Stephen Parrish posed an interesting question in the comments section of my previous post: Why would I deliver an unpolished manuscript?
New e-pub, Ravenous Romance calls for short stories. I submit If The Shoe Fits for their Sex & Shoes anthology. It is accepted. I am now in their author stable.
Later, same pub asks for ideas for novels. I pitch The Toast Bitches, a story about four women in a large media company.
They like the premise. When can I deliver chapters? Oops. I haven't started writing it yet. I ask for a couple of weeks and whip something up.
They like the three chapters. Here's a contract. When can I deliver the manuscript?
Like an idiot, I say December 15th. That should give me about two months for a 50K novel. Unexpectedly, a month-long ordeal turns my world upside down; I can't bring myself to write a hot, sexy novel. So I ask for an extension. They say, okay, no problem. They knew about the situation and are very understanding.
So, like an idiot, I only ask for an extra month when I should have asked for more time. Christmas happens, New Years. Afraid to ask for another extension and look like one of those 'difficult authors' people talk about, I work my ass off to deliver by deadline.
Lesson learned: Ask for WAY more than three months to deliver a manuscript contracted on spec.