Writing with a Kindle

My Kindle and laptopI recently got a Kindle. My first Kindle. I have read eBooks on other devices, but the Kindle is a different experience. The eInk reads like paper, and the Kindle Paperwhite’s 300 dpi resolution matches the quality on the first laser printers I used. There are no distractions from social media, email, and text messages like when I’m reading on my laptop or smartphone.

I’m also finding the Kindle a useful tool for writing. Here’s why.

Editing is tough for me in general. It’s especially hard I’ve been looking at the same text on my laptop screen for the sixth or seventh time. That’s why I had been printing my manuscript and editing the hard copy. With the Kindle, I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m looking at a different type of screen with text that looks like print. I can find the typos and missing words I overlook on my laptop.

This is how I’m editing Amiga right now. I’m reading it on my Kindle. When something doesn’t look right, I go back to my laptop and Scrivener and make the changes.

I can also find formatting errors. If I use custom formats, such as block quotes for the emails, newspaper articles, and text messages in my story, I can make sure that they look right on my Kindle. I can experiment with different fonts and sizes to make sure the formatting still works correctly.

I can also see what the cover looks like on the device. A cover that looks great in color might look washed out on a black-and-white Kindle. Although I can use the Kindle app to preview a book, I find it more useful to see it on the actual device.

Scrivener makes it easy to generate Kindle files. Compile your output as a MOBI file from within Scrivener. The first time you generate the file, you will be prompted to download and install the KindleGen app from Amazon. Once you’ve installed it, you can generate MOBI files like any other format. You can then send the book to your Kindle by emailing it as an attachment to the device’s email address. (Tip for Mac users: If you have purchased Scrivener from the Mac App Store, install KindleGen to the system-level Applications folder, not your user Applications folder. Otherwise, you’ll get an invalid KindleGen error.)

When you look at your book on a Kindle, you’ll experience it as many of your readers will. This will help you create a book that is the best possible experience for your readers. If you don’t have a Kindle, consider making it part of your writing toolkit — as well as a great way to discover and read books.