Book: Netscape Navigator

Netscape Navigator is the book that wins the award for the most unrealistic deadline. It was strictly a technical how-to book, something I usually don’t do. I prefer more analytical types of writing. A colleague, John Stephens, got the original contract, and then discovered that the deadline was going to crush him. We shared a book agent, and through her, I came on board to co-author. Even though there were two of us, it was at or near the height of the tech book publishing boom, and the deadlines back then were terrible. We had about two and half weeks to complete the final submission when I came on board. The book was about a quarter complete at the time.

So, we both spent most of our life for the next two weeks writing and editing. I think I averaged about 3 hours of sleep a night. We were two days late on the deadline, and you would have thought it was the end of the world. Somehow, the publisher managed, and so did we. That time had strong hallmarks, quick turnaround deadlines being one of them. Even though the boom brought painful and unrealistic deadlines, it also had all the trappings of a heady bubble, and it made it an intriguing time to live through. — Pam Dixon