Editor/Publisher Hypothetical

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Thread: Editor/Publisher Hypothetical

  1. #1

    Editor/Publisher Hypothetical

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm writing a script in which the protagonist is an author, and she's in the final stages of getting her book (a Herman Melville bio) published.

    However, the film is a suspense, and part of that is she needs to be under as much pressure as possible from her editor/publishing company.

    Question: Under which circumstances would an editor have her under the gun?

    Currently I have it that she needs to submit her final draft by the end of the week. However, I don't even know if that's done. Perhaps authors submit chapter by chapter(?)

    Also, would she be editing herself a bit before submitting? Or just researching/writng to the deadline??

    Please advise!

    Thank you!


  2. #2
    It depends on what the contract says. Publishers need to schedule their people to keep them busy. So if, for example, you submitted your manuscript and it's gone through the first pass of editing and come back to you for fixing, they expect you to return it in a timely fashion, because they expect a certain amount of up and back, and have scheduled future events, like inclusion in the catalog of things the sales people are going to be pushing to the book sellers, so meeting deadlines matters.

    Quite often a contract will have things in it about timely responses, with penalties for non-compliance. And if you're contracted for a series of books, and have been advanced money for the next one, they get fairly upset if it looks like you won't be meeting the deadline. That might be yor best scenario because if they're going to be asking for their money back, and the author has already spent it... But in general, why specify the reason? Call it a deadline, one that can't be missed. It's the effect of needing to meet the deadline that matters, not the details of why.

    And in general, for fiction, they want the whole thing at once, because in practical terms that's the only way. If you need to change a detail that comes early, because of something that shows up late, and the opening's already edited, they would get real testy at having to spend more money on something that should have been finished.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Thank you, Jay, this helps a great deal.

    I think you're right. There's no need to specify the terms of the deadline: just a deadline with serious unknown consequences. I just wanted to know approximately what publishing terms are like, before I wrote into the script.

    Also, I forgot to ask this, but would an author be on the phone a lot (with editor or agent) in the days leading up to a draft submission? Or would they just working away in solitude?

    Again, thanks. I really appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Call? I doubt it. For all of my contracts the sequence was to send them the requested manuscript. They told me who would edit it, and gave me a tentative schedule. All by email.

    The edited manuscript came back and I cried, because there were so many comment and change bubbles on each page that I wondered if I'd done anything right. Then I set to work and sent the repaired manuscript back.

    A week later I got the second edit back and the process was repeated. Less crying.

    Mostly, the third edit was easy and that was all.

    Finally, came the galleys for me to approve. In all, I only talked to them on the phone once or twice because they have the process down to a science. And in general, when they accept the manuscript you've probably made some suggested changes, of the, "I think we'll take it, but this is what I see as current problems. Fix them and we'll look again." So if they sign the contract, there's little to discuss.

    But that's just me, and I'm not a NYT best seller, so others may have different experiences.

  5. #5
    Thanks again, I'm glad I asked. That doesn't surprise me. The problem is, I would like to hold the fire to my protag's feet. My first inclination was to have a few "what's going on?" phone calls, but perhaps just getting an urgent email or two would work too, and be more authentic.

    Again, thanks for your comments, Jay.


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