Monday, March 19, 2012

Indie Author, Do Yourself a Favor and Buy a Kindle

In my opinion, it is essential for an indie author to own a Kindle. Even if someone else formats your ebooks, go out and buy a Kindle. Nobody's perfect, and that includes your formatter, no matter how good he or she may be. It's called human error, and it's a fact of life. Everybody's bound to miss that little something.

Plus, you're trying to sell ebooks, so you should own an e-reader. And you're a writer, and every writer starts out as a reader. So what's not to love about a Kindle, which you can fill with books you enjoy, pick up whenever the mood strikes you, and get lost in another world for a while?

My Kindle is essential in checking my own ebooks. After creating the mobi file I thought my last publication, Larvae, was good to go. Then I uploaded it to my Kindle before uploading it to Kindle Direct Publishing. While reading it over one last time I found a repeat of "has" and two typos that I missed when reviewing it in any other format. Just goes to show: look over your writing every which way possible. Check it on your computer, print it up and mark it with that little red pen, and then triple-check it on your e-reader before you click that button to publish.

I've downloaded many an ebook that has huge gaps between paragraphs, no indent at the beginning of paragraphs, missing line-breaks, all sorts of formatting goofs (mind you, it's not just indie books with this kind of stuff). I'm forgiving, and will give a book a read even if it does have errors, but these sorts of things annoy the heck out of some people, and I'll bet that many of these stop reading at the first sign of wonky formatting and never pick up the book again (that or delete the sample of your book they downloaded and never purchase anything you publish ever again). If you want your book to stand out among the thousands upon thousands of indie books out there, you must make it as professional as possible. This means with few to zero typos, and without formatting errors. Owning a Kindle will help you cut down on these gaffs.

If you don't want to spring the funds for a Kindle, at least download the Kindle reading app onto your Smartphone, tablet, or computer. To check your epub files, try out Adobe Digital Editions. Both are free.

And don't be dismayed if you find errors in your work, even after you've published. One of the great things about ebooks is they are easily altered. Dynamic. Love that word. Take the book down for a day, make your adjustments, and put it back up for sale. No harm, no foul. But you might want to let your readers know there's a new, improved version of the book out. Just my thirteen cents. Until next time . . . peace.


  1. Good advice Dan...except for those of us in a country that Amazon doesn't sell Kindles to. And it's no use trying to download the Kindle app in said country because Amazon IP blocks links to the Kindle app reader, Kindlegen app, and Kindle Previewer. Oh joy. Speaking to the India-based support team on this matter (of course) produces absolutely no results.

    At the moment, we're in an inexplicable situation where you can buy a Kindle in Cambodia but not in Malaysia or Singapore, which have magnitude greater English-reading populations. (I'm in Malaysia.) I've been on slow burn for almost a year now over this issue...can ya tell? ;)

  2. Ouch, I feel your pain, Kaz. That really sucks. A bunch of bureaucratic, corporate BS, it sounds like. You can always check your files in HTML, but that doesn't always tell the whole story, as who knows what might happen during the conversion process.

    Get by with a little help from friends who live in locations where Amazon runs rampant, is the only advice I can think of. Send them copies of your mobi files (Are you able to download Adobe Digital Editions to check your epub files?) and have them let you know if they encounter any formatting errors.

  3. I use Linux mostly so, of course, EPUB is never an issue! ;) Just sitting on my hands, waiting for some young, bright geek to reverse-engineer Kindlegen. LOL

    1. Hey, it'll happen soon with all those crazy smart, tech-savvy kids out there these days! Keep hope alive, my sister! And keep on writing!