My editorial colleague and good friend from the far north of Scotland, Sara Donaldson has some great advice on renegotiating with clients when publishing schedules shift. Her article is located here; check it out.
It’s Gotten Crazy Out There!
In the almost twenty-five years I’ve been providing publishing services like editing, indexing, and book design, many changes have occurred in the publishing industry. The one that affects me the most on a weekly basis is the floating calendar that Sara writes about. In spite of (or perhaps because of) fancy book design software and instant emailing of manuscript copy, the timeline for publishing books seems to have stretched out or at least become more unpredictable. Used to be when one of my traditional publisher clients told me that a book would be ready for proofreading or indexing, they were not more than a week off. Now they promise books and manuals for delivery in February and they don’t show up until May (or later!).
And the self-publishing business has made things even more chaotic, although most self-publishing authors are more flexible about deadlines than traditional publishers.
Finding Sane Scheduling Boundaries
Sara talks about renegotiating rates or due dates (or just working the extra hours) in order to accommodate clients’ shifting schedules. I’ve done those things plenty of times. I do request at least a two-week turnaround for almost all projects these days. This way I have some flexibility if multiple clients’ schedules shift around, since it doesn’t normally take that long to do a single project.
As much as I’d like to accommodate my clients’ needs, I do need to set time boundaries to keep from overworking. Managing client expectations with an appropriate turnaround window and charging extra for rush projects keeps my sanity intact. I also have great colleagues I can share long projects with or refer projects to when things get crazy.
I’d be interested to know how you manage your work schedule if you are a freelancer. Let me know in the comments!