The Proof is in the Reading (or Proofreading Made Easier)

I was rather surprised to see that it had been over a month since I had last posted. I could say I’m like ‘Mr. Ed,’ in that I do never speak (post), unless I have something to say. That’s partially true but I have in fact simply had my nose to the grindstone trying to get two books ready for publishing. One is still in the midst of editing, and one is in final proofreading. It’s because of that latter one that I’ve raised my head to share something I’ve discovered that potentially makes proofreading easier.

These are not my ideas. I learned one on the Kindle forum and have been using it with what I hope is great success, and the second, which I learned from a KDP writers’ Facebook page, I haven’t tried in depth yet.

The first method:

Did you know you can email documents to your Kindle? A woman on the KDP forums who signs her posts as ‘Hils’ shared that bit of knowledge. I don’t know if it works for all Kindles, but I do know that it works for Paperwhites, as that is what I have. You can get your Kindle email address from your Amazon account online under Manage My Devices, or find it on your Paperwhite by going to Settings, Device Options, Personalize Your Kindle, and under that section there is a sub-section called: Send to Kindle email, which gives your Kindle e-mail address. You can send your manuscript to yourself as a doc file attached to an email and the powers that be at Amazon convert it to a mobi file which then downloads on your Kindle the same as any book you would download. (There was perhaps a 5-to-10-minute wait between sending the email and having it download to my Kindle, so it’s not like uploading a book for publishing and having to wait up to 12 hours – or more – before it’s available.)

The big advantage I have found in using this method for the final proofreading/s is that the smaller screen seems to make it easier to catch mistakes, at least for me. And because it’s been converted to a mobi file, you can also see if there are any formatting errors that make the text look wonky. ‘Hils’ had mentioned making notes on her Kindle for anything she wanted to change, but I went old-school and used a notebook to jot down my changes and then when back to Word and used ‘find’ or ‘find and replace’ to make the corrections.

The second method:

Did you know Word can talk? I didn’t make a note of who revealed this on Facebook so I can’t give credit where credit is due, but there is a text-to-speech feature on Word. I’ve found it’s available on Word 2010 and 2013. I also have a computer which has Word 2003, and that version does have speech but not the text-to-speech feature (and typical of the way things go, the voice on the 2003 version is much more pleasant-sounding than the voices on the later versions). It’s very easy to activate (if I can do it, probably a chimp could do it with their eyes closed), but rather than me trying ineptly to explain how to do it, I’ll direct you to this YouTube video which is far more succinct. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ips3k6UdY7Q (If for some reason that link doesn’t work, just Google Word Text-to-Speech for both written and video links.)

I have no idea how many hours it might take to listen to a book this way. (I listen to a lot of books on CD while I drive, and they usually average 10 hours or more). I’ve only tried this out on short segments, which you have to highlight to have read by the computer. I’ve found there doesn’t seem to be a pause button; if you stop the computer narration to make a correction, you have to re-highlight to continue. It does seem like it would be a wonderful way to find those letter inversions that create a real word so that spellcheck doesn’t catch them, and that the eye tends to skim over (like form for from, or tired for tried).

So there you have it, two tools that may help you with your proofreading.