Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Never Miss Deadlines!

I read a story yesterday that gives me even more motivation to meet deadlines when I get a publishing contract.  (Click the link to find out why Penguin is suing several of their authors for their advance... plus interest!)

I don't know how big this story is, and I have no idea what the outcome will be.  But as someone who works for a contract company (we are contracted by clients, they pay us and we do work), I'm actually offended by the lack of productivity from these writers.

I understand that writers, especially writers who have full time jobs alongside their writing careers, may miss deadlines.  But some of the authors named in the lawsuit are 9 years late on their books.  9 YEARS!

From what I remember (and I could be WAY off base, here), it's not uncommon for established authors to miss deadlines.  I don't know how the money situation works out for the authors (whether they forfeit some cash or not), but I do know it makes a lot of work for the authors, editors, and marketing department.  And they're not four or more years late!  I don't have a lot of conclusive evidence, but a story that stands out to me is Jim Butcher's Ghost Story.  They had a release date, a cover, and even a first-draft approval.  But something bothered Butcher and/or the editors.  As a result, Butcher (who said he didn't want to release a crappy book) delayed the release of Ghost Story.  And I'm sure it sucked for everyone, including the fans.  (I know I hated having to wait.)

Personally, I hate being late.  I ALWAYS want to be on time.  Or early.  And as a writer, I can't imagine getting paid to write a book that I won't write.  I'm not saying these authors intended to take money without producing a manuscript.  But at what point do you admit to the publisher that you're not going to be able to produce the book they paid for?  When do you renegotiate for, perhaps, a different book?  Or when do you just return the money with a sincere apology?

As an outsider, I clearly don't have any answers to those questions.  I don't know how it works when you have a contract and a paycheck.  I'd love to hear from those of you with more insider information, and I'm interested to see how this unfolds.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if it's something new to actually have a publisher go after the delinquent author...and if the same action would be taken against a bestselling author if he was a couple of years late. Interesting story.

    Giles, sometimes I can't leave a comment because of the Google word verification thingie you have activated. Here's a blog post from the A to Z Challenge you might want to read about that very thing. Do you Hate Google Word Verification as much as I do?