Last year, my partner Eve and I wrote a book. It’s quite a massive book, weighing in north of 150,000 words. In it you will find our thoughts, ideas and experiences with polyamory–a rather complex subject, as you might imagine. It took an incredible amount of effort to write. I’m very proud of what we created (and if you haven’t checked it out already, I recommend it. But of course, I might be biased.)
We’ve received a lot of feedback about the book. Not just on Amazon, though 80 five-star reviews is kind of nice, but from people who’ve told us things like “your book changed my life” and “your book saved my relationship.”
Which is awesome. I think we’ve accomplished something amazing.
Since the book came out, there’s this thing that keeps happening. When people talk about it, as often as not they talk about “that book by Franklin Veaux.” Even though Eve’s voice and Eve’s ideas were absolutely essential to the book–in fact, it would not exist without her.
I started talking about the idea of writing a book in…oh, I don’t know, 2005 or so. I even went as far as to develop a content outline, a query letter, and a couple of sample chapters, which I shopped around to agents and publishers. Nobody was interested in it back then (though, ironically, I received a number of rejections that said, “We don’t want a polyamory how-to, but if you re-do it as a personal memoir we’d love to publish it. Hey, all you guys who wanted to publish a memoir but didn’t want to publish this book? Pthbth!)
That book, the one I wanted to write back then, was also called More Than Two.
The similarities between that book and the book Eve and I wrote end about there.
I dusted off the old content outline and query letter when we started this new writing venture, and we promptly junked all of it. The poly community has changed a lot in the last ten years. I have changed a lot in the last ten years.
But far more important than that, Eve thought the book needed a different focus, one less concerned with the specifics of polyamory and more focused on ethics, compassion, and the skills it takes to be a decent human being.
The book we wrote together is a lot more…well, human than the book I was going to write. There’s greater focus on self-work. There are personal stories in the book–mine, hers, and those of other people we talked to. (I have, in the past, written a great deal about my ideas about polyamory without talking about the personal experiences that led me there. Eve said she thought that was a weakness in my writing. I agree.) The book’s organization and arrangement are totally different.
And, ironically, the parts of the book that are most popular–the sections on ethics, communication, and self care, for example–are largely her creations. We each worked on every chapter of the book, but some chapters are more hers than mine, and some are more mine than hers. Much of the praise for the book focuses on the ideas she brought to it, even though people tend to edit her off the cover.
Co-creation is one of my love languages. When Eve came to me with the idea of working on a book together, I was absolutely delighted. We wrote it as co-equals. The book you read is not my ideas or my voice. It is our ideas and our voice. And it’s way, way better than the book I would have written alone.
To some extent, I suppose the fact that Eve tends to get edited off the cover, metaphorically speaking, is inevitable. When we started this journey, I was already more widely known than she was. My voice had greater reach.
But More Than Two is not my book. It’s our book. It’s totally reasonable that it annoys her when her contribution isn’t acknowledged, but it annoys me, too. I can’t take credit for it. It wouldn’t be what it is without her. And Eve deserves much greater recognition than she’s getting.
It’s totally not cool to have contributed to something awesome, and not be recognized for it. So Eve and I have created a new Twitter account, @mttbook, to be our social media contact for More Than Two. If you want to Tweet about the book, I urge you to use that Twitter account rather than mine.