Honest to goodness, I do not know how journal and book editors do this on a regular basis. Of course this was my first time doing either, so of course, as that good old warmonger Donald Rumsfeld said, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” Here are things that I now know:
No matter what deadline you set, some first drafts will undoubtedly come late. This will occur for second, third, and final drafts as well.
An author will travel to an extra-dimensional space, where you cannot contact her through email, Facebook, Twitter, smoke signals, séances, or any other channel. That person will have to be replaced midstream.
In regard to the above, this is particularly problematic when the chapter is to be co-authored. As editor, you may have to step in and write to save the chapter, even though you aren’t really supposed.
Co-authored chapters are problematic. It adds an extra layer of communication, making coordination that much more difficult.
Proof pages will come at the most inconvenient of times: Memorial Day weekend, the dog days of summer, Labor Day weekend. It’s almost like they planned it that way to drive faculty cray-cray.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, set up your deadline dates for finalizing the book over the summer. You end up not having a summer.
Do not let the publisher tell you “We don’t like the title” the week the book is due to go to production. That is NOT a discussion you want to have at that point. It’s too damned angsty. Hammer that out early in the process.
Make sure you understand that sometimes (depending on what style you are using) you need both footnotes and a bibliography. That will come bite you in the ass.
Despite all this, I can’t wait to get my hands on the hard copies, and I’m ready to start again.