Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Okay, so, one more pass to polish, and the book ms for The Ramal Extraction goes off to Ace. 

 The contract is still very much last-century–according to it, I'm supposed to provide a hard copy and an e-version–though my editor tells me not to bother with the print, it's all electronic nowadays. 

Actually, it has been for a while. I don't think I've printed out hard copy on the last few submissions I've done–all the Clancy stuff with Tekno was via electronic files, as was the Predator book for Dark Horse and the Indiana Jones and zombies novel. Recent pitches for this and that, all done over the wire. The preferred format seems to be Word™, though I have translators that will allow conversion into pretty much whatever. 

My editor, bless her, is very understanding. Even though the book is due now, pretty much any time during the month is okay with her. 

Next one is due in September, and if I don't dawdle, I should be able to get one of the Matador e-titles done before I have to start on the next Cutter's Wars. Two books in eight months shouldn't be a problem, since I have a quarter of Churl drafted.

Of course, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions ...


Shady_Grady said...

How does that work Steve? Are editors/publishers more understanding once a writer has made a name for himself? Is there a "real" drop dead date beyond which things get unpleasant?

Steve Perry said...

Most editors build a wiggle-factor into their deadlines most of the time. If they tell you they have to have the book in July, they pad that. So if you are running late and the book doesn't get in until August, they aren't late.

More than a few times, I have had editors tell me they absolutely-positively had to have a finished manuscript on their desk by July 1st. I burned my hands up to get it there -- only to have dead air for six weeks. When I called to ask what they thought of the book, they hadn't had a chance to get to it yet.
That disconnect led to admissions that there was a fudge-factor built into the scheduling.

This doesn't apply to hard deadlines for things like movie tie-ins, when the book has to be out when the movie hits the screens.

Once you get a reputation for being able to deliver a clean ms on-time, they tend to trust you a little more. If they absolutely do to have it by July, then you make sure they get it, but you don't go bugfuck trying to get it done six or eight weeks sooner if you don't have to. When you are talking about a short deadline, sometimes a few weeks can be critical. I've had to turn down work when I knew I couldn't get it done on time.

I missed one deadline by a few weeks when my first grandson was born; other than that, I get them in when they are due, and with some of the collaborations, that has been a problem because my co-writer has been slow.

I know writers who have been two years late on a nine month deadline and they still get work because their books sell well. That ain't me ...

Shady_Grady said...

Thanks. Very enlightening.