Publisher Deadline Vs. My Deadline

I’ve been lucky over the last couple of years, because I’ve gotten most of my writing published. A steady stream of my short stories have been published in anthologies and my longer works (mostly published by me through Rymfire Books) are available.

But I’m not happy simply putting my novellas out myself and short stories in other publisher’s anthologies. I’ve also submitted 3 novellas and 2 novels out recently to other small-press publishers, in the hope of building my audience, working with some new people and having new readers find my work.

One of those novels is currently being worked on by a major small-press publisher, one I’m very excited to be working with. Of course, working with a professional organization and professional editor means upping your game. Right before New Year’s I had a deadline to suddenly write 25k in 5 days, which I did. I’ve since had several smaller rewrites, and the novel is coming along nicely.

The problem for me? I just successfully finished another deadline and I’m feeling great about the direction the book is taking. The editor is excited and the book will end up being 100% better than the first vision. But…

My other stories have been sitting on the backburner, and there are no actual deadlines to finish them. Sure, a couple of the short stories need to be finished, but if you read this blog you know I do it last-minute anyway.

The novellas I’m going to be publishing through Rymfire Books, especially the Dying Days upcoming releases, have no rush on them and no set deadlines. Heck, even if they had a deadline it would be of my own making.

I’m starting to see my problem. I can set any date I want, but there’s no repercussions if I miss a deadline because I’m ultimately the publisher. Same with missing an anthology deadline: oh, well, another one will come up. I’ve hit most of the anthologies I’ve set out to write for, but know in the back of my mind if the story isn’t done in time I can still finish it and maybe release it myself later or another anthology will surface.

Working with another publisher means that deadline has to be met or I won’t be working with that publisher anymore. I respond to that positively and hit the mark.

Do you have this problem, trying to set your own deadlines?

15 Responses to “Publisher Deadline Vs. My Deadline”

  1. Personally, I work better when I have a deadline. All of my work so far has been released by a publishing house and when I have a deadline it forces me to focus on “getting it done”. Even though the deadline is generated by my desired release date – it gives me a hard and fast goal to shoot for. If I don’t have time limit, I will surely take my time which usually means stuff just doesn’t get done.

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    • Yeah, today I have a dozen projects staring at me but I have no set time limit on any of them and none of them are a priority, which is frustrating…nothing is jumping up at me to finish

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  2. So true. I work much quicker and more efficiently under pressure. With no specific deadline I get easily side-tracked by invitations, running errands, going out and enjoying the weather etc. It’s just not possible to put any tangible pressure on yourself – maybe author’s should get together for co-op publishing and mutual motivation! (That last bit sounded wrong!) x

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  3. I used to have this problem, but lately I’ve been more and more motivated by no longer having to deal with the J-O-B. So, I’m being pretty brutal on myself, as much as I can.

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    • I’m not dealing with a job anymore, either… but this becomes the job, and I feel the need to crank out and sell as much as I can as often as I can…

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      • Hey Armand, upon re-reading my answer, it seems to imply I DON’T have a job. But, what I meant to say is I DO have a job — geez, I’m a writer and apparently can’t write clearly.

        Anyway, if you don’t mind me asking, how long did it take you to get to where you could do only writing and lose the job? And do you have a wife or kids, or is it just you? (I figure it’d be easier to roll the dice if you didn’t have a wife/kids, which thankfully I just have the former.)

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      • Stan, don’t make pretend you have a job now to make yourself feel better, lol… seriously, I got bumped from a great-paying retail management job in September and it was a struggle at first, but six months in I’m finally (finally!) to the point where I am making enough money to pay most of the bills and rent… but I write and promote myself 15 hours a day now… I am engaged and we have 4 kids between us… buy my book(s), lol…

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      • Oh, man, Armand! What a story?!

        So, it’s kind of like you got thrown in the deep end of the pool and that forced you to go all out. Wow. But, you know the crazy thing is — though I’m sure you’ve been through some serious, scary shit — but still, the crazy thing is I’ll bet this accelerated your success by probably at least two or three years. Would you say that’s true?

        And on my job, in some ways it’s the worst for a writer. First, I own my business, so I work WAY too much and even when I’m at home, my wife and I are often worried about it.

        Second, I do a lot of writing for my job — it’s a small weekly newspaper — so a lot of times I feel emotionally drained in the writing department by the time I get home. But, I’m going to handle this shit.

        I’ve got a secret weapon. I recently met this crazy dude online from Florida — he’s got a bald head, looks half nuts, and writes some bloody shit — and he’s going to show me how to make it.

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      • First, I will assume the sexy bald guy you mentioned (paraphrasing your words) is me… third, anyone who knows me knows I love talking shop and passing along the little secrets and successes that I have fallen into, and sixth… if you ever get time to chat on the phone I would be more than happy to pass along some ideas of what works for me.. need to write some of it down in a book and give it out…

        Armand

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  4. Deadlines are a strong motivator. I once worked this corporate job where they said they didn’t want to use the word ‘deadlines’ for work because it sounded too morbid, lol. They preferred ‘service commitment’. However, I think deadline says it all.

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  5. My brother and I have been talking about how the lack of deadlines are keeping us from being overly productive. Were still at the very beginning stages of getting our work out there, I’m just thrilled to get something in some anthologies right now. We have started doing a short story a month, every month we have to write a story, any length, and get it to each other for feedback and critiques. It’s just something to keep us motivated and getting stories together for submissions.

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    • Motivating one another might work… I’ve just begin the beginning stages of writing a story with another author, and I hope we can keep it going and motivate the other to keep it rolling.

      Armand

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  6. I’ll private message you.

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