Saturday, June 15, 2013

Self-editing with an iPad by member blogger Dawn Crandall

Did you know there's a way to self-edit your WIP without using ink or paper? 

I didn't think so. 

Not that I invented this or anything, but I did discover this on my own over a year ago. I just wasn't sure how it was going to work out and thought I'd run an entire book through the process before spouting off about it. 

At the time, I had a Kindle with a keyboard. Probably the coolest thing I found out about my Kindle after purchasing it was that I could send my own documents to it. Cool, right? Well, who of us can actually just read our own work? Not me. I found that as I read my WIP on my Kindle, I would find things I wanted to change... things I'd never noticed while looking at it on my computer. 

Real quick, I want to mention something. I heard once that when you do all of your self-editing, critiquing and such on a computer screen, you miss about 30% of the mistakes and changes you would otherwise have caught by either printing it out or reading it upon a device in which you couldn't simply make an easy fix. I don't know where this info came from originally, but I have found it to be 100% true. 

Okay, back to what I was saying... I went ahead and began using my Kindle to read through my chapters as I wrote them. Before I write a book, I make a pretty extensive outline made up of scenes I already have in mind with characters I've been thinking of and getting to know for at least a few weeks and then a three-page synopsis. Once that's finished, I begin writing chapter one. However, before moving on to chapter two, I go about editing my chapter between five and ten times on my Kindle, or how ever many times it takes to get to the point that I don't want to change anything. After writing about a third of the novel, I send it to my critique partner to read. After I get it back and administered her edits, I read through the chunk of chapters again on my Kindle. Only then would I move on to write the second third of the book, and so on.    

I followed this process through most of my second book, which I finished last fall. Sadly, I was beginning to notice that my poor little Kindle just couldn't keep up with all the notes and highlights I wanted to add and would become bogged down. 

Easy fix--I had the Kindle app on my iPhone. Haha, that didn't last long. 

I really liked the compact size of my Kindle and thought that a regular-sized iPad with the FREE Kindle app was just too big for me. Fortunately, just as I needed it, Apple came out with the iPad mini... which is the exact same size as my Kindle keyboard. 

<-- As you can see from the photo to the right, this is what this article looks like in the Kindle app on my iPad mini. You have the option of highlighting in four different colors, as well as taking any number of notes. The notes can be as longs as you want, they just cannot be copied and pasted into another app on the iPad.  

Okay, so now that I have your attention, would you like to know how this all happens? 

Good, because I'm going to be the one to tell you. 

1.) Set up your Kindle or Kindle app with your Amazon account. Amazon will make an email for your kindle. It will most likely use your standard email account's name but change the handle to You can look up what the email is both on your device and online at your account. 

2.) You'll need to go to your My Kindle account. Under the "Digital Content" section you'll need to click on Manage Your Kindle

3.) Along the left side of the screen will be a list of options, and you'll need to click Personal Document Settings

4.) Scroll down to the end of the website to where it says Approved Personal Document Email List and add the personal email that you'll send the document from on your computer. Remember, if you plan to have any of your friends or critique partners email you their documents, you'll need to add their email to this list as well.

5.) TO SEND: Go to your email account. Type in your Kindle email address, attach the document file you want to read or edit and push send. Easy. :)

I've never considered myself a very technologically-advanced person, but once I realized the possibilities of what the Kindle could do to help with my writing career, I worked hard until I figured it out. I live by this one-chapter-at-a-time process of editing from my iPad now and use it to edit and polish through every book I write.     

Dawn Crandall writes long inspirational historical and contemporary romantic suspense from first person point of view and is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. All three of her completed manuscripts have made it to the semi-final round of the ACFW Genesis Contest so far. She has a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University and lives in northeast Indiana with her ever-supportive husband and two cats, Lilly and Pumpkin. Dawn hosts a book review blog called A Passion for Pages at and tweets those reviews at @dawnwritesfirst. Visit her website at

1 comment:

  1. Dawn, thanks for this. As an iPad user myself, this will come in handy.