Providing Free Review Copies of Kindle Books


A common problem for authors of Kindle books is how to give out free copies of the final version of their book for review.

At LiberWriter, we’ve created a solution that I think people will find useful.

Once you’ve bought a workspace, and your book is ready to go, on your documents page, there is now a link to press to create a review copy.

That link pops up a form that asks you for the name of the person who will be reviewing the book, and then generates a custom book just for them, with their name inside it and in the title.  This turns out to be a fairly effective, cheap, and pain-free method of ensuring that a book only ends up with who it’s destined for.  If it were somehow leaked, it’d be pretty obvious who did it.  Aside from that, though, the book is exactly like the one that you’ll publish via Amazon’s KDP.   You can then email the newly created mobi file to the reviewer.

Or, of course, if you implicitly trust the reviewer, you can just use the ‘download’ link, and send the person that copy of your book.

We just rolled this feature out, so if you’ve got any comments, questions, or ideas how it could work better for you, let us know!

Formatting a Screenplay for Kindle


A persistent problem in the world of kindle formatting has been how to format a screenplay for the Kindle.

At LiberWriter, we were lucky enough to have Dave Trottier as an early customer.  Known as “Dr. Format”, he’s an expert at the nuances of how a screenplay ought to be written, so we were happy to work with him to ensure that his screenplay came out looking just right, given the limitations of the Kindle platform.

He was kind enough to write an article about the experience, and a technique he found that worked for him, reproduced here:

How to Prepare Your Script for Kindle

By Dave Trottier

These days, screenwriters want to get their script out any way they can. I have found that it is relatively easy to prepare a script for Kindle using

Your first step is to register your copyright of the script. Don’t do this unless you are now ready to market the script, because the copyright displayed in the title page will “date” your script.

Your second step is to convert your script from Movie Magic Screenwriter or Final Draft to an RTF file. With Final Draft, use “Save as.” With Screenwriter, use the “Export” function. (If your script is already a Word Document, then there is nothing else you need to do.)

In your new RTF file, either delete all of your transitions or, if you absolutely must have a CUT TO or DISSOLVE, move it flush to the left margin. If you leave it flush right, it will create problems for you as a Kindle (mobi) file.

Now, avail yourself of the services of LiberWriter. It’s one of the best value sites I’ve found where you get plenty of help from their Support department, if you need it. I don’t get a commission for saying this. Realize that if you get stuck anywhere in the process, you can go to the User Guide, which is clear and helpful. If you still can’t solve your problem, you can email their Support department.

It might help to see an example of a finished product. In that case, consider purchasing a copy of A Window in Time from Amazon Kindle at $3.99. You will see how I handled each section of the e-book (actually, e-script), and what the final format looks like. But you don’t need to buy my script to be able to format your own.

While in LiberWriter, you may want to create some kind of brief introduction as your first chapter. Depending on your purposes for publishing your script, that chapter might include your logline and/or a brief synopsis. Of course, you may not want an introduction at all.

You’ll notice that the standard font for LiberWriter (and Kindle) is not Courier 12-point. I recommend you use the Kindle default font to make your script more readable on the Kindle. However, if you absolutely must use Courier, just pick LiberWriter’s “Typewriter” font.

The next chapter is for the script itself. Just copy and paste your RTF file. When you view your script in the LiberWriter window, you will see that it doesn’t look right. At that time, email Support, tell them you have downloaded your script, that you are affiliated with Dave Trottier, and that you need LiberWriter to adjust the file so that the indents disappear and there is spacing between paragraphs.

Once you hear back from them that the task is done, there is only one formatting change you need to make: dialogue blocks. Because it is next to impossible to create correctly formatted dialogue blocks that are pleasant to read on a Kindle, I have created a new formatting style for dialogue blocks.

Here is what a dialogue block will look like in the LiberWriter window once Support has made your requested adjustments:

I love you, my darling.
(tipping his hat)
Frankly my dear, I’ve changed my mind.

Here’s how you want it to look:

JOHN (sarcastically): I love you, my darling. (tipping his hat) Frankly
my dear, I’ve changed my mind.

Here is how you make that happen.

First, you move everything in the block together, as follows:

JOHN (sarcastically): I love you, my darling. (tipping his hat) Frankly my
dear, I’ve changed my mind.

Then, you select the entire block. This is very important. Once selected, click on the “Increase Indent” icon, and the entire block will be indented just a few spaces. If you have several speeches in a row without any narrative description, you can select all of them and then indent. Take care that you don’t accidentally select and indent any action (narrative description).

Yes, yes, I know that this will be a somewhat laborious process, but it won’t take as long as you think. Besides, it allows you to polish the dialogue one last time. Make sure that any changes you make are also made in your master script in Movie Magic Screenwriter and Final Draft.

Once done, you will download your new e-book/e-script, which will be saved as a Kindle (mobi) file in your Downloads folder, assuming you use Windows.

Finally, you will then open an account at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Follow their directions for creating your book (e-script) and uploading your mobi file. If you don’t have a cover image, Kindle will prepare a simple one
for you automatically.

Good luck and keep writing!

So there you have it: in the end, after trying various solutions with different levels of spacing and indentation, “simple” wins!

For those not using LiberWriter, the indent function simply adds the following to paragraphs: style=”margin-left: 40px”.

Dave describes it as a “laborious process”.  Since we like to save people from boring work at LiberWriter, if we receive further interest in converting screenplays, we may look at additional options for automating some or all of the process in order to make it quicker and easier, so get in touch with us!

You can find more of Dave Trottier’s advice on his web site:

Why Kindle Font Sizes Are Variable


Many people, especially those with strong visual and design skills  (a group I am sadly not a member of), have opinions on how their books ought to look, and the idea that on the Kindle, they can’t specify exactly what font to use is a bit disconcerting.

The reason you can’t, is of course, because the user can specify what font and size to read with, so it’s best to leave the user their default, rather than interfere with it.  This was really brought home to me when reading the comment of a former elementary school teacher of mine:

If your eyes are not what they used to be, the Kindle DX is for you! (I can make the print any size that I want and the screen has been improved so I am able to read longer without strain).

For people whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and yet remain avid readers, the Kindle is giving them a new lease on being able to read.  As someone who loves reading myself, I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to go from gradually finding reading more and more tiring, to being able to read easily and comfortably again.