In the twenty years I’ve been indexing and editing, many changes have occurred in the publishing industry, but the one that affects me the most on a weekly basis is the floating calendar. 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 and become much more unpredictable (ironically). Used to be when one of my clients told me that a book would be ready for proofreading or indexing, they were normally not more than a week off one way or another, but, no more. Books and manuals can be promised for delivery in February and not show up until May (or even later!).
One can try 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, but I have a couple of things in my back pocket that help with this issue.
First is that I request at least a two-week turnaround for longer projects like bigger books for editing or for any book indexing work. This way I have some flexibility if multiple clients’ schedules shift around, since it doesn’t normally take that long to actually do a single project.
The other tool I have up my sleeve is my partnership in Potomac Indexing. Although it’s been a great resource for me to get more work, PI has also to been a great backup for when my clients’ schedules go wonky on me. In addition to the other four partners, I also have access to the fifty-plus independent associates that the partnership calls on to cover specialized indexing fields (like legal or medical) and handle larger book or series projects.
On the whole, Potomac Indexing gives me the power of Yes, since I can guarantee the quality of the work while managing multiple, overlapping projects with shifting schedules. It is just so nice to be able to tell my keyword enhancement project client that, yes, I can accommodate the fourth delay in project start because of technical issues. I think I even heard her sigh of relief through the Internet ether. 😉
PI Picks of the Week
My editing/book indexing colleague and good friend from the far north of Scotland, Sara Donaldson, inspired the idea for this post with her advice this past spring on renegotiating with clients when publishing schedules shift. Her article is located here; check it out.
And now for something completely different: being able to share your highlights and annotations in ebooks. Joe Wikert has written a fascinating piece on the possibilities of actually adding to the author’s original creation. His article is here. Let me know what you think of this idea in the comments. 🙂