A bit of advice: do not try to do an ambitious book on a compressed schedule. If I didn’t have quite a few people helping on important aspects, it would be impossible, but even so, this take a ton of persistent effort.
To wit: all the chapters are in to the editor, I believe I have a month for edits, and like apparently pretty much everyone else, there is still a lot of dorking I need to do at various points (ie, need to divvy one over-long chapter into 2, most academic chapter still has my experts on my case re quite a few points, one chapter needs two arguments added, one chapter has an important section that needs further unpacking and rework, and then I need to look at the whole book and see how to clarify the main arguments across the chapters).
But in roughly a month, the text will not be “final” but major changes would be bad form. For instance, it gets sent out for a copy edit (which I do review) and a final proofreading. One chapter will be held open till the last minute, which is mid-October, for possible news impact, but the rest will be pretty locked down.
The reason for the insane-seeming lead time (book goes to galleys October 15, galley out in November, pub date early March) is the galley process and physical distribution. I was told the only way to compress the process was to skip galleys, which they recommended against, since it would hurt sales. (galleys are important for reviews in long-lead-time mags). And no joke, physical distribution is a month. The books get shipped the first week in February.
Considering all that, I believe in meeting deadlines, and although I did miss it, by the standards of publishing, it was not by much. The due date was Saturday Aug 1, and with that being a weekend and my editor being on holiday, that was the functional equivalent of start of business Aug 3. It went in less than 24 hours after that.
There is still a lot to do, but not as pressured as before, thank God. And the draft is much longer than called for (I guesstimate 130,000 words vs. 60,000 to 80,000 per contract), which I think was necessary given that I am making a big hairy argument. That may actually ruffle some feathers at the publisher, but my draft readers do not seem to mind the chapter length. In fact, the ones that have gone over the best are the longest ones. The prose is not flabby, so I don’t think they can lose more than 10% without cutting substance, and I (of course!) think the detail is important. Will be interesting to see how that goes.