Kindle uses for writers

Klindle’s have been so much in the news lately, that a major new feature has passed almost unnoticed, the Kindle Personal Documents Service. Amazon has the details here: … =200767340

Here’s the basic description:

The Significance

If you own a Kindle device (for now, not an app), you can now mark up your own documents with notes and highlights just like you have always been able to do with ebooks purchased from Amazon. Those markups are then stored with the document by Amazon and can synched to other Kindle devices you own. You can read something you’re writing on the go with your Kindle, mark it up, and then incorporate those changes the next time you’re back at your Mac. For now, you’ll have to view the changes on your Kindle. Sometime in the future, you should be able to view the markup on a Mac Kindle app.

Exchanging documents with others for proofing and detailed, insert-a-note-here manuscript advice isn’t there yet. Authorize each others’ email addresses, and you should be able to exchange manuscripts with someone, placing it directly on their Kindle. But as far as I can tell, there’s no way, apart perhaps from some hack, to get this second person’s markup into your account as if you’d made that markup. It simply becomes one of his personal documents in his account. Perhaps in the future Amazon will allow linking between Kindle accounts, so mark up on one appears in the same document in in other Amazon user’s account. That’s what they are already doing with public sharing of markup. This would just make that sharing available to a select circle.

Of course, even with this limitation, that still makes this Personal Documents Service an easy way to proof your manuscripts without killing trees. It is also a great way to share your book-in-progress with friends. They can read what you’ve written and offer advice via email or phone.

Feel free to share in this posting any suggestions you have for using a Kindle to make the writing process easier and more effective.

–Michael W. Perry, Untangling Tolkien

For me personally, I don’t see the benefit over using a cloud service on your phone or tablet. I tried playing with the document service on Kindle but never made it part of my writing arsenal.

Further, I don’t think you can compose on a Kindle effectively. Typing is much too slow. Of course that’s true for a smart phone as well.

For me, mobile composing and editing has to be done on my iPad. I can type about 65-70 wpm on the ZAGG/mate keyboard-case and my work is automatically saved into my free cloud service for pull down later in Scrivener on my Mac. I have completed just under 30,000 words on my latest novel in this fashion and it’s working beautifully.

Maybe they’ll have a good external keyboard option with the new Kindle Fire?

If you’ve already got a Kindle (I gave mine to my mother-in-law because I don’t use it anymore) then you could certainly review your prose and make notes on it. But I wouldn’t think that would be ideal.

I think you are talking about something else entirely here. :slight_smile: Do you write 30,000 words with your red pen on paper proofs? That’s more what this is talking about. I think the notions above are interesting; as one who does proof on a Kindle (because I don’t want to waste paper; the keyboard is fine for short proofing notes; and I don’t want access to the manuscript text itself while doing this), I prefer plugging it in like a disk and copying the file over. On the flip side, the clippings.txt file that contains all annotations and highlights is a lot easier to work through than the cloud reader thing.

If you want something like that on an iPad, iAnnotate works pretty good. I’ve used that to proof a few book-length projects. The only thing I don’t like about it is the weight and glow.

No, I got what was being talked about, thanks. That’s why I said further. No reason to have different mobile machines to do writing and proofing that I can see, so use the machine that offers both. That was my point.

I just think of all the options to use for writing, editing, and proofing in a mobile environment, I don’t understand why Kindle would be the choice. Not ideal, as I said. Just my opinion after owning a Kindle for maybe 2 1/2 years and an iPad for about 18 months. But still just an opinion.

…except for the weight and the glow.

Perhaps the difference between us is that I rarely find myself in “mobile writing” situations (which I’m classifying as cases where a full laptop would be unwieldy, unsafe, or impossible to use). I’m either working at home at my desk with 100% of my resources available—or I’m sitting at a coffeehouse, public library, or some other place with a surrogate desk and a subset of resources. So for me I don’t think of the Kindle as a mobile anything; I don’t even honestly think of it as a “device” it is my paper surrogate, that’s all; my reading material (which might very well be ‘work’ in the form of proofs, but I don’t desire for it to become the solution to every digital problem). The MBA is my “mobile” writing. While I’m actually mobile; as in walking around or riding my bike, I’m not writing. If I have an idea and I’m worried I’ll forget it, I just jot it down in shorthand with pen and paper. I’m a little old fashioned that way. I’m not a big fan of carrying electronics around constantly and syncing everything. I see people that do, and to me it feels as though they’ve got their nose it so much they don’t notice 90% of what is going on around them. Notebook and pen never did that to me; and I’ve always got at least one of each in a pocket, even at home.

So for me, an All-in-One device like the iPad isn’t best for me (and I’m being nice about it, because to me it feels more like a master-of-none); and I imagine there are plenty others like me. I’d rather have Scrivener on the go, and for proofing I’d rather not have the temptation of editing or typing. I don’t like to mix those. So two “devices” are good for me, and hopefully one of these days Amazon will make it easier to send out proofs and gather annotations. I doubt they’ll ever design something like that specifically, but if they can open up some of the technologies they are putting together so as to create the ability to devise a workflow, that would be fantastic.