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Hiding Won’t Help

Almost every author, at one time or another, struggles with getting her book in on time. It happens, but the absolute worst thing you can do is hide. When trouble arises you need communication more than ever. The minute you know you’re facing a missed deadline or having trouble of any kind, let your agent know. For some reason, too many authors go underground and refuse to answer email or phone from agents or editors. I think they get tunnel vision and decide if they work frantically to get things done no one will notice. Not true. When we don’t hear anything, and we know things are late, panic sets in and that only makes matters worse.

Jessica

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14 comments

  1. Life occasionally gets in the way and I've been up to a couple of weeks late on a few books over the years, but I definitely let my editor and agent know if it looks like I'll miss a deadline, even if it's only by a couple of days. Editors almost always build "wiggle room" into deadlines, but in this business a surprise at the last minute is never going to be welcome. It's not just the editor waiting on the book–it's the entire production staff who has a schedule determined by your story arriving on time.

    And authors need to learn to account for interruptions–copy edits and/or page proofs arriving when you've scheduled a few days of intense writing to finish the WIP, or as happened in my family, two deaths within days of one another which meant I was working on copy edits while my husband drove us to his mother's funeral.

    On the other hand, when you are diligent about meeting deadlines, the editor is going to be much better about accepting the occasional book not showing up on time, as long as she receives fair warning.

  2. Hiding tends to be an immature response to missed deadlines and difficult situations. I've always found communication to be more important when things are going badly than when everything is hunky-dory. Just my opinion.

  3. I think as long as you can explain lucidly to your editor/agent why you're going to be late, things will work out. It's when you disappear for a month and show up in Las Vegas gambling away your advance that things go south real fast.

  4. Sounds like my daughter who hides in the closet when it's time to clean her room. It only delays the inevitable and usually ends up with both of us grumpy and irritable. Communication and good time management habits start early peeps!

  5. Definitely! It's just unprofessional and a bit immature to hide out, especially since most situations can be resolved as long as all parties involved are informed of pertinent information. Plus, it puts unnecessary stress on the people waiting for the manuscript, who would otherwise accept the situation and work on something else in the meantime.

  6. Editors hide from authors, too. I've even heard instances where agents hide from authors. I know, shock of shocks. But it happens.

    Hiding is a bad thing. Lying is much better.

  7. AMEN!!! I used to work in the mortgage industry, and I became very frustrated with loan officers who dodged our clients' calls. The very best of them knew to call the client and address the situation right away. "Here's the situation, here are the steps we're taking to resolve it, and I promise I'll keep you posted." Our clients felt much more secure because they knew we were on their side. Lack of communication created space for them to imagine all kinds of dire situations.

    Uncomfortable conversations aren't like red wine — they do NOT get better with age.

  8. If I ever find myself in such a tigh situation, hiding would be the last thing on my mind. That's becuase I'm one of those crazy people WHO LOVES PRESSURE. ;D

    Don't get me wrong, it's not that I would purposely wait until the last two hours – I always give myself plenty of time. But hiding isn't any fun. Pushing yourself to write and knock it out of the park with a ticking clock in the background is an awesome motivator (at least…for me).

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