Kindle Formating: How do you make the chapter breaks findable? I implore you for help!

This is a call for help. See, some ebooks (strictly on Kindle, I don’t have the other 26 devices everyone else loves and uses) you can swipe up or down with your finger and it’ll take you to the next chapter break.

Cool. This only works on some ebooks, the more fancy edited ones. Most indy published books do not permit this.

I read somewhere on Amazon that if you put in a table of contents, that should provide for those handy finger swipes. Swipe down, next chapter.

I know how to make a TOC in Word. But when I put the manuscript on my Kindle, I can use Go To to hit different chapters; I can use the TOC at the beginning to go to the chapters; I cannot use finger swipe down to go to the chapters. What am I doing wrong? Does anyone out there know? Do I have to sacrifice a small animal to make it work? Is there something else, a secret box to check in Word when I do the TOC? Or is it my device, my cheap bargain basement entry level Kindle with no backlighting or bells or whistles?

You can send your book/manuscript to anyone’s kindle anywhere

One neat thing you can do is send people your book directly to their kindle. How it works: You obtain the email address for their Kindle. Each Kindle device has an unique identified. Mine is yeomanforbes_9@kindle.com. You can find your kindle’s name under Settings>Device Options>Personalize your kindle>Send-to-Kindle Email.

In normal operation, that would mean anyone could send some unedited commaless lump of text to your kindle any old time they felt like it.  But did Pete the Cat despair? HEAVENS NO!  Sing it with me, “I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes!” Clearly, my childrens’ reading has influenced me heavily. If you watch that video, I challenge you to not be singing the song after hearing it a few times! Can’t be done. Back to what we were saying:

Anyone anywhere could send you a book. Your kindle would quickly fill with spam from Russian Mobsters.

To prevent this, you must add the sender’s email address to your kindle’s list of approved senders. You do this from your amazon account, rather than on your kindle. As Kindle’s site says, “To add an e-mail account, visit the Personal Document Settings page at Manage Your Kindle.”

Yep, there’s the lock and key. The sender of the novel<s>spam</s> enters your kindle’s email in the email to: field, and attaches the document. No subject. Make sure the receiver has cleared your email to receive, and send away.

Okay, who wants to send me free books? ;D

From Amazon’s information on their site:

Send to Kindle by E-mail

Send documents to your Kindle as an email attachment

You and your approved contacts can send documents to your registered Kindle devices, free Kindle reading applications, and your Amazon Cloud Drive by e-mailing them to your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address ([name]@kindle.com). Your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address is a unique e-mail address assigned to each of your Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications upon registration.

How to send a document to your Kindle:

Kindle is dead. Long live the Kindle!

My trusty DO1200 Kindle died. I received it as a gift from my mom about 3-4 years ago, and this past week the screen went all Etch-a-sketch on me.  I tried the various fixes. I gave it medicine. I tried to nurse that thing back to health. But it was all to no avail. I failed.

Being a good failure, I ordered another one from my Great Amazon Overlord.

Me: Oh GOA, please send me another Kindle.

GOA: What did you do to the last one?

Me: It’s an Etch-a-sketch.

GOA: User error. You broke it.

Me: No, it just stopped working. Maybe it’s a warranty defect.

GOA: …

Me: Hello? So send me a new one.

GOA: $55.

Me: Here.

GOA: 😀

Yar, that’s the deal. It got here today. It’s charcoal grey, and looks the same in screen size, but there’s no button on the front, like the old one. I do not like change. I want a button. I may glue a piece of round plastic on it so I’ll have something to mash when I need a placebo.

Now to see what books I need to download on it.  Anyone want to send me a nice free book or two? I’ll give you reviews. Which reminds me, I need to drop a review on Kurt Brindley’s book. Sorry about the delay, Kurt.

How to Get Honest Reviews

In Amazon, you can click on the reviewers and that gives you an email (sometimes). Find reviewers you like from reviews on similar novels to yours and email them a request to review your book, and comp them a copy of the book for an honest review. Be very professional when you do so you do not taint your reviewer in any way. Or have someone else do it on your behalf.

I’m not sure how to comp them a book, though you can send books to someone directly on their Kindle. They must know the name of their kindle device so you can email the manuscript to them, and they must add your sending email to the permitted senders list. Some people may be wary about accepting direct books, but it works. Do not send PDFs. Those do not scale. Send a Word document.

Perhaps those that have done this process know a better way to comp books. If so, I’d love to hear it.

This is in response to Brandy’s comment about gaining honest reviews.

Also, M.J. Moores writes a tremendous piece on the other side of this, here:

Reviews for your Book.

I also read an interesting piece on whether authors should pay for reviews.

See here:

Should Authors Pay for Book Reviews?

The longshot of that is no, you shouldn’t. There is an alternative, which is to solicit reviews. As the article says,

Going through the process of getting blurbs, testimonials and reviews is one of the best exercises in feet-on-the-ground book marketing any author can have. It will teach you a huge amount about how books actually get sold, and how your book is being received. That’s incredibly valuable learning for any author.

The hard part is figuring out how you go about the process, etc. It’s much easier said than done.

The book started slowly and I didn’t have much hope, but it delivered

I confess I purchase what the hive mind deems commercially good for my kindle sometimes. I’ll look at #1-10 of a genre and buy those books and then see if they do with their craft what the critics say they are supposed to be doing.  [Commercial success is a viable indicator of that: Though most books get by on their merits, some of them have no business being a commercial success, and maybe there’s a lesson there.]

Something, I’m not sure what, happened in the last tale I read.  It started out a little infodumpy, and in first person. I didn’t like the lead character much.  Nevertheless, I pushed through the opening of the novel and it finally began to expand and I could see where it was driving me, and thus I finished it at 2 am last night. Giant space wars? Had ’em. Exciting protagonist? Had it. Conflict? All over. Set backs? Had ’em. Just when the situation couldn’t get worse, it did.  Pacing, 5 stars AFTER you got through the beginning.

At first I thought it was that book everyone warned me about, the one where the author didn’t know anything about what he was writing and gained dozens of legitimate one-stars. Thanks, narrow-minded Amazon reader villagers with pitchforks! This story, however, had not had a plethora of one stars, so the beginning baffled* me.  Bull through, I thought. It must get better or this wouldn’t sell so well.

The lesson? You can do well, even if parts of your book are marginal or barely adequate, as long as the rest of the prose is a proper roller-coaster. As Junie B. Jones would say, Probably.

* Please note that “baffled” is a term of art used by the media to refer to policemen, detectives, and law enforcement when they don’t know something.  I’m none of those things, but I didn’t know something so I’m going to use it anyway. Just like owning more than one firearm means you have an “arsenal.”