X-ray picture licensed from ShutterStock.
X-RAY FOR KINDLE
Authors can add X-ray to their Kindle eBooks via KDP.
Here is how to do it:
- Visit Kindle Direct Publishing at kdp.amazon.com.
- After you login, visit your KDP Bookshelf.
- Hover your cursor over the gray button with three dots (…) near the right of one of your book titles.
- If available, you will see an option to Launch X-Ray. Click this link.
- This will open the X-Ray page for your Kindle eBook, but you won’t be able to do anything yet.
- Click the yellow button to Request X-Ray. The window will automatically close 20 seconds later and return you to your Bookshelf.
- You should receive an email once X-Ray is prepared for your Kindle eBook. Although it says it can take a few hours, my emails came within minutes.
- Now you need to return to your KDP Bookshelf and Launch X-Ray again with the gray (…) button. This time you will be able to do something.
- I recommend the yellow Begin Tutorial button. It’s very quick and pretty effective.
- Select the items on the left one at a time. If the item is irrelevant or you just don’t want it to show to readers, click No for the first question and it will be excluded. I had to do this for some terms because a few of the terms were not related to my book, but most of the terms were relevant.
- Each item must be a character (like Harry Potter) or a term (like astrophysics). Check one.
- Tip: Click the number of occurrences link and it will show you the terms in context. It’s pretty cool and can help you decide if it’s worth displaying to readers.
- Either write a custom description or choose a relevant Wikipedia article. For many standard terms, it will automatically select a Wikipedia article. Beware that the article might not be a good fit for the term. It’s up to you to read the article to make sure, or select a different article (or instead enter your own custom text).
- Click the button at the bottom so that it says Item Reviewed if you wish to keep it. Otherwise, select No for the first question. If it doesn’t say Item Reviewed, the changes won’t be published.
- Sometimes, you may have a few terms linked together for the same item. In this case, if you click Remove, it won’t actually delete the term. What Remove does is separate the term to be its own item (you can find it somewhere on the list at the left, sometimes far from the other item). I had to do this for a few items.
- Think: Are there any terms or characters that you would like to add which weren’t automatically included? If so, click the Add New Item link at the top of the list on the left. You won’t be able to see occurrences (or know how many there are) until you publish the changes (though once you publish the changes and they finally go live—it didn’t take too long for me, just a few minutes, but it can be longer—then you will be able to see the occurrences).
- There may be a few standard terms for which you can’t click the button to say Item Reviewed. This happened to me with Albert Einstein, for example. If that happens, don’t worry. It will be included automatically. If you don’t want it included, click No for the first question (as with any other items that you don’t want displayed to readers).
- MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Click the yellow button at the top right corner to Review and Publish X-Ray. Otherwise, all your effort will be wasted.
- You should receive an email when the changes go live.
- After I received my email (it only took minutes for me, but it can take longer), I opened my book on my Kindle Fire HD, and X-Ray was already enabled (even though I had purchased the book months ago, but only enabled X-Ray minutes ago—indeed, it already had definitions that I had just typed). Below I will describe a bit how it works. The picture below shows X-Ray in action.
First, I checked my product page. I scrolled down to Product Details, where I found X-Ray: Enabled. Click the little arrow next to Enabled to see which devices support X-Ray (there is also an elaborate list on one of the KDP help pages that I link to later in this article).
On my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, when the book is open and the menu ribbon shows at the top of the screen, I see a little rectangle with an X, which is the X-Ray icon. When I click on that X-Ray icon, it opens a page with Notable Clips, People, and Terms. Click either People or Terms. I selected Terms.
One of my terms was Solar System. There were 52 mentions. I clicked on this item on the list. It doesn’t show me the text that I typed for Solar System (not yet). This just shows the paragraph in my book that mentioned that instance of Solar System. I clicked the link called Go to Loc 34 (the number will vary) in the bottom left corner. This brings me to that actual location in my book. Now on my touchscreen device, I placed my thumb on the first S of Solar, held my thumb down for a moment, and rubbed my thumb across the screen to the M in System. This highlighted the term Solar System, and the X-Ray window popped up, showing me the definition that I had typed for it in KDP. You can see it in the picture above. (You can’t see the highlighted term. I had to zoom in or you wouldn’t be able to see the X-Ray text well.)
The picture above shows how the X-Ray tool looks after you access it from your KDP Bookshelf.
Learn more about X-Ray for authors via the following KDP help page:
Also see the X-Ray Tips and Tricks page at KDP:
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
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Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
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Oddly enough I was looking at X-ray just today. I can see it being quite useful for non-fiction but I don’t think I’d want it for fiction. I like to stay immersed in a story and work things out from context. I know I’m not ‘everybody’ but…
On the other hand, a more sophisticated lookup feature might be nice if, say, the story referenced a piece of music or a famous painting. Being able to actually listen to that music or have a quick look at the painting would be interesting.
lol by next year we’ll probably have a whole stack of new tech to get excited about. 🙂
That’s a good point. As far as I can tell, X-Ray seems unobtrusive. It’s handy for readers who want it, without bothering those who don’t (unless I missed something).
I read fantasy, and can see it being helpful with made-up places and people, especially in a series where it’s been a while since I read the previous volume. I can see the benefits with historical fiction, too.
Though stopping the flow of a good story to look something up… I see your point. Maybe if something I can’t remember has me distracted enough that I’ve already paused?
‘Maybe if something I can’t remember has me distracted enough that I’ve already paused?’
lol – yes! I guess the trick is to guess when/where that point will be. 😀
Your comment did make me think though. My very first novel was about aliens and I included a Vokh to English dictionary at the back. It was handy both for the bits of the language I used and also as a way of ‘explaining’ world facts without appearing to do so.
If I ever get round to creating a print version of that book I may update the ebook with X-ray as well.
X-ray would definitely help for Vokh. 🙂
-grin- Okay, it’s on my to-do list now. 😀
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog.
Thank you for the reblog. 🙂
Welcome, Chris – Thank YOU for writing the post 😀
Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
Check out this great post from Chris McMullen’s blog on adding X-Ray to your kindle eBook
Thank you for sharing. 🙂
My pleasure. Great post.
When did you write this?! And how did I miss it? My brain is about to explode with all the possibilities! Now, I’m not going to get anything else done today, because I will be sitting on the couch with a notebook and my books, going through them page by page…
It reminds me of the last time that I made an index for a print book.
Kari, don’t go through your books before you register the X-Ray for them because (a) you get a lot of suggestions and (b) you can work through using the system to pick up others you want to add.
Reblogged this on Stevie Turner, Indie Author. and commented:
I’m going to have to try this. Thanks for the info, Chris.
You’re welcome, and thank you for the reblog. 🙂
Good info for authors.
Reblogged this on Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung – Aus und über Eslarn, sowie die bayerisch-tschechische Region!.
Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Reblogged this on Anna Dobritt — Author.
Thank you for the reblog. 🙂
I did the X-Ray comments for my first book while I was waiting for something else to happen in my publishing world. I suppose I’d better get around to publishing those X-Ray comments – but is there any way of getting comments to work across series? I’d hate to have to do all the same comments every time (although maybe as it’s a series I can leave the reader to learn as they go!)
That would be a good suggestion to submit to KDP. I found myself in the same situation yesterday. It looks like the best solution is copy and paste for now.
Reblogged this on Viv Drewa – The Owl Lady.
Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Reblogged this on Writer's Treasure Chest and commented:
Chris McMullen provides us with an excellent blog post on how to add x-ray to our kindle e-book. Thanks for all your efforts Chris.
You’re welcome. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
My pleasure, Chris. It’s a great article!
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