Blogger: Rachel Kent
Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for an author to miss a deadline or to need an extension on a deadline. It is SO much better to get your book done on time, but if it does look like you aren’t going to make a deadline there are some things you need to keep in mind.
First, the minute you think you might not make your deadline, you need to contact your agent. Don’t wait until the week (or day) before the book is due to alert your agent. You should be giving at least a month’s notice, hopefully more. And be sure to alert your agent first, don’t go directly to the editor at the publishing house. You and your agent can figure out a plan and workable timeline and your agent will talk with the editor on your behalf.
You also need to make sure that missing deadlines isn’t becoming a habit for you. If you are always asking for extensions because of procrastination, the editor is less likely to want to grant you an extension when it is actually warranted because of an unexpected life circumstance–like a death in the family or the birth of a child. One of my best friends is an elementary school teacher and she gives the children in her class two passes each that they can turn in for bathroom emergencies and that is all they get for the year. Imagine that you have one or two passes TOTAL for deadline extensions. Don’t squander them.
Thirdly, getting an extension from the editor isn’t guaranteed. He/she might come back and say no. Make sure you are prepared for that situation, too. Be ready to clear your schedule and work late nights until your project is done.
And remember, sometimes a publishing house is on the fence about offering another contract to an author for a new idea because sales have been only so-so on the already-published project. An author who is a joy to work with and keeps deadlines is much more likely to get that new contract offer than an author who is also a joy to work with but is always pushing out the deadlines.
If you find that you are always needing more time to finish your books, be sure to factor this in on your next book contract. Talk with your agent about what really is a reasonable amount of time for you to write a book and make sure that the longer time is reflected in the next contract you sign.
What system to you use to keep yourself on schedule? How do you keep yourself motivated? How do you avoid procrastination?
Have a wonderful weekend!