Tag Archives: reading

Scrivener: Create An Advance Reading Copy (ARC) Of Your Book for Early Reviewers

Creating An Advance Reading Copy (ARC) Of Your Book for Early Reviewers

Happy days. Your book’s ready to be sent to beta readers and/ or early reviewers.

If you use Scrivener, you can create a MOBI file (Amazon Kindle) or an EPUB file (iBooks and elsewhere), or just a simple PDF file.

Don’t have Scrivener? Use the method below to create an ARC using MS Word.

Not sure what an Advance Reading Copy is? It’s just an early version of your book. While the book is ready, minor tweaks haven’t been done. Creating ARCs is useful; you can send them out to beta readers on your mailing list, and to professional reviewers too.

How to compile an ARC if you use Scrivener…


Compile the draft, just as you would if you were getting the ebook ready for Amazon. Include your cover image in the compile; this lets you see how the image will look on the Kindle.

Hit the Compile button, and choose Compile for Kindle ebook (MOBI). Save the MOBI file to your computer’s desktop (or anywhere you’re sure that you can find it again).

Check the MOBI file for errors, by sending it to your Kindle. Wait a minute or two, and your ebook will be ready to view on your phone, iPad, or on your Kindle. If you find errors, correct them in the Scrivener file, and then compile it again.

You can now send the ARC to your beta readers, or to early reviewers as an email attachment. Send them the link to Send to Kindle too, in case they don’t have it.

If you use MS Word…

Save your ebook document as a PDF, and then use Send to Kindle to check it for errors. You can then send the PDF to your reviewers, with the link to Send to Kindle, because they may not be aware of how to send ebooks to their Kindle device, or to the Kindle app on their phone or tablet.

Tip: once I’ve completed the first draft of anything, I like to read it through to get a sense of the book as a whole. However, if I read it in Scrivener, I find myself editing. To prevent that, I compile a MOBI file and read it in the Kindle app on my iPad. No more busy editing fingers. (I admit I still make notes, although I try not to.)


Article updated: December 23, 2016

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Scrivener: Reviewing and Proofreading Your New Ebook Before You Publish

Your ebook on the Kindle
Test-read your new ebook on the Kindle before you publish

You’ve written your book, and it’s time to publish it to Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore. Not so fast. Before you hit the Publish button, take the time to review and proofread your new book.

I love Scrivener, because compiling an ebook to any ebook platform is a breeze. It won’t take you more than a couple of minutes, once you’re used to the process.

If you’re not familiar with Scrivener, download a free trial. It’s available for both Windows and Mac people. I’ve been using it since it came out in beta years ago. It makes writing and publishing your books easy.

Test-reading your ebook, anytime

You don’t need to wait until your ebook’s done before you check out what it looks like on the Kindle, or whatever platform you’re using. I like to review my ebooks at the first draft stage, and at at subsequent drafts too. You can see what your ebook will look like, and make revision notes.

Amazon uses the MOBI format (here’s a good brief discussion on ebook formats,) so choose that format when you compile.

Before you test-read, add your cover image. Amazon uses a 1:6 ratio, and recommends that: for best quality, your image would be 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side.

Drag your image to any folder in Scrivener, but NOT into the Draft folder. All the images in your Scrivener file will be shown when you’re going through the formatting options during the Compile; just select the one you want to use from the list you’re shown.

Compile your ebook into MOBI

To test-read your ebook hit the Compile button on the toolbar. All the options look complex, but you’ll soon get used to them. You can change the options at any time, to create another MOBI file.

Once you’re in the Compile dialog, make sure that you’ve chosen MOBI, as in the image below.

Compile your ebook in Scrivener

Go through the options (the Scrivener manual will help if you’re doing it for the first time.)

Hit Compile in the dialog box when you’re done, and your MOBI file will be created.

Tip: remember WHERE you saved it. Invariably one of my students will contact me telling me that he’s “lost” the file. Save it to the desktop for now, you can move it later if you wish.

Right-click your MOBI file, and open it in the Kindle app on your computer.

You can see my new ebook in the Kindle app on my Mac in the image at the top of this post.

If you’d like to see the ebook on another device, like your Kindle or iPad, choose Send to Kindle from the right-click menu. Download Send to Kindle here, if you don’t have it.

You can also download and use the Amazon’s Kindle Previewer.  I don’t like this app much, but it’s useful because it shows you what your ebook will look like on the various Kindle devices.

So there you have it. You’re ready to test-read and review your ebook. If you’ve completed the final draft, make sure that everything’s just the way you want it, and publish it on Amazon.

That’s all there is to publishing your ebooks in Scrivener. It couldn’t be easier, because you can test-read your ebooks at any time.

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Updated: October 28, 2016

I’ve updated this article because I’ve received so many questions about writing a novel from NaNoWriMo participants this year.