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Eldritch
07-07-2008, 07:02 AM
So after my umpteenth rewrite, I'm ready to hand my story over to my Beta readers. :snoopy:

I think I prefer to deliver it to them as a hard copy, but I'm wondering if sending it as an email attachment would be better.

Any thoughts on which method is better?

Karen Duvall
07-07-2008, 07:05 AM
I suggest you ask them which they prefer. Attachment would be better for you because of the printing expense, but not everyone likes to read on the computer screen. I know I can't do it. I have to have a hard copy when I beta.

Williebee
07-07-2008, 07:10 AM
Miss Karen is right, ask them.

In my case, I'd prefer the attachment, mostly because my handwriting stinks.

I use the comment features Word or OpenOffice or a pdf program to do my edits, that way, when I send it back, the author can read it. :)

Makai_Lightning
07-07-2008, 07:14 AM
Some people prefer to edit on the computer. I personally prefer that they don't. Reason number one for me is that I sometimes enlist the help of people who are either very busy or have things they care much more about than my writing. Giving them a hard copy gives them more incentive to read it, especially because they can take it with them and get comfortable. I, for myself, like to edit on something printed out occasionally, so I tell my betas to write stuff down and manually edit if they see something that needs a good fix. It's easier for me to search and find if it's printed out.

I have one friend who told me she'd beta if I sent her the file with my actual story. The reason she wants it is because she wants to change things on the screen herself. She also proclaims that her theory is; if people don't spot her edits, she did a good job and the original wording is obviously not missed. She will not show or explain what she changed. By the time I'd give anything to her, I'm fairly confident I'd notice the slightest change in anything, because I read over and edit very slowly, and go through things a ton of times. Even so, I'd prefer she didn't change things that way, because it causes about twice as much work for me. A hard copy is more easily lost, but hard copies have worked out best for me. I think it will depend more on who your betas are than anything else.

Alon
07-07-2008, 07:15 AM
Personally, I prefer email, but I'm less averse to reading on the screen than most.

The beta who prefers a printed copy can always print the file. It's still considerably faster than mailing a hard copy.

Matera the Mad
07-07-2008, 07:40 AM
I could do nothing with hard copy. My vision is permanently pharked. I need the ability to change fonts and zoom in. The first thing I do with a manuscript file is change the font from Times New Eyestrain or Courier Phew to something readable. Then I zoom it up to 150% or better.

If it was a PDF, I would have to extract the text and read it in a text editor (I do that with long Word cruff too).

Keyboard Hound
07-07-2008, 07:43 AM
I prefer to make suggestions on the screen. That way I can bold my comments so the writer can easily see suggested changes.

I cannot imagine going in and making changes to someone's writing in a way that they might not even notice. Whether the writer uses a suggested change should be entirely up to them.

Makai_Lightning
07-07-2008, 07:48 AM
I cannot imagine going in and making changes to someone's writing in a way that they might not even notice. Whether the writer uses a suggested change should be entirely up to them.
Hence is my great love for the hard copy. My friend can be good at catching things when I let her edit the hard copies of things, but she also writes in a different style than me and would tend to change that accordingly. >.< And half of my friends that beta my stuff seem to be computer illiterate. One of them showed me how to use a few functions, but other's know less than me.

Clearly I'm in the minority for loving the hard copy of things.

Use Her Name
07-07-2008, 09:30 AM
I like hard copy because you can make real editing marks. I just print it off the computer. I know it is money spent on my part, but if I beta-read, I have an obligation to do a nice job.


This is also why I can't figure out the objection to paying a beta reader a few bucks. It might take a few bucks in paper/ink, and then 4 dollars to send back. Total, 7-8, maybe up to 10$ dollars to beta read. I don't think I could do it overseas. I wish there was a program with real editing marks.

Mumut
07-07-2008, 09:30 AM
Make sure you include your copyright on each page if you send an attachment - just in case.

Williebee
07-07-2008, 09:37 AM
I have one friend who told me she'd beta if I sent her the file with my actual story. The reason she wants it is because she wants to change things on the screen herself. She also proclaims that her theory is; if people don't spot her edits, she did a good job and the original wording is obviously not missed.

Forget that. Nothing personal, I don't know your beta reader, but this sounds like someone setting themselves up to demand a percentage, or their name on cover. At the least, if you incorporate their changes, do an edit reveal and print it to be able to prove what is you and what was them.

Alon
07-07-2008, 09:38 AM
Make sure you include your copyright on each page if you send an attachment - just in case.

To what end? An unfinished manuscript is commercially worthless.

Makai_Lightning
07-07-2008, 09:53 AM
Forget that. Nothing personal, I don't know your beta reader, but this sounds like someone setting themselves up to demand a percentage, or their name on cover. At the least, if you incorporate their changes, do an edit reveal and print it to be able to prove what is you and what was them.
No. I've known this person for a long time. More likely she'd go out and write something herself. I like friends who get their own inspiration. ^.^

But then, I never sent her that copy anyway.

Shweta
07-07-2008, 10:08 AM
I have one friend who told me she'd beta if I sent her the file with my actual story. The reason she wants it is because she wants to change things on the screen herself. She also proclaims that her theory is; if people don't spot her edits, she did a good job and the original wording is obviously not missed. She will not show or explain what she changed.

If you're using Word or a word-equivalent, you can set it to track and show you changes, which you can accept or reject. If she changes stuff on a computer, you can track down the changes.

Just sayin'. Because your friend seems not to respect your authority and the fact that the book is yours. Even if her changes make it better, they are not the right changes unless you agree with them.

DeadlyAccurate
07-07-2008, 10:34 AM
Make sure you include your copyright on each page if you send an attachment - just in case.

That's not necessary. Your work is copyrighted already. Putting some sort of notation on the page (and where would you put it, anyway?) just looks amateurish.

I always send attachments or use Google docs and give collaborator rights to the copy. I've never even sent a printed copy to my agent (and in fact, the last round of revisions, she used the commenting/track changes feature in Word and sent it back like that).

maestrowork
07-07-2008, 11:04 AM
Make sure you include your copyright on each page if you send an attachment - just in case.

That's so unnecessary.

pretticute80
07-07-2008, 11:50 AM
Perhaps send them both? I wouldn’t be bothered receiving it as an attachment but then I print for free at work. I edit better on a hard copy but I prefer to send it back on Word doc. for the simple fact my handwriting is like this. :e2BIC:

maestrowork
07-07-2008, 11:58 AM
To answer the OP's question: it depends. Most of my betas prefer electronic files. They can read them on their computers or print them out themselves. Hardcopies are quite a hassle, unless I can hand deliver to them.

ORION
07-07-2008, 12:00 PM
Ask but yanno- I like to see each suggested change.
But that's just me.
Also my betas carry their manuscript around and write all over it...

Prawn
07-07-2008, 05:55 PM
My suggestion is to e-mail, and just to send the first few chapters, say, the first 50 pages.

If there are issues in your writing, the first 50 pages will be enough for the beta to point them out to you, then you can fix them and send them the whole book.

It would be frustrating for me as a beta to find mistakes in the first 50 pages and then have to read the next 300 pages, seeing those mistakes repeated again and again. I would be equally frustrating to make notes on a certain problem throughout the whole novel, just to have the Beta say, "No, I like it that way." Having the beta look at the first few chapters allows for an exchange that doesn't waste anyone's time.

My 2 cents.

Eldritch
07-07-2008, 07:59 PM
I probably should have included a little more info in my original post.

I am fortunate to have six fellow writers who want to Beta read my MG story. They've already critiqued about 4,500 words of the 39,000. Gluttons for punishment that they are, they still want more. They are all local, so mailing the manuscript is not an issue.

Thanks so much for all the great replies. Please keep em coming.

Reilly616
07-07-2008, 08:15 PM
Well, if you e-mail it to them and they want to read a hard copy they can just print it out...

Bayley
07-07-2008, 10:38 PM
I would ask them what they would prefer. It's polite and they will appreciate being asked. If they have no preference then send them the way you prefer.

jennifer75
07-07-2008, 10:49 PM
Slight derail.....is there a thread listing available beta readers?

maestrowork
07-07-2008, 10:55 PM
Another option is to print it on Lulu and send the bound books to them. It's actually cheaper, I think... Make sure you don't make the book available on Lulu, though.

Eldritch
07-13-2008, 05:19 AM
I took Karen's advice and asked my Betas what they preferred.

Three asked for hard copies, two asked for email attachments, and one said either was fine. So I sent three by email and printed three hard copies-one of which has been delivered. I will hand over the other two the next time I see my Betas.

Now I wait for their feedback.

Thanks so much for all the helpful suggestions.

darrtwish
07-13-2008, 07:09 PM
Personally, I prefer to have my betas edit through the computer, it's just easier, and quicker. I use MSN messenger, and the sharing file folder application for my betas. It's quick and easy, and saves paper and ink.

maestrowork
07-13-2008, 07:53 PM
Edit?

I don't expect my betas to edit anything. They're just readers. I do like to get notes from them, however.