Thursday, February 14, 2013

Use Your Kindle to Help Edit a New Book

I've spent the day listening to my latest book, Love Lives On. No, it's not an audible edition. I'm using Kindle's text to speech option. Here's how it works.

First, I edited the book in the traditional fashion by working with a professional editor and making the changes she suggested. After that I used Microsoft Word's Find capability to search for overused and miss-used words. That took about a week. The word "was", for example, appeared more than two thousand times in the 66,000 word novel. I checked each instance to see if I could rewrite the sentence using the active voice instead of the passive. I probably changed half of them. I have a list of about twenty words and phrases I check. I'll provide the list if anyone is interested, but today, I wanted to tell you about how the Kindle helped me find missing words and wrong words.

I saved the Word document as a TXT file and sent it to my Kindle. There are instructions in your Kindle User's Manual telling you how. It only took a few minutes to get it done. There is a fee, but it is small. I'll be glad to send details to anyone who needs it.

Next, I listened to the book, stopping to highlight changes needed and leaving notes about the corrections. Missing words popped out so easily I couldn't believe it. I think when we read our own work, our eyes and brains fill in the missing word for us. When you hear the Kindle read a sentence with a missing word, the word is still missing and you can tell immediately.

I've only listened to half the book so far. Here are a few of the sentences I found with missing words or letters which are shown in parentheses:

1. Karen('s) stomach knotted up.
2. Karen had grown up on (a) farm in Iowa and, after moving to Austin, …
3. He moved through those trees at (a) fast pace.
4. …may have come into the room while we (were) gone.
5. The(y) joined the boat tour…
6. Probably because he (looked) like most of the college-aged …
7. Before Brian had a chase (chance) to agree…
8. She managed to say (it) with love in her voice.
9. What are (you) talking about?

Another benefit of the Kindle speech capability was to catch misused words. I found these:

1. litter instead of little
2. slide instead of slid
3. wild instead of wide
4. diner instead of dinner

It was also easier to catch words and phrases used repeatedly. I marked them for change.


  1. www,ChangingZipCodes.comFebruary 14, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Very helpful blog, Sid. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good idea, Sid. I'll have to try this one.

  3. Yay! But also listen for pace and flow and naturalness of conversation. I'm glad it's working and sorry there's a fee. But you can also get a lot out of reading it out loud yourself or having someone read it to you in a natural voice.