Amazon, Drafts, ebook publishing, Editing, Kindle, Kindle Personal Documents, Kindleboards, Project Gutenberg, Research

I love Kindle’s “Personal Documents” feature

I’ll start with our personal use of Kindle’s Personal Documents.

My husband prefers to read and store important manuals and technical documents on his Kindle. If they exist on the web as word processing or PDF files, they normally can be sent successfully to Kindle.

I use the personal document feature to send chapters of my novel-in-progress to the Kindles of a few readers for early reactions. Seeing pages on Kindle gives me a different sense of the flow and pace of the story, something helpful for editing.

I also put research on my Kindle. Recently when I wanted to know more about mules used in transportation, I downloaded then sent to my Kindle a reprinting of The Mule, an instructive document written by Harvey Riley in 1867, made available by Project Gutenberg. Underlining and notes made on the Kindle are easier to retrieve than on paper or in a hard-copy book.

Other neat uses found on a Kindleboards forum: Shopping lists, driving schedules, camera manuals, notes for presentations—anything you want to take along in a compact format.

One of the best: A teacher puts her lecture notes on her Kindle and lets the Kindle read them aloud as she drives to work. Also great: A mom puts her kids’ textbooks on Kindle. Another mom surprised and delighted her daughter by sending to her Kindle a story the girl had written.

You can find your Kindle’s email address on Amazon by going to Your Account/Manage your Kindle. On the left side of that page, find the menu for Personal Document Settings. Clicking that link takes you to a page where you see the email addresses of Kindles to which you can send personal documents.

To exchange files with other Kindle owners, you need to add their Kindle addresses and they need to add your email address on their Approved Personal Document Email list, which is also on that page. In other words, exchanging files this way requires something to be done by both parties.


To send a file to a Kindle, attach it to an email that you send to the designated Kindle address. The address will be something like In the subject heading, I type ‘Convert’ but I’m not sure if that’s necessary. Remember, the Kindle’s address is preset, and you find it on your Personal Document Settings page.

You can find other options for sending files to Kindle and Kindle apps at

Kindleboards posters noted problems in sending some types of PDF files to Kindle. You can find their discussion and solutions here:,134169.0.html

How have you used Kindle’s Personal Documents?

Drafts, Style, Voice, Writing

Finding a true voice

Usually I read blogs for information, but I’m drawn to several by the conversational style of the blogger.  The writers sound like fun people with keen minds.  I think I’d like to read something by them.  But when I read a sample of their fiction, I’m disappointed.  It’s not the voice I expected.
I’ve also read critiques with more snap and personality than the characters in the critiquer’s stories.
I’m sure it’s not necessary to write fiction in our own voices, whatever that means.  Stories don’t have to be about ourselves.  But some writers have a conversational style that’s more interesting, fresh, and honest than their fictional creations.  
Why is this?  Possible answers:  self-imposed controls, inexperience, imitating models we like.  Writing instructors talk about the need to set the subconscious free and to turn off the internal editor, in the first draft, anyway. 
What can we do to find our personal style and carry it into a story?  How can we get from here to there?  I think it helps to begin with heartfelt emotion and characters who share some trait or experience we can identify with, including antagonists.  It helps to think about issues, places, personalities and events and distill them to conviction (point of view!).  In any story worth reading, the writer shares lot of herself, not necessarily personality or experiences, but those convictions.
I’ll never forget a paragraph written by a student who avoided F’s only because he was always present and attentive and bravely struggled through homework.  The assignment (based on Robert Frost’s Mending Wall) was to write about a personal wall.  His wall, he wrote, was his inability to achieve more than a “D,” no matter how hard he tried.  His words were heartfelt, his voice true, and his paragraph, a stellar creation.  Everybody else wrote what they thought the teacher wanted.
As writers (and maybe in real life), we must not be afraid to show ourselves as naïve, ignorant, or even worse–boring–at least not in the first drafts.  We should not adopt styles we think everyone wants to read.  Sometimes they’re not as good as our own.