Should I Kill This Project?

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June 2011
by Marion Gropen

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Should I Kill This Project?

by Marion Gropen

If you’re in this business long enough, it will happen to you. You commit to publishing a manuscript, perhaps before it is finished, and then you realize that you have made a horrible error. The book is either bad in itself, or the market has changed radically, and the chance of breaking even with the material as it stands is nil.

Now that the mistake has been made, what’s important is minimizing the total harm done. Many more people than the author and the publisher are affected by these decisions, including the owners of a company that is not owned by the publisher. But before you consider obligations to others, you need to evaluate the situation and your options.

These are the steps to take:

• Examine any changes in the market.

• Sort the elements of this project into those you can still change and those that are fixed. Look at the

impact of each change that seems feasible.

• Compare the likely bottom lines for the project if you kill it, if you revamp it in any of several ways,

and if you simply publish as is.

Responding to Conditions; Making Changes

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