GitHub to Work with Your Beta Readers

Continuing the conversation on using GitHub as an author, one possible use of GitHub is to collaborate with your beta readers. I’ll expand this topic to the more general use of GitHub for issue and task management.

For the purpose of this article, issue and task management are synonymous. GitHub comes with a fairly robust issue management capability, as does its competitor BitBucket. As an author, you can use this capability either for your own macro self-management, or to solicit feedback from readers.

GitHub for Author Task Management

I won’t get into too much detail on how to use GitHub for task tracking. If you look at the GitHub Features, they already do a find job of explaining the capability.

GitHub for Beta Reader Collaboration

GitHub prides itself in the ability to collaborate. Its blog article on How its Services Team uses GitHub provides some good background as well. In order to discuss beta-reader feedback in your private repository, they would have to be added as collaborators. Since that opens up the entire project to them, so you might want a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). But, it allows them to open, close, re-open and assign issues, which is what we’re looking for.

There are two ways to manage this. First, the beta reader can create one issue per issue encountered. Or, the reader can create one issue for all of the reader’s feedback. The advantage of the one-per-encounter instead of one-per-reader is the chance for beta readers to interact at that level. Of course, this assumes you have that many beta readers and are that engaged.

GitHub for Readers

As a self-published writer, it helps to have readers who help point out defects in a published work. You won’t want everybody accessing your private repository. Instead, create a similarly-named repository with the issues there.