When my book is ready to give to some volunteer readers/reviewers:

Suppose some of the reviewers want a hard copy. What's the best way to prepare the hard copy for them? Is this the same as the best way to prepare a manuscript to send to an agent or publisher?

  • No, no. They need to read it on the internet/on a PDF or something. It costs so much money to print that many hard copies. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 5:57
  • I would not do this unless your beta asks for it, to be honest. Your beta readers will need to mark comments on the manuscript. This is MUCH easier in Word (for example) than on paper. Some people do read better on paper, but then you know what? Let them print the Word document on their own printer. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 11:10
  • @LaurenIpsum - Thank you! Is it okay to use the page size I'm imagining the book to be printed with? (E.g. 6 x 9 inches.) I guess what you're saying is that they will use Track Changes? // Do I distribute the manuscript to the beta readers all at once or one at a time? // What about preparation for sending to an agent or publisher? Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 3:35
  • Your beta readers are reading raw copy; the size of the Word doc is irrelevant. I have personally found that using Track Changes is the easiest workflow. If you have multiple betas, first congratulations, and second it will depend on your workflow. If you think you can juggle three sets of corrections at once, go for it. If it might be easier to make one person's correx and then get opinions on the corrected piece, do that. It's up to you. For an agent, you have to ask what s/he wants, as each has his/her own preferences. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 13:24
  • @LaurenIpsum - Ha ha, right now I only actually have one beta, who has great intentions but limited time, so we'll see. However, I read on this site that if I serve as beta to some people, hopefully they'll beta me. (Is that a verb?) // Is there a pattern, something that many agents like? Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


So firstly, printing actual copies of your book to give to beta readers is a really bad idea. It costs loads of money when they could be reading it on the internet. When you are actually submitting to an agent or publisher, I would also highly recommend doing it electronically as that helps things go faster.

If you're absolutely sure that you need to print copies to give to beta readers, then here's some print-on-demand companies you might want to look at. A print-on-demand company is exactly what it sounds like; it prints on demand.

I'm not a salesman of any of these companies, I'm just pointing them out. However, I will forewarn you that actually printing copies of your book costs quite a lot of money if you're just going to give it to a few people. Whenever I've printed my work into a book, I've only done it for novelty purposes. Whenever I've wished to have beta readers, I've always given them the book electronically.

  • Thank you! Okay, I'll assume they don't need a print copy (unless they say otherwise). Now, for the electronic copy, is it okay to use the page size I'm imagining the book to be printed with? (E.g. 6 x 9 inches.) Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 3:34
  • Yes. I write all my work on microsoft word with page size A5. It's fine @aparente001 Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 7:23
  • But then how do I make a downloadable pdf? Do I have to change the page size first? Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 9:45
  • It's up to you. You don't have to if you don't want to. How to convert to a PDF Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 17:40
  • You're right! I just made a test Word document with two sections, each one having a different page size, and then saved as pdf; when I opened up the pdf, lo and behold, the page sizes of the sections were respected. Yay! Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 2:48

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