Handling Deadlines During Illness or Other Natural Disasters

Question from a reader:

What would happen if I’d been hit by this series of infections and I had been under contract and facing deadlines? Obviously, sickness can’t always be foreseen, so how is illness covered within contract situations?

Most contracts and publishers allow for extensions in extenuating circumstances. Life happens and no one is immune to it. Everyone understands that. If you have any major (or minor) life event that might impact your deadlines the best thing to do is be as honest as possible as soon as possible. Talk with your agent first to set a plan. I usually advise my clients what date we should tell the editor by and that we, if possible, have a concrete date for when you’ll be able to submit rather than just saying you’ll be late.

What everyone really wants is a great book and if a little extra time is needed (and it doesn’t affect the publication date), that time is usually offered.

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One comment

  1. Life throws curveballs at everyone and my answer to the original poster would have been ‘they’ll understand – talk to your agent’. But (if I understand Jessica correctly) having 2 deadlines – one for you and your agent and then one for the publisher – would help reduce the stress those curveballs might cause. Great idea and one I’m going to remember (I can always set an earlier deadline for myself).

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