Don’t Let Your Books Be Late: What the Penalties Are and How to Stay on Schedule

November 2004
by Curt Matthews

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So what if a book isn’t ready when the catalog said it would be? You know authors. They promise to deliver the manuscript on a certain date and then deliver it 6 months, 12 months later. Someone died, the dog ate the manuscript, the file disappeared from the computer.

And when the text finally arrives, it’s a mess. Authors who think they’re designers send files loaded with fancy formatting that has to be taken out–a time-consuming process–and then the writing itself is a disaster. And I’m an independent publisher with limited resources. Pulling an incompetent manuscript together can take months of unexpected editorial work.

Designers, proofreaders, indexers all take on more work than they can finish on time and leave me holding the bag. And printers. You know about printers. A bigger job than yours shows up, and you are blown off the press.

So there will always be late titles. The book trade will just have to understand the daunting challenges that independent presses face and make the necessary accommodations.

If you are a publisher who agrees with this statement, and if you rely to any significant extent on selling books into retail bookstores, you may soon be pushed toward a career change.

In fact, the book trade is indifferent to any and all problems that cause your titles to be late. No matter what the explanation, late titles will be severely punished.

Punished? You may think this is a strangely…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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