Editing With A Kindle

I’ve always liked to use printouts when I edit. Normally, after several drafts on the computer, I’d print things out and go through them line by line. I’d highlight, make notes, and do my best to create a more polished manuscript.

In the last couple of years, however, my eyesight has deteriorated. I have a hard time reading print. Most of my reading is now done on my Kindle Fire, because I can change the font, alter the contrast, and enlarge the text.

Recently, it occurred to me that, if I could port an ebook copy of my manuscript to the Kindle, I would be able to do all of those things. Kindle (and, I believe, the Kindle reader app on most devices) has the ability to highlight text and add notes.

I’m plugging through the second major draft of Don’t Call Me Savior at the moment. It still needs a lot of work. Back in the day, a book would be much farther along before I’d print. Since there is no waste of ink and paper this way, I decided to experiment a bit.

In a nutshell, I was impressed.

I use Scrivener to write (as previous posts on this blog have mentioned). Scrivener has a compile feature, and there are several ebook options available. It was a relatively simple matter to compile a very basic ebook, and use Send to Kindle to email it to my device.

Once I finished reading through and making notes, I just sat the Kindle on the desk, and started going through the notes, with Scrivener open on the PC. I am making slow progress, due to life and health continually sidelining me, but this method is working well. In addition to the ability to read each note inline (as in the accompanying image), one can also read an outline overview of all comments at once.

If you don’t write with Scrivener, there are other options that allow you to create ebooks from your manuscripts. One popular software program is Calibre. I have this software, and have used it, though I’m not familiar enough with it to give instructions. It is fairly intuitive, though, and the website has an extensive help section with instructions and tutorials.

Word 365 also has a direct “Send to Kindle” option under File/Export. (Or at least it does on my PC.) I have not used this method, but if you write in Word, it may be worth a try.

Compiling with Scrivener can be a bit confusing. I’m not all that skilled with it myself and have some practicing ahead before I can create professional-looking output. However, I managed to fumble through the basics to export a draft that was readable and did what I needed it to do.

Regardless of method, be sure your document name is the title of your book. Kindle will display that in your library accordingly.

Once your ebook is compiled on the computer, emailing it to your Kindle is very simple. All you need is your “Send to Kindle” address. That can be found by logging into Amazon, going to Contents and Devices under your account information, locating your device, and clicking on it to view the summary. Copy and paste that address into the “to” line of your email. Simply send the book as an attachment, and it will show up shortly on your device. You may receive an email asking you to confirm that you intended to send the document.

Amazon also has an online version of Send to Kindle, which allows you to drop documents onto the page and send them directly from the web.

Using the Kindle to help with editing turned out to be worth the extra effort of compiling the draft copy of the book. It allowed me to read the book in the format that my ailing eyes are most comfortable with, and then use the e-reader as an extra screen while working those notes into my main document.

Give it a try. If it works for you as well, let me know in the comments!


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