Meeting Deadlines with Your Editor
Life happens, and yes, it happens in the editing world–fairly often. Family crises, job crises, holidays, writer’s block … they can all get in the way of meeting promised deadlines.
Let’s say you were really motivated and writing 1,000 words a day on your manuscript. You’re 40,000 words in and you have 30,000 to go to wrap up your story. Simple math says you should have a draft ready to send to your editor in about a month. Cool.
You contact your editor and say, “Hey! Guess what? My book’s almost done. Can you slot a place for me starting Dec. 1?”
Your editor says, “Congrats! I do have room in my schedule, and I can save a space for you in my calendar. Thanks for giving me a heads-up!” Your editor then puts placeholders in her calendar for the expected arrival date of your manuscript as well as the anticipated deadline for completing the work. From that point on, when she takes on other work, she is mindful of the fact that she’s promised you a slot and she schedules other work around that commitment.
Then life happens. Your work gets delayed. You’re not going to make that Dec. 1 delivery date. What do you do? Contact your editor and tell her–with as much advance notice as possible. Remember, she’s held a spot open in her calendar for your project. You need to give her a chance to fill that slot with something else so that she can keep her business running smoothly.
She’ll understand. Life happens to her too. But she will really appreciate knowing about the delay, and the two of you can work on a mutually agreeable adjusted timetable.
On the other side of the fence, your editor also needs to let you know what her availability is. She should be up front with you about time she’s taking off work–whether it’s for vacation or other reasons–and when her schedule starts to fill up so that you can plan accordingly as well.
Communication is the key to all of this. Working with a professional editor is a professional undertaking. If you treat your editor and your relationship with professionalism, it will be a productive, beneficial relationship for both of you.