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Reading your own unpublished books on the Kindle

3007 Views 25 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  StephenLivingston
One of the nicest features of the Kindle is that it allows you to read your own unpublished books on your Kindle. 

Many people like to write books, but may not actually get them published.  However, it is easy to put them on the Kindle and read them just like any other book.

Once you get your book on the Kindle, you can check for errors and highlight them for correcting on your word processor.  This is handy since it is easier to check them on the Kindle than the computer.

Or you may just like to read your own books for your own pleasure.

So how do you do that.  You save your word document as a rtf file.  Then you bring the file into Calibre and convert it.  After that you can load it onto your Kindle.  If done properly, it doesn't look any different than the books you buy.

So have you put your own books on your Kindle?
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Yes I have a very rough book I am writing and I keep it on my kindle for note taking. I do most of my work in MS Word on the computer though. If I just e-mail the word document to my [email protected] address it sychs up and I have my latest version just like that. I delete the old if I am done with it.
I simply save mine as a txt file so I don't need to do any converting
I also saved as txt file.

(OK, it is a short story I wrote for my kids, a sort of O. Henry type of story... I do not plan to write anymore, unless I get a great, great idea)
I am having a *forehead smacking* moment right now.  I had never even thought of doing this before and should.  Thanks for the idea!
I was keeping a journal for a trip I was planning to take through the mountains last year. I had phone numbers, travel tips, some trivia and some neat historical facts. I kept it as a text file on my PC, and when I was ready, I just uploaded it to my Kindle!

Then I could just search it whenever I needed any specific phone numbers or travel tips. And it was also fun to browse through it to review all the things that I'd wanted to remember. Even now, a year later, it still fun to go back and read it -- because it reminds me of all the excitement I felt preparing for the trip!

The best part was that I found a free e-book version of a travelog written about visiting the same 1906! So I had a hundred-year-old travelogue -- and then my own notes!
I just finished reading a friend's manuscript on my Kindle -- so it's a great feature for "Beta readers" as well!  I sent it to the address that someone already mentioned, and it formatted quite nicely to my Kindle (from a Word document).
I have a children's book I am working on. I read some of it to my 4 year old. She said "more!" But I didn't have any more. I can't say if it is any good or not, I have only the opinion of one very biased child. But I do like having it on the Kindle. As a text file on the computer, it's just a text file, not quite "real". On the Kindle, it looks like any other book.

So, I will add a few more chapters to give it an ending, have someone else besides me read it, and put it on Smashwords. Having the book on a Kindle gives you a better impression of what your own book like like.
I use my Kindle as an editing tool for everything I write. Best thing ever.
I set my Kindle to TTS and let it read manuscripts to me. It's amazing how your ear can catch things that you eyes blip right over.
I like doing that kind of stuff as a .txt file.

At some point if I need extra formatting, I will worry about that down the road, like if/when they go to market to be sold.
Sam, first message here. I have ADD that borders on autism, the KINDLE user guide is almost useless for me. I write horror and intend on being published, I'm having a problem with the font size. I write in 14-16 point type and convert to .pdf with Cute .PDF Writer, I can't get a font size that's readable on my Kindle. Is there a standard, or does the various .mobi converters do this for us? I also have a problem with standard run of the mill .pdf files, an example is I have BOOK OF THE DAMNED by Charles Fort on .pdf, the fonts are so small it's unreadable. Does the KINDLE have a zoom feature?


Tony Howard
Awesome! I never thought of that. Thanks for the tip.  ;D
Tony Howard, the Kindle doesn't do a good job reading pdf files so I never put them on my Kindle.  The print is too small to read.

What I do is use Calibre to convert the PDF files to mobi files which are easy to read on the Kindle.

I am not real fond of PDF files though.  I write my stories in word and then save them in rtf.  Then I convert the rtf to mobi using Calibre. 
Mobipocket Creator does a nice job and outputs a prc file with reasonable formatting from Word. It is easy to use. Upload to Kindle and you're away.

Calibre will do it as well.
I use my kindle as a final proofing tool after I've done a proof on paper. It's great for that.

you don't need to convert your word document. Just set up your document as you want it to look (it will vary slightly on the Kindle) and then email it to yourself using the email addy associated with your kindle. Use the free one, so it would be [email protected] and it will appear on your kindle. Kindle converts the .doc file to a .kzw for you.

Felicity Heaton
DreamWeaver said:
Here's a screenshot of his PDF ebook on the Kindle, so you can see how that font size looks with those settings:

I'm still trying to learn how to include drop caps and small chapter graphics within the ebook. I'm not sure if it would need to be hand-coded or what. I like the ability to have a base file of my manuscript so all I need to do is easily output it to all the formats (and the most frustrating of all, Smashwords format).
I've used kindlegen and Calibre to put things onto my Kindle and to proof the final version
of my book to see if it was going to look okay on an actual Kindle.  It's a real thrill the first
time you put your own stuff onto your Kindle and see it looking good on the display.
DreamWeaver said:
RM, the screenshot you included in your post is from the PDF version of my husband's book, which has drop caps. There's also a .mobi version. You can download a free sample from my website if you want to look at the formatting on a Kindle.

If you use MS Word, you can insert the properly sized graphics there. I work in HTML because I like to have fine control over the .mobi output. To create the graphic that you see under the chapter heading seen on the screenshot, for the .mobi version I insert this coding in the HTML:

<p><img width="121" height="20" src="chapter.jpg"></p>
The graphic's width and height are specified there, as well as the name of the graphic file to be inserted.

I don't have drop caps in the .mobi version because text can't wrap properly. Instead, I have a tall cap at the beginning of the first paragraph of each chapter. In the HTML, I wrap that first letter in and codes (the code repeated as many times as needed to get the size I want). I think it looks nice with the small caps that follow.
Thanks for that! I'll try it out!
RM Prioleau said:
I'm still trying to learn how to include drop caps and small chapter graphics within the ebook. I'm not sure if it would need to be hand-coded or what. I like the ability to have a base file of my manuscript so all I need to do is easily output it to all the formats (and the most frustrating of all, Smashwords format).
Here's the guide I used when I was learning how to format books for Kindle. It's very easy, plus it shows you how to create a good epub version as well. I find this useful because I like to be able to offer book bloggers the choice of epub, mobi, or pdf formats.

I know he covers chapter graphics in here, but I am not sure about drop caps.
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