Many options exist for how to publish on Kindle, and making changes to a book that has already been published comes with its own set of challenges. Novelist Larry Crane would like to share some tips and tricks he’s learned along the way.
I submitted my eBook to Amazon at the beginning of June this year, thinking it was as good as I could get it. After a month or so, I discovered some problems with the book of my own making. I revised it and re-submitted. On the following morning, it was “up” on Amazon with all of my corrections. Great. However, I had spent hours trying to figure out how to do it. In this post, I will explain how I finally accomplished this revision. It may make someone else’s revision easier.
Rather than trying to provide comprehensive instructions covering every possible situation, I will restrict my focus to my specific case, one that fits a lot if not most people publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing. First, I have a Windows PC. Second, I originally submitted a mobi file to Amazon that I paid someone to prepare for me. This should be a warning sign to readers who are having problems with complex formatting issues. My instructions are not for you. My revisions were all simple deletions, corrections, and rewording. Nothing complicated.
No matter what format you used in submitting your book to Amazon initially, once Amazon successfully converts it, it exists in mobi format on your computer, assuming that you downloaded a copy from Amazon. Now you want to make simple changes to it. This is the file you make changes on. You correct your file, then you upload it to Amazon and it is converted by them, overwriting the original file.
To this day I still do not know how to open a mobi file for editing. Everyone knows it’s simplicity itself to “unzip” the mobi file as some Google whiz instructs, correct? Well, not really. It’s more complicated than that. At least to me it is. I recommend you work with an ePub file to make your corrections. It is easy. Let me tell you how.
You need to download two free programs from the internet. Calibre is a comprehensive program that among many other cool things can “move existing content and layout from one format to another.” It can convert a mobi file into an ePub file. This is essential because there is a second program that makes it possible to revise a document that is in ePub format. It’s called Sigil.
To use Calibre to convert your mobi file to Epub format, you select Add a Book from the calibre menu. You navigate in your computer to your mobi file and select it (click on it) as the book you’re adding. It now appears in the Calibre Library. You then highlight your mobi book in the Calibre Library. Select Convert Books from the Calibre menu. The Conversion Window Opens. Make “MOBI” the input format and “EPUB” the output format in the Conversion Window. Click “Okay” at the bottom of the window. Voila.! You now have your book in ePub format. Now you can make your corrections using Sigil.
Go to Sigil. Select File Open and navigate on your computer to your ePub Book. Click on it and wait for it to open in Sigil. The program creates sections of the book that are listed on the left. Click on the sections to locate the part of your book you want to revise. Make your simple revisions. A this point, I recommend saving one copy of your revised Epub file to your desktop for uploading to Amazon, and another identical copy to a folder on your computer where you can easily find it should you want to make other revisions to your book in the future using Sigil without having to convert it first.
It is at this point that you go to Amazon and follow the instructions for submitting your book, just as you originally did. When you reach step 6 of the KDP instructions for correcting your book after it’s been published, it’s your corrected ePub file on your desktop that you can upload from your computer, even if the original file you submitted was not an ePub file, as was the case with me. Amazon will convert this ePub file of yours. And as Amazon says: “The new converted file will overwrite the old file within 24-48 hours”. Is this all perfectly clear?
Have you had to revise a published Kindle file? How was your process similar or different than the one Larry just described?
You can connect with Larry Crane and his social websites via his blog
Transplanted Mid-westerner Larry Crane brings a Heartland sensibility to his writing. Larry graduated from West Point and served nearly seven years in the Army. He commuted to Wall Street for nearly 20 years from his home in New Jersey, and did much of his early writing on the train. His writing includes articles for outdoor magazines, plays, short fiction, and his most recent thriller novel, A Bridge to Treachery. In his spare time, Crane is a hobbyist videographer for his local Public Access Television Station and is a volunteer at his local historical society. Larry and wife Jan live in splendid isolation on the coast of Maine.
All other images and permissions appear courtesy of Larry Crane.