now we’re even getting some press. The Arizona Republic is going to do a story on our team. That’s very cool. Watch for a story about us in the newspaper in early February.

Combining forces can lead to bigger opportunities.

Debbie: How did you meet each other?

Jackie:  We are all published by a small publishing house called Countryman Press, a subsidiary of W.W. Norton. I met one of the authors (Teresa Bitler) several years ago, when she was researching her book. I was thinking of starting a writers’ group, and she was interested in joining. It didn’t pan out, as I just got too busy.

Don’t give up if your first idea doesn’t fly.

Jackie: But then I met the other author (Christine Bailey) at a book fair in Scottsdale. They were both, at the time, working together to promote their books. But they didn’t know quite how to do it. Publishers do not offer much help on this end, I’m afraid. So they just showed up at a few signings together. They didn’t even have a blog then.

I bought their books at this festival and took their business cards. Soon after, I wrote about them on my travel blog The Phoenix Traveler. At the time, I was writing about things to do in Phoenix and statewide for

Keep in touch and  look for ways to connect.

A year later, after my book was released, our acquisitions editor suggested that the three of us could work together.

Be open to suggestions.

The first thing I wanted to do was a signing at the downtown Phoenix Visitor Center, so I walked in and asked how that was possible. I was referred to the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitor Bureau, made an appointment, invited the other two authors to join me, and after that, things just started happening.

Ask for what you want.

We joined the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau as the Arizona Authors & Adventurers.

Joining together can provide economical access to opportunities.

We had our signing at the downtown Phoenix Visitor Center. We had the next signing at Press, a coffee shop at CityNorth, and now the Sedona event. That happened because I answered a request for help on LinkedIn.

Be open to and look for opportunities everywhere.

With each event we do, we are finding out more and more ways we can work together to help promote Arizona and our books. We even managed to get a job writing an iPhone travel application together. And now we have a blog together.

We don’t want to just sign books. We want to do Travel Talks, like what we’re doing in Sedona. That’s our goal—to help people learn what’s out there and what they might be missing.

You may be able to create services that didn’t even exist before!

One thing I’d add about our group is this: it happened because all three of us were willing to say yes. None of us knew each other that well. So we had to have some trust in the process to turn it into action. We do think about what’s next, or what could be next and we discuss it. When an opportunity comes before us that looks like it might work best if we did it together, that’s when we call the others up and ask, “Do you want to do this?” And we also do our own things (speaking, writing, etc.).

You don’t have to collaborate on everything – or collaborate with the same people all the time.

We’re finding success together–and it sure makes the process more fun.

Collaboration can be fun and effective!

Debbie: Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your story and inspiring us all to find great ways to collaborate.

The Sedona event is sold out! We can watch for future events for Jackie Dishner at her blog and for events with the Arizona Authors & Adventurers at their brand new blog


Collaborators Jackie Dishner, Christine Bailey, and Teresa Bitler

3 responses to “Compete or Collaborate?

  1. Wow! Thanks for this. It makes us look like superstars!

  2. Thanks, Debra, for the great PR!

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