How to Be a Better Writer #4: Revise!



Good on you! You’ve published your novel and it’s on digital bookshelves everywhere. Then you get a note from your outspoken cousin Tom. He loves the book…but he found a typo in chapter two. Ugh!

Back when all books were ink on paper, you would’ve been out of luck. Thank goodness it’s the Digital Age. Fixing errors is no big deal — at least in your e-edition.

Notice how I said “errors” there? It’s entirely possible that Cousin Tom’s discovery is the only typo you and your editor didn’t catch, but just in case there are others, save your future self some work and proof your published book once more, noting necessary updates as you go. That way, you’ll need just one revision. The process takes a little time, and you want your readers (current and future ones alike) to have that flawless copy ASAP.

Both Kindle Direct Publishing [link:] and NOOK Press [link:] give you the option to make corrections to a published manuscript. Not surprisingly, their services are a little bit different. Here’s how each one works.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Updating your Kindle ebook is pretty darn simple. You fix your book file, upload the new version, and KDP will convert your text, just like it did with your original upload. It takes a day or two for the new version to be available for readers to download to their devices, but once it’s done, you’re all set.

Unless, that is, you want to share the update news with folks who’ve already purchased your ebook. First, get in touch with a KDP customer service rep (through the handy “Contact Us” link) and explain what changes you made. You’ll hear from the team within four weeks. If they determine it’s a big enough update, they’ll send an email alert to everyone who’s bought the Kindle edition of your book. Readers won’t be notified about smaller changes, but they can still get the newest version on their device. (In addition, if something goes awry with your upload, the customer service department work with you to resolve the issue. But let’s hope you don’t have to worry about that.)

Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Press
If you’re a NOOK author, you know you had a couple of format choices when you uploaded the first version of your book. Same applies for revised manuscripts. You can overwrite an epub file simply by re-uploading a new one. Your book will remain on sale during the transition process, and the new-and-improved version will pop up within 72 hours.

When it comes to other NOOK Press-supported file types, you’ll have to use the publisher’s Manuscript Editor. Just make your changes and put the book on sale. The same 72-hour turnaround time applies.

Unlike Amazon, Barnes & Noble doesn’t alert present ebook owners of changes. But if you’re able to share the news yourself, those who’ve bought the original version of your NOOK Book can get the new one by deleting and re-downloading it. (And yay — it’s free.)

Spread the Word
Some authors like readers to know their book has been updated; others keep mum. If you’re in the later camp, there’s nothing more to do.

If you want to broadcast the update news to future readers — if an online reviewer mentions typos, for example — you have a couple of options. Consider uploading a new copy of your cover that includes artwork that simply says, “Revised Version” or “Second Edition.” (Psst: You’ll want to do something similar when your book is sporting a shiny new B.R.A.G Medallion!)

You can also include this info in the ebook’s description at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. After the potential reader is hooked on the topic, mention the update with copy like, “This new edition was released in August 2014.”

And use your other digital tools: post an update on your author website, send an email blast to your newsletter list and hit up social media. Generate some buzz among your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…and, sure, it’s old-school, but let’s not forget good old word of mouth. I suggest you start with Cousin Tom.

Have you updated an ebook? What was your experience? How did your fans react? Did you see a jump in reviews? Do tell!

I’d love to know how I can help you become a better writer. Email me your thoughts at Or click over to my website,, to learn more about me and my work.

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