When an author makes a commitment to write a book, a whole array
of people go to work, technical editors, copy editors, graphic
artists and formatting experts.
When a chapter is late, it
throws-off their schedules and worst of all is when the print
plant has been scheduled to do your book and the manuscript is
Make sure that you choose dates that are realistic
and doable, as late books have dire consequences.
all, Rampant TechPress is severely punished by our distributor,
the Independent Publisher Group (IPG) and if your book is late,
both your sales and the reputation of Rampant TechPress suffers.
Here are excerpts
from the IPG documentation on our obligations as your publisher.
The book trade is indifferent to your
problems. Late titles will be severely
"Punished?" You may think this is
strangely personal word to use to describe the seemingly
impersonal way the book trade separates the sheep from the
goats. But let me explain why no other word will quite do:
The Sad History of a Late
Your rep, or your distributor's rep, sits
down with a bookstore buyer and pitches your book. The buyer
agrees to take some copies on the understanding that they will
show up on the pub date indicated in the catalog.
The pub date is an essential part of the
deal. In the larger stores and the chains, buyers have a more or
less fixed budget to spend each month for the acquisition of new
titles. When they agree to buy your book, they have allocated a
part of that budget. Down the line, their buying skills will be
evaluated by how well the books they have selected sell.
But your book does not show up when
promised, which means they have wasted some of their buying
budget. Their performance will be less than it might have been,
and therefore their chance for a raise or a bonus will suffer.
They take this threat to their income quite personally.
The publicity, however, is right on
schedule because you made your deal with the publicist months
ago and much of the best publicity requires a long lead-time.
The publicity starts to have an effect, and customers come into
the bookstores to get a copy. If you are lucky, someone at the
store will try to special-order your title, but since it is not
available from any wholesaler, it will not be found and the sale
will be lost.
This is bad, but it gets worse. The
customer concludes that the bookstore (not your publishing
company) is incompetent. How could a bookstore fail to have
copies of a book that has just been reviewed in the local press?
You have made the bookseller look like a fool to customers.
Booksellers take this personally.
As time goes by and the title does not
arrive, many of the stores who have bought it contact the rep or
distributor or wholesalers to find out when the title will be
available. These queries need to be answered. Many calls,
e-mails and faxes are exchanged (hundreds of them), but no one
is making any money.
"When will the book actually be in print?"
the publisher is asked repeatedly. Hearing the irritation in the
voices of the questioners, the publisher gulps and says "June
for sure!" which everyone knows is likely to be false: late
books just get later. People have been lied to, which they take
Finally the book is published. But by now
the advance sale has dwindled down because many purchase orders
expire if not filled by a certain date. The unexpired orders are
filled. Now the publisher says to the reps, "By the way, you
will need to reinstate all of those expired POs." But as there
is no button to push to reinstate orders, this means that the
reps responsible will have to resell the title to each of their
Frequently the title never will be resold.
Each rep carefully weighs the inevitable damage to their
credibility when they waste the time of a buyer by re-pitching a
title. They imagine raised eyebrows if they even bring up the
question of this overdue title. Is this title strong enough to
take the risk?
Do you want to remind the buyer that you
have wasted their time and budget and then waste some more? Reps
take their relationships with buyers, since they are essential
to their livelihood, very personally.