The question of how much authors can participate in the world of StartwithXML is a matter of legitimate debate. The skepticism about the subject, based on historical evidence, is certainly not unfounded.
But it isn’t like publishers aren’t already aware that how authors deliver to them matters! Poking around the Web for other reasons, I found instructions to prospective authors on the site of a publisher I didn’t previously know, <a href="http://possibilitypress.com/about/authors/default.html”>Possibility Press.
As you will see, this publisher instructs anonymous (prospective!) authors about the margins and fonts they should use in Word, and what naming conventions to employ when they save the files (in the specific way that Possibility directs.)
For publishers who have already taken steps like these, the move to StartwithXML will be more like a refinement of current techniques than a wholesale change of procedure. And even if compliance is not 100 percent, and it almost certainly is not, it would seem likely that the work of creating these instructions is saved many times over in reduced work processing the manuscripts at the publisher’s end.