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Taking Notes on Your Kindle – and Finding Them Again by Kitty Bucholtz

February 9, 2018 by in category It's Worth It, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

In November 2017, I wrote about how you can send nearly any kind of text-based document to your Kindle. A couple weeks ago, a friend told me she’s taking an overseas trip and she was considering printing out her current work-in-progress so she can at least get some editing done on the plane. I suggested she send her Word doc to her Kindle instead. She wouldn’t have to worry about losing pages, and her luggage would be a little lighter.

When she asked me how she would do edits, I realized I haven’t actually written an article about that yet! Here are my thoughts.

First, I use my Kindle to read. I don’t plan to make it my next editing tool. That being said, if I’m reading a friend’s book and see a typo, I want to tell them about it so they can make the correction and re-upload. In the same manner, reading my final manuscript on my Kindle can help me to see errors I missed because now I am reading the book as a reader. Errors aside, I also like to highlight my favorite bits in a novel sometimes, and helpful passages in nonfiction books so I can come back to them later.

I own a Kindle Paperwhite, so I’ll explain how to do everything on that or on the Kindle app on my iPhone. You’ll have to check how to do things differently if you own a different Kindle or use the Kindle app elsewhere. (I’d think it would all be very similar.)

Highlighting

If I want to highlight a passage on a Paperwhite or using the Kindle app on my phone, I press and hold on the first word I want to highlight until it lights up then drag my finger to the last word I want to highlight. On my phone, it automatically highlights. On my Paperwhite, it highlights but brings up a menu asking me if I want to just highlight, or add a note, or sometimes you can look things up in Wikipedia if your Kindle is connected to the Internet, and other menu items may also be available. (If you highlight a single word, the Kindle assumes you want to look that word up in the onboard dictionary.)

To get rid of that highlighting using the phone app, tap on the highlighted portion again, then tap on the highlight color with the X in it. That will delete your highlighting. If you tap on a different color, it just turns your highlighted color (yellow by default) to the other color.

To get rid of the highlighting using the Paperwhite, tap on the highlighted portion again, then tap on “Delete” in the little menu that pops up.

Notes

Once you’ve highlighted something, you can add notes pertaining to the highlighted bit. On the phone, tap the highlighted portion, then when you see the little menu, tap on the square with the pencil (supposed to look like paper and pencil). A new screen opens that says “Create Note” at the top. Type in whatever you want, then hit Save. Now at the end of the highlighted portion is a tiny little page. That’s your reminder that you have a note there.

On the Paperwhite, it’s similar. You can add the note as soon as you add the highlighting by choosing “Note” from the menu after you press and drag to highlight. A “Note” screen pops up where you can type what you want. Tap Save, and you’ll see a little superscript number at the end of the highlighted portion kind of like what you see for footnotes in textbooks.

To read these notes, tap on the highlighted portion, tap on the Note in the menu, and you can read what you wrote. You can also delete or change the note at this time.

But Why?

If you send your manuscript to your Kindle in a .doc or other text file, highlighting and making notes about things you want to fix or change can be very helpful. As I mentioned, I also like to tell my friends about any typos they’ll want to fix. And when reading nonfiction, I highlight and make notes for the same reasons I would in a paper book – to remind myself of how to do something, or remember to come back to this passage later.

How Do I Get My Notes Back?

Obviously, hitting the page-forward button over and over through a 400-page book would be way too annoying to find all of your marks. But Kindle created a “My Clippings” text file for you and it saves everything you highlight or notate from any book on your Kindle. Yay!

For any ebook that the Kindle recognizes as such (I don’t know if you have to have purchased it from Amazon or not), your notes and highlights show up at https://read.amazon.com/notebook

Unfortunately, the manuscript you sent to your Kindle (possibly using the Send to Kindle app 😉 ) does not show up in your online notebook. (At least, I don’t see mine.) So you have to download your My Clippings file from your Kindle to your computer.

To do this, connect your Kindle power cord with the USB plug on the end to a USB port on your computer. Once it’s connected, your computer will see the Kindle like it would a flash drive. Click on Kindle, then Documents, then scroll down to My Clippings.txt and double-click to open. In that text file, you will find everything you’ve highlighted (probably since you purchased your Kindle). You can now save that file on your computer.

My Clippings.txt from my Kindle

Sending Your Notes to Your Friend

Using my friend Debra Mullins’ book Kerrigan’s Law as an example, this is what I do when I find any typos in a friend’s book. I open My Clippings, then cut and paste the notes that refer to that book into a new document.

Each highlight is listed in My Clippings by location number. If it also has a note, it is listed again at that location number with the note you typed. For instance, I highlighted a typo, then wrote “typo” in the note section. Here is what it looks like in My Clippings:

Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Highlight on Location 434-434 | Added on Sunday, December 3, 2017 10:33:42 PM

How to we make that happen?”
==========
Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Note on Location 434 | Added on Sunday, December 3, 2017 10:34:07 PM

Typo

Now I can cut and paste my highlights and notes into a new document or an email and send it to Deb. I try to highlight enough text so she can search for it and find it fairly easily. The location number will only give her a vague idea of where it is, but it helps. For instance, location 434 is very early on in the book.

Since I’d found a typo and knew I’d send it to Deb, I couldn’t help but highlight a portion that made me laugh out loud to send to her, too. 😉

Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Highlight on Location 1383-1384 | Added on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 1:18:20 PM

our old sheriff, Charlie Norris,
==========
Kerrigan’s Law: Welcome to Burr: Book 3 (Debra Mullins)
– Your Note on Location 1383 | Added on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 1:18:34 PM

LOL

(You get it – Chuck Norris? LOL! 😀 )

Using the Kindle Notebook Website

I only discovered the notes showing up on your own “notebook” page today when researching a question I had for this article. (Here’s the 2015 article I found mentioning it.) I couldn’t find Deb’s book in my “notebook,” so I played around with another book I had on my Kindle, Only a Hero Will Do by Alanna Lucas.

Example from my “Notebook”

You can see that I highlighted part of a sentence, then added a note, “Here is a note on that highlighted passage.”

I went through the books showing up in my My Clippings document and compared them to what showed up in my online “notebook.” I could be wrong, but it looks like Amazon only recognizes books I purchased from them. Anything I “side loaded” or used Send to Kindle to get onto my Kindle seems to not show up in the Notebook. Just a little FYI. So to get your notes for those books, you’ll have to download the file from your Kindle to your computer as I mentioned above.

Editing Your Own Books on Your Kindle

Bringing this around full circle, I told my friend Janice that she can load her current WIP onto her Kindle and take it with her on the plane. She won’t be able to make changes to the document, but she can highlight bits and write notes like, “Need more tension here” or “Potentially better ending could be…”

Loading your final manuscript to your Kindle and reading it through before you upload it to publish can also be one of your last proofreads. You can highlight a section and add the note “is should be it,” etc. One note on this – highlight enough, even a whole sentence, so that you can find it again in your document by doing a search.

I hope you found this information useful. I’ve really loved opening My Clippings occasionally to remind myself of all the cool stuff I wanted to remember from nonfiction ebooks I own. Learn from my mistake, though: when you trade in an old Kindle and get a new one, download the My Clippings file from the old Kindle first! Once you no longer have access to the Kindle, you no longer have access to the file. Darn!

Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. She loves to teach and offer advice to writers through her WRITE NOW! Workshop courses and the new WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast.

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Tips For Reading ANYTHING (Almost!) on Your Kindle by Kitty Bucholtz

November 9, 2017 by in category Contests, It's Worth It, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Love at the Fluff and Fold by Kitty BucholtzI’m so excited! I’ve been waiting for years to write a book I thought was worthy of being entered in the RITA Awards (kind of the Oscars for romance novels), and on November 1, I entered for the first time. Yay!

One of the requirements for all entrants is that you must judge the first round. Okay, no problem, that seems fair. What I didn’t expect was the warning that you’d be judging five to nine books just for entering one book!

Now I haven’t done this before, so maybe (hopefully!) I’ll get some of the books in the next month. But entrants don’t have to get their books in until early January, and your judging materials are due back by early March. So I have to read a book a week!

If this is your normal reading habit, I’m sure it doesn’t sound too bad to you. But I feel lucky if I can finish two novels a month! And the only time I hit that level is if a) I have some really interesting, great books, and b) if I steal time away from other things I should be doing in order to read.

It’s not that I don’t want to read more – I have four delicious books I’m just dying to gorge myself on as soon as I can take the time. (Truly excellent books can’t be read a few pages at a time at night when you’re trying to turn off your brain and fall asleep. They need planned play dates.) But, like so many people, I have responsibilities I can’t ignore.

Additionally, this is the first year that the contest is going completely digital. Yay for entering the 21st century! But the books are required to be entered as PDFs only. Boo for staying in the 20th century! The last time I read a PDF on a Kindle as a judge for a contest was the last time I offered to judge a contest. It’s so difficult to read, it detracts from the enjoyment of the story. Not something you want in a book contest!

I was chatting with some other RITA entrants, talking about the best way to read all these books on an ereader or other device, and I decided to share what I learned with you.

As I mentioned, you can send PDFs and Word documents and other files to your Kindle. It used to be that you had to send them via a special email address connected to your Kindle. An address I never could remember. 😉 But Amazon created Send to Kindle to make the transfer process so much simpler!

(And here is the Help page with more information on it:)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200902880

On my Mac, the process is a simple drag-and-drop. I’m guessing it’s fairly easy on the other platforms as well. One thing to keep in mind – Send to Kindle for Mac will figure out the book’s title based on the file name. If the file name is funky, you’ll need to manually fix the title in the title box. Also, it always pulls the last author name I’d typed in. I think that means it just doesn’t pull the author name at all and you have to manually type it in (which is why I have to change it from the last book every time). The only reason these things matter is when you’re searching for a book by title or author on your Kindle or Kindle app.

PDF book to Kindle

PDF: Wide-format is hard to read!

Now since the RWA is requiring books entered in the contest to be in PDF format, I had to decide how I would create my PDF. I use Vellum to create my ebooks, and it doesn’t create PDFs. But Vellum requires a Word .docx file to start, so one option is to create a PDF from the Word file. But then each page would be quite wide. You’d have to manually move the page back and forth on every line. And it might also be just too small to read. (The problems I had the last time I did this several years ago.)

PDF book to Kindle sideways

PDF: Easier to read sideways, but still small

If your book is in Scrivener, you can save to a PDF, but I suspect you’ll have the same wide-format problem.

You ever think, “Maybe this will work, I’ll Google it but I’m sure you can’t actually do it this way”? Well, I wondered if there was any way to turn a PDF into a .mobi and fix the problem right there. Turns out – you can!

And once you turn the file into a .mobi (the format required on a Kindle or in the Kindle app), the file will be flow-able again. So you don’t have to worry about the page being wider than your screen. Yay!

Converted PDF to mobi

Converted PDF to mobi file

I’ve added some screen shots here from the Kindle app on my iPhone so you can see the difference between the two files. (Read the captions to see which file is which.)

First, I did some searching and then read some reviews to find a site that looked as safe as possible. (No one wants to upload their book or other intellectual property to a website that is going to send it out all over the web.) I chose this site, PDF Convert Online.

I followed the directions, uploaded my PDF (as I would if I just got nine books I have to read and judge!), and hit the convert button. (I didn’t click the green buttons to download the software. I clicked on Choose File in the middle, found my PDF file, then clicked the red “Convert Now!” button.) Fairly quickly, I got this message.

PDF to mobi online converter messageNot only was my PDF file converted to a mobi that I could then use Send to Kindle to read on my device or app, but the message assured me the file would be deleted shortly.

Excellent!

Mobi file with a larger font size

Now that it’s a mobi file, you can change the font size if you want.

Second, I sent the new PDF-turned-mobi file as well as the original PDF file to my Kindle app using Send to Kindle, and I made screen shots to compare them. As you can see, the PDF document is only readable when I turn my phone sideways and zoom in a little. If I zoom in more, I’ll have to move back and forth, left to right, along each line as I read. Painful. On the plus side, all the pages appear as they should, as if it were a print book.

But the PDF-turned-mobi file is completely flow-able. I can read it like any other Kindle file, I don’t have to turn my phone sideways for it to be big enough to read, and, in fact, I can use the Kindle controls to increase (or decrease) the font size. Yay! On the downside, the pages all flow into each other now as you can see from this screenshot.

Send to Kindle converts PDFs to mobi files

See the check box for the Send to Kindle app to convert PDFs to mobi files!

Now here’s the irony. I almost posted this article by telling you the happy news – you can turn PDFs into mobi files and upload them to your device using Send to Kindle – without realizing Send to Kindle has an option to convert PDF files right in the app! (See me rolling on the floor laughing at my enthusiastic ignorance! LOL!) I was looking for something else I wanted to tell you about the app (I forget what now) and just now found that handy little check box! Haha!

Yay! <still laughing>

I decided to leave in the paragraph about the PDF-to-mobi converter sites in case you have need of it for something else. (They convert all sorts of files one way and the other.) But your big take-away here – and mine! – is that when you have a document or book in PDF format (or if you have nine of them!), you can check the box in the Options area of the Send to Kindle app and automatically convert the PDF to a mobi file as it’s sent.

Awesome.

So go sign up to judge a book contest. The reading is now going to be easy as pie. And hopefully as good!

Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!

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emaginings: e-Books Older Than You May Think @LyndiLamont

June 16, 2014 by in category The Romance Journey tagged as , , ,

A few weeks ago, a blog I was reading mentioned something to the effect of “when e-books were new back in 2007-2009” which left me both amused and nostalgic.

News flash: e-books have been around since at least 1971 when Project Gutenberg started digitizing public domain works. The US Declaration of Independence was the first document chosen. Check the Wikipedia page for more early e-book history.

I started reading e-books in 1999 on my laptop. I’d gone to the Romance Writers of America conference in Chicago and signed up to moderate a panel. By sheer serendipity, I was assigned to moderate the e-book panel presented by Janet Lane Walters and the late great Jane Toombs, two true e-book pioneers. I came away with an interest in e-books and a couple of samples on 3 1/2 inch diskettes. (Remember those?)

Back home, I read the books on my laptop using either Adobe Acrobat or an Internet browser, depending on whether the format was PDF or HTML. I’m a voracious reader and book buyer, and the house was already full of print books. The idea of being able to store book on my computer seemed like a godsend to me. A way to buy and hoard, I mean, store books without cluttering my already cluttered house. I was hooked!

Commercial e-books were in their infancy, but dozens of small publishers sprang up, most of them no longer in business. Ellora’s Cave is the best known of the early small e-book houses. My publisher, Amber Quill Press, started in 2002. Romance readers got hooked early, and small presses deserve credit for reviving the paranormal romance genre, which NY had lost interest in, for feeding the erotic romance craze and for pioneering gay erotic romance.

While e-book readers were a tiny minority at first, the growth was explosive, often 50% in a year. The numbers didn’t start to hit critical mass until Amazon got into the game with the Kindle 1 in late 2006, though Sony gets the credit for having the first available e-ink reader. There were commercial e-readers available before the Sony Reader and the Kindle: the original Rocket e-book reader, its successor the RCA Gemstar 1100, using my stylus to make selections. (You had to press a lot harder than on a tablet.) Also, books could be read on the little PDAs, like the Palm Pilot and Pocket PC. I read a lot on my Sony Clie and on my RCA Gemstar until it quit on me. By then, Amazon was about to release the Kindle, so I ordered one and never looked back.

In 2006, Janet Cornelow and I took pictures of each other reading on our e-book devices for a contest at Fullerton Public Library. We thought it would be cool if tow of the photos showed people reading electronically. Needless to say, I did not win. The picture above shows Janet reading on her RCA eBookwise.

Sony produced the first e-ink reader, beating the Kindle, but Amazon’s real innovation, the one that made it the leader in the industry, was the one-click purchase followed by wireless delivery directly to your device. No more having to buy from the publisher’s site–with different accounts at each site, were we dedicated ebook readers or what?–download the books to your computer and then side load your e-books using the USB cable. This step took e-book reading beyond the limits of the technologically proficient among us. The ability to download a sample before buying was (and still is) another popular feature. I was an early adopter of the Kindle 1 and still have my device, though it’s no longer in use. I’ve moved on to a Kindle Keyboard and the iPad.

Do you read e-books? If so, when did you start and what device(s) do you use?

Linda McLaughlin / Lyndi Lamont
New website: http://lindalyndi.com
Blog: http://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/
Twitter: @LyndiLamont

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Between the Red-Hot Covers by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2013 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

We’ve seen it all over the years in book covers.

Cute cartoon covers, clinch covers, and the recent addition of “elegant bling” covers. Masks, cufflinks, a man’s tie–you know what I mean.

Now I’m excited about a new trend: Temp covers!

For the first time since I’ve published, Harlequin has put up “temp” covers for the Cosmo Red-Hot Reads.

Each of the books that I’ve found on Amazon by Lauren Dane, Tawny Weber, and Helen Kay Dimon all show the same wildly sexy, raspberry-red covers with the Cosmo logo.

Here’s the RED-HOT Temp Cover for my Cosmo Red Hot-Read: NAKED SUSHI!!

Temp Cover for "Naked Sushi"

Temp Cover for “Naked Sushi”

Amateur spy PEPPER O’MALLEY gets more than she bargained for when she discovers her sleazy boss is hiding corporate secrets. 

She gets fired.

Was it her fault she got caught in the copy room with her pants down with a hunky thief? 
The only way Pepper can get her job back is to become a naked sushi model and spy on her ex-boss.

She’s thrown into a world of corporate espionage she never imagined…

What do you think of the idea of Temp Covers? It’s definitely branding the books in a unique and exciting way. I can only imagine the sexy cover Harlequin has up their sleeve for Naked Sushi…

Naked Sushi is now available for pre-order at Amazon.

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