Sending a draft to readers...


I am closing in on the 2/3’s mark of my new novel’s first draft. At this point I send it and an outline of the final 1/3 to a couple of people for comments.

When I was using word this was as simple as sending a .docx document that the reader could add comments to in a coloured font and then send back.

I’m not sure what the best way to do this in Scrivener is and am wondering how others do it.


You want to read up on the Compile function.
It compiles your manuscript into an output format you select, prepared the way you want.

It’s very powerful, and a little complex. Most folks use an existing preset or make a preset to their liking, and then just use the preset from then on.

A quick and dirty alternative is to put all your chapters into a folder, duplicate the folder, merge the duplicates into a single document and then use File>Export and save it out in your format of choice.

As Popcornflix said, this is the time when you learn to use the Compiler. :slight_smile: What I do for beta readers and editors is use one of the compile formats built-in to the Novel template. Either of the Manuscript formats will do. Choose an output format—docx works great. Make sure your cover page is correct in Manuscript front matter folder (this is automatically filled in when you create your project and may require manual tweaking.) Give yourself a few hours for this; the Compiler is a magnificent beast, but it does have a learning curve.

The real problem comes when you get your comments back. What do you usually do with comments when you get them in separate copies from each reader?

Thanks for the replies.

Compiler sounds way more complex than I want to get into right now.

I really just need a way to convert the thing to .docx and send it out so readers can mark it up and send it back.

Sounds like Popcornflix’s “duplicate, merge, and export” is what you want.

You better learn the compiler, it’s something you’re going to use a lot anyway.

When exported to doc, I would upload to google documents and link share it, so that all your “editors” would be able to leave their comment on a single copy of your text and you could reply to any of those comments without any need to go back and forth with a documents with each commenter, that would be the most handy solution to me.

The “Default” Compile format should give you a quick and dirty solution. You really only need to worry about the (admittedly vast) complexity of the Compile command if you’re trying to make a submission-quality or publication-quality output file.


Thanks… It’s just a personal preference but I prefer to keep the readers comments separate so one doesn’t influence the other.
Also, I was under the impression that Scrivener snd Google Docs don’t ‘play nice’ with each other.

Thx…that’s the plan.

‘Admittedly vast’ is an understatement - a 900+ page manual is crazy. I use other mucho complex ‘design/3d graphic’ programs that don’t have mega manuals like Scrivener.

What does “play nice” mean in this context? Once you create an output document it has no further connection to Scrivener.

It’s true that you wouldn’t be able to import Google Docs format directly back into Scrivener, but I believe Docs can save to a number of different formats that Scrivener does support.


Not to be too much of a pedantic dweeb about it, but the Compile portion of the manual is a mere 150ish pages. :mrgreen:

While Scrivener is indeed complex, what makes the Scriv manual far heftier than manuals for other comparably complex software is that L&L provides lots of working examples, You will appreciate this quality when you start digging down into Compile. The challenge for L&L, I think, is that most users expect manuals to be crap when it comes to practical details (“Click the Print Button to print your book. Find a video on YouTube if you want more details than that.”) and never bother opening the thing. Particularly not when it’s a 900 page thing.


I’m having a problem understanding what I am doing wrong. I want to print a manuscript with a cover page (the front end documents but it never prints. What am I doing wrong?