Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


How important are deadlines for a book writing project?

Dave, I've been slogging through writing a book for rather a long time now, and with various health issues and some technical glitches (I had my computer broken for a month, for example), I'm concerned that I won't be able to hit my delivery date for the manuscript. Did I mess up with my original schedule in the contract negotiation phase? Is this really a problem, or is the managing editor going to whine, but it's really not a big deal?

To answer this one, I thought it would be interesting to just ask a book publisher, so I forwarded your question along to Whil Hentzen, head of the boutique publisher Hentzenwerke. Here's what he had to say:

It's obviously helpful for you to have started with an accurate schedule in your negotiations, but the more important thing now that you're in the midst of your project is not the schedule you proposed, but that you meet the schedule. I can't stress this enough. (Particularly because I'm a software developer too, and I know exactly what the life is like....)

If you say you're going to have the book done by 10/1, have it done by 10/1, period. Your publisher will...