Of Deadlines and Betas

Ah, the deadline for my beta readers was today, and with only a couple of exceptions, they were all really great about getting back to me regarding comments and critiques or notice they would be unable to fulfill their beta duties.

I have a bit of a reputation about deadlines, and that’s because of the copy background. Well, that’s not strictly correct. I have been anal about time since I was late showing up out of the womb. (Sorry, Momma!) See, in my line of business, time is money.

Notice there is silver in this pile. I usually see more pennies than quarters.

Being self-employed, I have to set my own schedule. And while I’d rather schedule marathon viewings of “Firefly”, long bubble baths to soothe my aching back, or hour-long sessions of cat-skritching, unfortunately none of those pay my bills.

Sometimes very difficult to explain to my Cat Overlord.

So, instead of leading the life of luxurious sloth I so richly deserve, I find my boss is an absolute bitch about deadlines. I know people depend on my finished work in order to accomplish theirs. I also know one of the best ways to kill your writing career is to make a habit of missing deadlines. That’s not to say when I set someone else a deadline I don’t understand when Real Life happens and things are derailed — sure, it’s happened to me. But I think the key here is communication. If I don’t think I’m going to meet a hard deadline then I’m in touch with the client as soon as possible to communicate that. To me, it is the height of unprofessionalism to stick your head in the sand and pretend the train wreck is not going to happen.

Do I miss the mark? Sure I do, but not often. It’s a personal thing. I know writers who blow off deadlines like it just doesn’t matter. That irritates me. Either you’re a professional or not — and if you are, act like it. Just because you have thirty days doesn’t mean you leave it to the last one. That’s stupid, and in NettaLand, a hanging offense.

Yes. I will find you, and I will hang you. But first, you will suffer.

The moral of this little story — if you’re not going to make it, communicate that factoid. This gives everyone a chance to make changes and shuffle important activities around.


Now that little lecture is over, let’s talk about something more fun, shall we?

Mired as I have been in writing web copy, I am very excited to be putting on my editor’s hat in the next week or so. Not only will I be editing the fabulous Lori Whitwam’s Make or Break, I will also be starting edits on the equally fabulous Patti Larsen’s second book in her Diamond City Trilogy. I’m very excited about both projects and can’t wait to begin.

Even more exciting, with the notes I’ve received from my blessed betas, hopefully I will begin revisions on Athena’s Promise.

This is Zach Carter. He looks like how I feel! Only he's so much cuter!

I’m not setting a deadline (heh) because I never know what the next day is going to bring and I have a wedding in August which deserves my full attention.

Don't worry, it's not me. I'd stick one of these in my eye first.

But, my hope is to have Athena’s Promise ready for publication in September. Of course, updates here as they happen. 🙂

And of course, I couldn’t let you go without expressing my eternal gratefulness to my beta readers. It really takes a special person to be a good beta reader, and all of mine are GREAT. Their insightful, perceptive and honest observations have confirmed some thoughts I had and opened my eyes to places where Athena’s Promise needs a little help. Thanks to them, I can take Pallas and her story to the next level, and for that I can’t thank them enough.

I Love You Beta Readers! *MUAH*

7 thoughts on “Of Deadlines and Betas”

  1. Know what’s weird? Deadlines are a lot like weekend homework in high school. You have people who start on it the second they get home Friday, and it’s done before they go to bed. (This is not me) There are those who procrastinate, knowing how long it will probably take to do, and they get it in a little ahead of deadline. (Me.) There are the ones who will show up on Monday with a million reasons why it wasn’t done, and those who won’t bother at all.

    I’m SO excited to keep going on MoB. Really. Once I dive in, I’m in till I have to come up for air or sluffercate. 😉 I’m also excited to see how Athena’s Promise develops. It’s been hard-core from the beginning, and the thought that it can get even better boggles my mind!

    But, never fear. If I see some major plot problem or something that’s going to take me more time than I think, I’ll let you know Thursday at the latest. 🙂

    MUAH back atcha!

    1. My mom always said, do your work first, then you have the rest of the time to play. I can’t wait until the last minute, I’d drive myself crazy. Plus there’s the whole “if you miss the deadline you don’t get paid” thing.

      We talk every day, Lori, so I don’t see any problem with communication coming up. It’s the people that dick around until the last minute that really get my dander up. But, like I said, as long as there’s an open line of communication, it’s all good.

      I’m really excited about all the projects on my plate 🙂 I can’t wait. I’m so proud of MoB, I’m giddy. Heh.

  2. I honestly think 3-4 days of straight-out work, and a day to go back over it. If that ain’t it, you’ll be the first to know. But… I’m one of those who likes to review the project, see what it needs, then let it stew for a while. ‘Sall good, it’ll come together. I’m also a one-project writer. So once we get this in the can, I have some shorts, and Gold’s Fool, unless I decide to do the paranormal first. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see what else you do with Athena’s Promise. XO

    1. It was very valuable, T, and I really appreciate your time. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, because it was a blast to write! <3

  3. Great post, Netta, and I’m definitely on the same page with you about deadlines. It shows respect to the other person to do something when you say you’re going to do it. Plain and simple, I consider it proper manners which is very basic. Unfortunately not everyone feels that way.

    On a different note, congratulations on Athena’s Promise!. That must be super exciting.


    1. Exactly, Eden. I am far from perfect but I just hate missing deadlines unless there’s a catastrophic reason. When someone misses one of mine, it’s like being stood up on a date or something. Maybe I take them too seriously…but dat’s how I roll, yo. 😉

      Thanks! It is VERY exciting, and I can’t wait to get started on revisions. Or on book two. But, one step at a time. I’ll get there 🙂

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