Proofreading and How to Send Documents to the Kindle

Does anyone else use their Kindle for proofreading?

I find this very helpful if I’m writing something longer than just an ordinary short story. It means I don’t have to sit staring at my computer screen for ages whilst I work my way through the whole manuscript and nor do I use large amounts of paper and ink printing the thing off time and time again (although I do use this method when I think I’m almost there).

Proofreading on the Kindle means I can curl up in an armchair with a mug of coffee and pretend I’m reading a ‘proper’ book. I find it lets me judge my writing in a different way and I’m less likely to skip over words.

The disadvantage is that I can’t edit as I go along and I can’t scribble and cross things out either. But depending on what stage you’re at, this can be a good thing because it forces you to read the whole manuscript from beginning to end without wasting time trying to perfect a single sentence. This makes it easier to see the whole story arc and judge whether or not it works.

But in order to be able to proofread in this way, the manuscript needs to be sent from PC to Kindle. There are a couple of ways this can be done. You can either email the document to the Kindle (yes, every Kindle has its own email address!) or plug the Kindle into the PC and ‘drag and drop’ the file across.

There are detailed instructions on how to use both of these methods over on Molly Greene’s Blog so I won’t repeat it all again here. In her post Molly doesn’t specifically mention that Word documents can be sent in this way but I know from experience that they can and there are comments at the end of the post which confirm this. Molly also gives some instructions for the iPad too (I’m not lucky enough to own one of those).

This method of sending stuff to the Kindle can also be used for PDF documents – but I’ve never worked out how to increase the font size of a PDF when it’s on the Kindle and so end up having to use my reading glasses.

And it’s useful to be able to transfer files in this way if you’re ever asked to beta read someone’s work before publication or if you get sent an early review copy.

Please do let me know if you’ve got any proofreading tips or experience of sending stuff to the Kindle.

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  1. #1 by MM Jaye on April 24, 2014 - 8:39 am

    Sally, we both read the article on Molly’s Blog and left relevant comments. I too use my Kindle for proofreading through sending Word documents to it via email. I totally agree with you as to the percs of reading your MS on a different medium and how it makes you judge it differently. Yes, it would be awesome if we were allowed to edit as well, but highlighting errors or parts that need editing is good enough… As for .pdf files, when I type “convert” (no quotes) in the subject line of the mail to which I’ve attached the file, I usually get a Kindle-like document, where I can treat fonts as I please. However, I’ll admit that there were a couple of times that this didn’t work. Try it out and see if it works…

    Greetings from Greece!

    Maria (MM Jaye)

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on April 24, 2014 - 8:53 am

      Hi Maria – thanks so much for the PDF tip. I’ll definitely try that next time – it will save me hunting for the glasses!

  2. #3 by Debbie Young on April 24, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Great advice from both of you, Sally, and M M Jaye there – I share your frustration over the pdf issue and will try Maria’s tip now! Occasionally, depending on the size of the font used in the pdf, I’ve found using the Kindle in landscape rather than portrait mode can be enough to allow me to read a pdf, but I usually try to avoid it if I can!

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on April 24, 2014 - 4:43 pm

      Yes, I usually resort to landscape too, Debbie. But hopefully we’ll both find it a lot easier in the future.

  3. #5 by Anne Harvey on April 24, 2014 - 10:21 am

    Another excellent post, Sally. I hadn’t thought of using my Kindle as a proofreading tool but shall certainly try it when I get full use of my eyes again!

    • #6 by Sally Jenkins on April 24, 2014 - 4:44 pm

      The extra benefit is that you can easily enlarge the font if needed, Anne. I hope you get your eyesight back to normal soon.

  4. #7 by Harliqueen on April 24, 2014 - 10:25 am

    I haven’t used my kindle for proofreading, but that’s a great plan! I often drag and drop documents from my pc to kindle though, it’s a very handy thing to do and an easy way to back up E-Books.

    • #8 by Sally Jenkins on April 24, 2014 - 4:45 pm

      I’ve never tried the drag and drop, Harliqueen but I think I might give it a go now.

  5. #9 by Elizabeth Hein on April 24, 2014 - 11:24 am

    I send documents to my Kindle app on my iPad. It has been a wonderful way to beta read manuscripts for my friends. It does make you look at the whole manuscript as a whole, rather than sentence by sentence.

    • #10 by Sally Jenkins on April 24, 2014 - 4:47 pm

      Thanks for dropping by, Elizabeth. It’s good to know that this all works for the Kindle app as well as the actual Kindle and I’m glad you agree about it being easier to see the manuscript as a whole.

  6. #11 by hilarycustancegreen on April 25, 2014 - 6:04 pm

    Very helpful. The moment has come to stop holding out for the (too expensive) iPad and get myself a basic Kindle.

    • #12 by Sally Jenkins on April 26, 2014 - 6:10 pm

      I only have the basic Kindle, Hilary but find it does the job.

  7. #13 by susanjanejones on April 26, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    Great post Sally, thanks.

  8. #15 by Linda on April 28, 2014 - 6:33 pm

    Sorry, I can’t help with the Kindle as I’ve only got the Kindle software on my pc.
    For proofreading I increase the font size to max so I can only see a few lines of text on the screen at once. This makes it easier to read slowly and focus on each individual word. In normal reading the brain will often ‘see’ what it knows should be there instead of what is actually on the page which might be a typo. The large size font also makes it easier to spot little mistakes like an extra space between words or a full-stop where you meant to put a comma.

    • #16 by Sally Jenkins on April 28, 2014 - 7:39 pm

      That’s a good tip about font size, Linda and you are so right about the brain seeing what it wants rather than what is there. I find turning on the Show Paragraph marks (a reverse P symbol) is good for spotting extra spaces and the like.

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