How to Share with Beta Readers via Kindle

Welcome to a throwback Novel Update. I finished my fourth round of revision this weekend. I am ahead of my projected schedule, which could be good or bad. Looking back at my handy dandy notebook (our sexy banner/logo model), it took me…

* 3 weeks to re-read the whole thing and comment it up.
* 3 weeks for developmental edits – cut scenes, move scenes, re-write the bad.
* 4 weeks for a complete stylistic re-write. I probably touched 90% of my sentences and in doing so cut 20% of my words. (Most of my writing sins err on the side of too much.)
* 2 weeks to polish problem scenes and create 6 new ones that added context where needed.

It is a little frightening to know that I have no context to determine whether the effort each stage received is appropriate. Maybe I’m rushing things that deserve more attention? Perhaps I’m dragging my feet and fiddling with things unnecessarily.

In either case, it’s time to let some folks actually look at the completed project. I’m equal parts anxious and excited. I got serious about writing this year, right before Covid happened. I have not joined a local writing group (a task that is definitely on my radar) and none of my friends are writers. I’ve been submitting short stories widely, but as of this writing nobody else has read The Big One, The Baby, the Novel.

Feedback is essential. I only have the one mind, one experience, one perspective. We all need supportive people to gently and constructively point out our opportunities to improve. To think otherwise is hubris.

So, now the question of logistics raises its ugly head. How do I distribute the the draft to beta-readers efficiently? I ordered two copies from a local print shop, but I cannot afford to do so very often at $25 a pop. Scrolling down a pdf or word doc is painful. That’s when it hit me – Kindle.

The Kindle app is free to download on any phone or tablet. Every account comes with a kindle-specific email for receiving files. Ding ding, we have a winner.

The process is straightforward…

  1. Open the app
  2. Click the hamburger menu, “More”
  3. Click the gear icon, “App settings”
  4. Scroll to your “Send to Kindle Email Address”
  5. Use your regular email provider to send your .doc, docx, or pdf file to your Kindle email address (above) from the email you use to log into Kindle
    • I know that E-readers actually use .mobi or .epub files. I made the mistake of converting the file for them beforehand. Don’t do that. The act of sending the attachment converts the file to the appropriate format

That’s it. Hopefully this helps other new writers out their streamline their feedback-gathering process. Godspeed and happy workshopping!

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