Beta and proof readers

User avatar
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:23 am
Platform: Mac
Location: Near Munich, Germany

Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:39 am Post

HI folks,
nice being back in here. Now, when I started writing some twenty years ago it was perfectly ok printing your manuscript and sending it to your beta/proof readers. I do wonder if it would be advisable to use a eBook format for the beta people.
And how do I get their notes back? I tried it once with iBooks and Kindle and while I could very easily mark portions of texts and adding comments, I wonder how I can read other peoples comments. At least in iBooks I can export my comments in to an email and get them there, which works but is somewhat awkward.

Maybe exporting it to word and ask for comments there? Any advice is greatly appreciated..
There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can't...

Posts: 726
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Maine

Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:14 am Post

The standard method in publishing is to send a Word file (or some compatible substitute; I use Pages, which reads/writes .docx just fine), and ask your beta readers to use marginal comments.

User avatar
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:23 am
Platform: Mac
Location: Near Munich, Germany

Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:35 am Post

Thank you for the answer. Beta reading a book in Word or Pages would be some kind of torture for me. It works for proof reading.

I do wonder if it might be feasible to have a eBook for beta reading.

As far as I can tell it is quite simple if all your readers have a Mac and some iOS device, since both comments and markings are embedded in the ePub file. Just create a personalized ePub for each of your beta readers and let them email it back to you.

For Kindle devices, this is quite another story. Marking on a touchscreen-kindle is quite easy, and markings can be send (via email) from an iPhone (I strongly suspect the same is true for Android). Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to send notes or marks from a Kindle directly. Also, it seems that the desktop Kindle app doesn't sync with the devices for personal documents (i.e. anything which isn't bought from Amazon).
There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can't...

User avatar
Posts: 21815
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Santiago de Compostela, Galiza

Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:59 pm Post

Kindle readers are pretty good in that they keep a log file of all annotations. They mark down the highlighted passage and any remarks attached to the highlight, in a “My Clippings” plain .txt file that can be dropped into Scrivener and used to cross-reference with the original text. Unfortunately Kindle for iOS is bereft of such usefulness, as is their desktop program.

I don’t know if anything along these lines is really good for reader feedback though. In theory it should be the perfect platform, but in practice, current development is mainly geared toward personal annotation or development. I don’t know of a good reader made for the writing process itself, that doesn’t require some level of HTML skill to annotated the book.

As unwieldy as the format is, PDF may still be the best solution. Everyone can open a PDF, and nearly every PDF viewer as some basic level of annotation built into it.

Oh, it’s rather beside the point, and maybe not something you’d want to include in reader copies, but for your own proofing there is a neat new tool in the general options tab of the compile overview screen to insert links back to the Scrivener project for each text chunk. While an annotation made in a PDF viewer might not link back to the precise sentence, you can at least get to the section it came from with a click—so long as you’re on the same machine the project is located on.


Everyone else will just get a “link type not recognised” message, or if they are Scrivener users, a “project not found” message.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles