children's writer

Revising, Kindle, MOBI

Feb 13, 2013
A few days ago I did a post on how I revise and mentioned my Kindle as one of my revision tools. I didn't consider that not everyone would know how to get their MS onto their Kindle, until my friend asked about it. I ended up sending her a very lengthy email on what I do. A lot of you will already know how to do this, but if you don't below is the email I sent.

Now this method isn't for getting your novel ready for publication. It's just for revising or seeing your MS in a "book" format.

This is what I do. Keep in mind, you’ll need a USB cord for your Kindle.
1. You’ll need to either convert your novel's document into an RTF file or copy and paste it into Notepad (TXT.) I think Notepad is the simplest option. 
2. After saving your file as an RTF or TXT, head over to calibre-ebook.com and download the right version for your computer. The download option is at the very top of the webpage.This program will allow you to then convert your file into MOBI. 
3. Once you download Calibre and install, at the very left hand corner in Calibre there’ll be an option to add books. Click on that icon. Your novel's file should be in you documents folder. Once you double click it, Calibre will add that file to your “library.” 
4. Making sure your file is selected (blue), hit Convert Books. A new window should pop up. 
5. At the very top of the screen, in the right hand corner, there’ll be a drop down menu titled Output format: EPUB. Click on it. MOBI will be the second option. Select MOBI.

6. This will be a good time to make sure your novel's title and author name is correct and maybe add a cover if you've created one for fun. All of that will be on that same page: Metadata. 
7. Right underneath Metadata there’ll be a page titled Look and Feel. This page is specifically for adjusting the spacing of your paragraphs, indents, punctuation and so on. If you saved your MS as a TXT file, in the drop down menu titled Input character encoding select cp1252. This will ensure that the text won't look wonky.
Removing the spacing between the paragraphs helps make my MS feel like an actual book. I like to keep things simple so most times I’ll only click Remove spacing between paragraphs.

8. Calibre usually generates a table of contents for you, but it sometimes ends up at the end of the book. If you saved your MS as a TXT file, scroll down to MOBI Output. It’s right before Debug. If you’d like your table of contents at the start of your book, click the second option: Put generated Table of Contents at the start of book instead of end.

This only seems to work if you're converting from a TXT file to MOBI. I tried doing it with an RTF file but then the table of contents didn’t show up at all. 
9. When you’ve made sure everything is how you want it, hit OK. That screen will close. Calibre will then convert your file to MOBI. 
10. Make sure your Kindle is turned on and you can see all of the books already on your device. Go ahead and attach your USB cord to your computer and then to your Kindle.

Once everything is connected, in Calibre there’ll be a new option on the top menu bar called Send to device. Click that and Calibre will begin to transfer that file to your Kindle. It’ll be best to wait until the transfer is finished to disconnect the USB cord. If you look at the right hand bottom of the screen at Jobs there might be a little pinwheel spinning. Wait for that wheel to stop then disconnect everything. Your Kindle will then refresh automatically and your book should be in there, either at the very front or very back.

I hope this tutorial works for you. Don't forget to have fun and get lost in your world. The highlight feature on your Kindle is also a great way to take notes.
4 comments on "Revising, Kindle, MOBI "
  1. Great tutorial! I sometimes send my manuscript to my kindle, for read throughs and edtis, but I just send the Word file to my kindle through the convert/freekindle email service. It doesn't quite give it the 'book' feel, but it works for basic edits.

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    1. Hey! I've heard of doing it that way, but I've hesitated to because of a potential fee for larger files. As long as you're editing, right? Thanks for commenting!

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  2. If you send it to your "freekindle" address (usually "(youremail)@freekindle.com" but you can find it on the "manage your kindle" page on Amazon) it truly is free! And if you put "convert" in the subject line, it will convert your .doc or .pdf. Your method is great if you want an actual MOBI file, but this is the method an agent is likely to use. Two steps are better than 10, right? Plus you don't have to hunt down your USB.

    But I love doing this for editing--something about reading it like a "real" book lets me ignore the line edit stuff and concentrate more on the big picture stuff.

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Angelica. I'll give it a try soon!

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