While updating my Ebook is quick and easy, I have been nervous about the process involved in updating the printed edition of the story. I’m sure my hesitance is due to the fact that any changes to the printed edition requiring a writer to go through the whole process of getting a new ISBN number and creating the whole distribution of the book from square one. You would think this would be easy since as the author we have the original file to recreate the original from, but that is not always as easy as it would seem to be.
The Ebook and the Printed book are two different files and the formatting, at least for Amazon, responds differently to the template Amazon offers. Not to mention, each web site that you work with seems to require a different template, depending on which way you decide to publish.
Initially I self-published my book on Amazon, which is a double process requiring two separate templates. You don’t realize this until you finish your CreateSpace upload and then suddenly you’re forwarded to Kindle Direct Publishing and things don’t transfer correctly. By the time you finish you now have to finished template that you are required to use. Unfortunately, both of these templates happen to not be compatible with websites such as Smashwords or LuLu and I’m sure many other self-publishing web sites. On a side note, amazingly enough if you go from the Smashwords direction, their templates seem to be compatible across the board, a nice tidbit of information to know ahead of time.
You might ask why I just didn’t publish with Smashwords and push everything out to the various websites that way. First off, I didn’t know about Smashwords at first. Second, I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with how Amazon promotes third party website books. Lastly, most of my sales come from Amazon, so I would rather do whatever is needed to make sure I don’t interfere with how Amazon treats my works. Maybe they do nothing differently, but there are enough strange things that happen within the Indie Writer world in comparison to the professionally published writers that I don’t want any unpleasant surprises. Do a quick search on “Self Published Writers” & “reviews disappearing” and see what I mean. Publishers have paid reviews that review their writer’s books, but it’s very difficult to get reviews on Indie Writer’s books in the same way. Also, if I moved completely to Smashwords I would lose my current sales ranking, which typically shits in a decent spot.
On Amazon, you have to publish a physical book before you are allowed to publish an ebook. The print ready graphics for your physical book is not the same requirements for your ebook or your audio book, if you decide to go that route. So, by the time you get your first Amazon book published you are sitting with a minimum of two different templates and two to three print ready covers. Also, if you joined the Amazon Writer’s Contest, you also have yet another template, so now you’re up to three book templates and three covers … not to mention all of the attempts when you were discovering exactly what size of book you needed to publish your print novel.
The good thing is that if you end up doing a template for Smashwords or LuLu or whatever, you still have only three templates, since you can now use your Smashword template for Amazon. This might not sound like much, but it typically turns out to be more than you realize. I’m pretty organized, but even I have folders and folders worth of templates of previous versions of the word template for my novel and different graphic covers in various formats and designs.
If you are making emergency changes to your ebook because you’ve had some person blast you in a review about a mistake you missed. Your ebook’s template is probably in pretty good shape, but unless you are extremely disciplined I imagine your printed template is probably not in as good of shape. Using myself as an example, I’m probably on my eight editions of my ebook and my first edition for the printed book.
There are so many changes that it was just easier to start from my printed edition from scratch. Unfortunately, I had major issues with using my Smashword template. It was so bad that I ended up spending four hours to get everything reformatted. Annoying, but my wife wants to be able to give a couple copies of my book to some of her family and friends. She would have just taken the first edition, but I was too embarrassed for that, so hence a night of whacking my print edition into shape.
The only additional advice I would give is to make sure you keep all of your Author, edition and novel names completely the same so that the system picks up your new edition properly. If not you will need to work with Amazon’s Help Desk to get everything linked properly, which is a pain in the butt.
Hope my experiences with this helps those of you doing this for the first time.