Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Kindle as a Revision Tool

IMS00173Now that I’ve brought up a drawback to the Kindle (which I believe will be quickly ironed out in future generations of the product), I thought I’d write a little on one unexpected benefit I’ve enjoyed with the Kindle…squeezing in extra revision time.

In the past, my revisions have mostly been done at a planned time and place—not spontaneously at all. I write on the go in little unexpected pockets of extra time, but haven’t really been able to edit that way.

Instead, I’ve just taken my laptop and headed off to the library or coffee shop. There are definite drawbacks to revising on paper—one is the transcription process from paper to computer if I get too far ahead. Besides, it’s a pain lugging around a 2-inch pile of paper in the off-chance that I can catch a few minutes to edit or revise.

The Kindle does make it easier to edit on the go.

I’ve just saved my Word docs as text files (.txt) to make things easier. (You can do that when you click ‘save as’ when you save a file, or you can just copy/paste the document onto NotePad.) You could also save them as PDFs, but the PDFs are like photos on the Kindle—and you can’t make the font any bigger (and small type is starting to be a problem for me.)

There are a couple of ways to upload a file to your Kindle (my directions will be for PCs). The free way is to connect your Kindle to your computer using the charger you got with your device (the plug part of the cord comes off and you’ll have a USB connection underneath.) Plug one end of the cord into your Kindle, the other into your computer USB port.

When your computer recognizes your Kindle, go to Start/Computer. You’ll see “Devices with removable storage.” And your Kindle will be there. Click on the Kindle icon and open the documents folder. This is the destination for your manuscript file.

Go to your Documents library and select the file you want. Drag the file to the Kindle (on my computer, I can see the Kindle listed in a column to the left of the Documents library.) Drop it in the Documents folder for the Kindle. Disconnect your Kindle from your PC, hit home on your Kindle device, and you’ll see your file.

Or…you could email it to your Kindle. The cost, I believe, is now 15 or 25 cents to do so. Your Kindle has an email address—you can find it on the Manage Your Kindle page when you pull up your Amazon account on your computer. It’s a @kindle.com address.

Editing on the Kindle is best for a global read of your manuscript for content problems and less for doing line editing. You can make notes on your Kindle for changes you’d like to make to the document. All the notes that you make on your manuscript can be transferred to your computer. You’ll just attach your USB cable again, go to My Computer, find your Kindle device, look in the documents folder, and you’ll see a My Clippings folder. Your notes will be in there and you can just copy the file to your computer.

Does it sound complicated? It’s actually more intuitive than I’ve made it sound. It certainly does beat lugging around a huge manuscript with me everywhere. :)

How do you like to do edits and revisions on your manuscript? Do you print them out, do them all on computer, or have you tried using the Kindle?