Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We’ve all heard about them. At least you have if you are familiar with the writing industry. DEADlines are those little things that are a big deal. Your editor gives you a deadline for a project so she can schedule copy editors, content editors, the printer, those in charge of cover art, etc. Do editors tack in some extra days in case the writer has a melt down and asks (read: begs) for more time? Probably, but I don’t advise living your writing life on the constant edge of every deadlines you are assigned. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth of your editor and, my friends, it's also the reason they're aren't called LIFElines.

Have I ever been late?



It will be my first and last time.

It was a simple accident, really. An oversight, but I was mortified. My editor emails me on the second of the month and asks, in a conversational tone, where’s your manuscript?


It was due. Yesterday.

It was? (freaking out now)

I grabbed my contract sure I had the correct date in mind (the 15th) only to find out I was wrong. Dead. Wrong. Total OOPS!

In my contract for my seventh book, there is a new penalty clause. For authors who are late they are applying a 10% penalty. I think it’s more than fair and am really surprised they haven’t explored doing this before.

What’s your take on deadlines? Do you think it’s fair for a publisher to penalize an author for going over deadline?


  1. Hmmm... Interesting post, Sandra!

    Right now the deadlines I'm dealing with are mostly homework/project deadlines and scholarship deadlines, so I don't have any experience *yet* with manuscript submission deadlines.

    I think that if there is a death in the family, illness, or some other important reason for missing deadlines, it would be nice to have some leniency. However, I think that in most cases a penalty would probably be fair, because, after all, when you sign a contract writing is pretty much your job! And an employer has to have some rules in order for the employee(s) to stay on top of things and not hurt the company.

    Thanks for letting us know about the penalty--it's a good thing for potential authors to be aware of. :)


  2. Everyone is familiar with deadlines. I guess I was inspired to write this simply because it's too easy to forget that an obligation is an obligation. Sure, the emergency situation can happen to delay your writing, but procrastination should not be the reason to ask for an extension. We have to be good stewards of our time.

    As you know, Amber, college is a great proving ground for learning about deadlines. It's too easy when you're at home to allow your parents to be your motivation, but when you're in college. . .it's all about *self*-motivation.

  3. Wow...I wasn't aware of this new clause, Sandra. Thanks for the interesting post.

    As for what I think about deadlines...honestly, I'm much more disciplined when I'm on a deadline. It's almost like I know I have to finish the job, and I've given my word, so I MAKE myself do what I need to in order to meet the obligation.

    Great reminder!


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