Self-Publishing a New Edition? Get Rid of the Old One First!


Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing, 3rd Edition is almost here, so it’s time to address the woes involved in bringing out a new edition. Don’t forget that in the Self-Printed 3.0 build up we’ve already talked about closing the Facebook and not doing what Goodreads tells us anymore, if you need something to read with your coffee today.

See also the end of this post for Self-Printed 3.0 buying options and a chance to see Self-Printed: LIVE! (AKA, me doing a self-publishing workshop) if you live within driving distance of Dalkey, Co. Dublin and are free on October 19th…


An Update Versus A New Edition

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I’m not talking about releasing an update. An update is when you take a published book and make a few changes to it, maybe update some hyperlinks, correct a few typos or even spruce up the cover a notch. You don’t change the ISBN (but note that you should change the ISBN if the changes are significant) and all you need do is upload a new interior/e-book file.

A new edition is exactly what it says on the tin: a new edition and so a different edition to the one you released before. It needs a new ISBN, because it’s a different book – and yes, you’re going to have go back to the start and publish it from scratch.

(Does this mean you’re going to lose all your shiny reviews? Unfortunately yes, but more on that in a second.)

What About The Old One?

On September 1st I went to CreateSpace and unselected all my sales channels on Self-Printed 2.0. This means the book still exists – I can still buy copies myself through CreateSpace – but it’s not for sale anywhere else. Then I went to KDP and selected ‘Unpublish’ next to 2.0 on my dashboard, making the e-book unavailable for sale and changing its status to ‘Draft’. Finally I instructed, who distribute the title to all other e-book channels, to withdraw the files from sale.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.35.11

This is just what happens when a book suddenly becomes unavailable. Imagine the Amazon Algorithm Elves freaking out, looking for some stock to back up the listing they have on the site. Eventually they found some secondhand/Market Place sellers, so the listing changed to this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.15.37

Meanwhile over on, new copies are still available. Why? Well, this ties back to the fact that sometimes a order of your paperback on Amazon doesn’t necessarily add to your unpaid royalty balance – because it’s already been printed and you get paid at the print. I assume this is what’s going on here – Amazon already has a number of physical copies and they’re letting the stock run down. When I first withdrew it, this figure was at six. Why are people still buying the 2nd Edition when on the same list you can see that a newer one is forthcoming? I don’t know but I do know I’m not responsible. I’ve done what I can to withdraw the book from sale.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.17.45

I also had to remember to go to Gumroad, which supports my purchase-from-me-direct e-book store here on my blog (currently offline; look for it again in a few weeks), and remove all the files from sale there as well.

The Kindle listings, meanwhile, just completely disappear.

Note: you cannot get rid of an Amazon listing for a paperback. The Kindle edition listing may disappear but the paperback’s will always remain, even when the book is out of print. (This is so if anyone has a copy they want to sell through Marketplace, they have a listing to attach it to.) But you can – and you must – make your earlier edition unavailable. It’s just not fair on your potential readers otherwise.

But What If I Bought 2.0?

Round about the time I released 2.0, I got three increasingly angry e-mails from a man who had purchased 1.0 and now wanted 2.0 for free. I ignored them all, and the end of the third one was a reminder not to get too big for my boots and to remember who my friends are.

Oh for… I mean, really. Give me a BREAK.

If you’re my friend – and I don’t expect you to be, I expect you to be my reader – you would surely not begrudge me 70% of USD $4.99 for 130,000 words that I’ve just spent months updating and revising. Even if you hate e-books and only read in print, the print edition is the same price as 3-4 venti lattes at Starbucks and it can make you money. In fact, you’d only have to sell about 8 e-books priced at $2.99 before you have earned the money back that you paid out for my book.

Moreover just because you bought an earlier edition of something does not mean you’re entitled to newer ones. Do you see Microsoft sending out free Xboxes every time they bring out a new version? Does Apple send me a brand new Macbook every year? Does your car manufacturer show up every January 1st with a new set of keys? OF COURSE THEY BLOODY DON’T. And we’re talking about something that costs a tiny, minute fraction of what those items cost.

If you bought an earlier Kindle edition, you may have a genuine, non-greedy question about whether or not you’ll get an update for free, as Kindle sends out free updates if you’ve purchased an earlier version of the book. But no, you won’t receive Self-Printed 3.0, because it’s an entirely different book. Remember: it’s not a new version (read: update), it’s a new edition (read: new book). It will be in no way connected to 2.0, so Amazon can’t automatically deliver it to you. Sorry!

Where/When/How To Buy Self-Printed 3.0

It’s hard to estimate exactly when all editions will be available when you self-publish, so although some formats may be available before this date, I’m going with October 16th just to be safe.

It will be available in all major e-book formats and paperback, priced at $4.99 for e-book and $18.95 for paperback. This is a price hike on the paperback edition, yes – before it was $14.95. Why am I charging more this time out? Because I woke up. I was always thinking about my book prices in dollars, and $15 for a thick 6×9 paperback sounded like about as much as I’d pay. But actually, here in Ireland, those same size traditionally-published books are €14.99 if you’re lucky and up to €18 if you’re not. (That’s just under $19 and just over $22.) Although I was doing alright profit-wise on purchases, I was merely making slivers of it on all other retailers. Normally I’d say your paperback profit isn’t that important, but Self-Printed generally sells as many or more paperbacks than it does e-books. Plus, it’s worth it. I think so anyway. 130,000 words that are designed to help you make money? I think that’s worth the extra couple of bucks.

I will be selling it directly from My E-book Store too but PLEASE NOTE: if you purchase it from here, you’ll have to manually download the file and then transfer it to your Kindle like you would any other file that you download from the internet and need to, say, transfer to a USB stick. (If you’re wondering why anyone would need this told to them, let me direct you to my Inbox. Let’s just say when you’re used to buying Kindle books by clicking a button and then watching them magically appear, you don’t understand the process when it happens anywhere else. Think of that YouTube clip of a child stabbing a magazine, thinking it works like an iPad…)

Sometimes I’m asked where I’d prefer you to buy my books from. Um, hello? Are you kidding? I’m doing cartwheels that you’re buying it at all. Buy it from wherever is most convenient for you!

You can pre-order the Kindle edition of Self-Printed 3.0 from Amazon now here and all other Amazons too if you go look. 

(I hope it goes without saying that you can’t pre-order the paperback.)

A Plea for Reviews

Because Self-Printed 3.0 is an entirely new book, it means I’m starting off from scratch again with Amazon reviews. Yes, I have to say goodbye to 35 5* reviews on and 39 5* star reviews on (yes, I’ve counted) but I’ve no choice because Amazon will not connect them if they’re significantly different books, which they are. So please, if you do read Self-Printed 3.0, please leave a review too!


Dalkey Creates

I’m running a self-publishing workshop at Dalkey Creates in Dalkey, Co. Dublin on October 19th. You can find out more and book tickets here.

Have you released a new edition? Did you update the existing one or start afresh? How did it go? Let us all know in the comments below… 

22 thoughts on “Self-Publishing a New Edition? Get Rid of the Old One First!

  1. pooks says:

    I just spent an amazing research trip in Cork [pronounced Cark by the locals!] last October. I am in looove. Youghal will figure prominently in my new book. I’m so happy to have discovered you and your blog at the perfect time–before I bought 2.0 and without having to wait long for 3.0.

  2. davidgaughran says:

    Oh I have some HILARIOUS things to tell you about how I tried to do things in a different way. I just need to deal with this rolling clusterfudge of a launch first…

      • davidgaughran says:

        Thanks Catherine, you too.

        The short version is that I wanted to upload the 2nd ed. over the 1st ed. so that everyone who purchased the old version could get the new one free.

        What I didn’t realise is that Amazon won’t let those people download the 2nd ed. until it has passed some review by the Kindle Content Quality Team. The worst part is that if they try to download the update via Manage My Kindle, they get the OLD version with the NEW cover… yeah. Not good.

        So people who bought the 1st ed. couldn’t buy the 2nd ed. from Amazon. And they couldn’t download it free either.

        Totally should have done it as a separate book with new ASIN etc. Lesson learned…

        • catherineryanhoward says:

          Yeah, I e-mailed someone about it back when I was updating Mousetrapped (back in the day!!) and they basically said that if there’d been any significant changes I had to go with a new book, and therefore it would be entirely separate and there would be no free Kindle update. Annoying. This book is really different to the previous version so I’m not too annoyed, but the people who bought the 1st one should really have been able to download the 2nd at no extra cost, as it wasn’t THAT different. When I asked about reviews they said you could submit a request to have them linked – because I’ve definitively seen “refers to a previous edition” on reviews on Amazon – but ultimately they said the books were too different. And this was a book with typos corrected, no new material. Sometimes I despair, I really do… 😀

          • davidgaughran says:

            My favorite part is Amazon reps telling my readers that they can’t download the update because of Quality issues.

            Of course, there’s no issue with the update, it’s that the Quality Team has to approve it before they can download without going via a rep. Not quite the same thing…

            *eats fist all the way up to elbow*

            All seems to be fixed now though.

  3. Joel D Canfield says:

    Haven’t yet, but most of my nonfiction should be put out to pasture or reinvented.

    How do your most groveling fans get an autographed copy? Yeah, shipping here there and everywhere. Whatever. I’m certain the autographed print version tastes; er, smells better than the Kindle version and is worth the extra cost. To me, I mean. Not like you should pay for the privilege of giving me a book.

  4. shegyes says:

    I cannot wait for the new release! I discovered 2.0 and actually wished I had a copy of 1.0 so I could see the changes between the two. I’ve read 2.0 several times (some parts more than others) and I’m excited to see what comes of 3.0. And yes, I plan on getting the paperback version. 😀

  5. Ruth Nina Welsh says:

    Hi Catherine,
    It was back in 2012 that your book helped me set up a website to showcase my things and to believe that I could release some written work, in time, of my own writing. Thank you for all the work you’ve done (and do) – I’m off to pre-order the 3rd edition. Good luck with it all!

  6. elizabethraine says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, but I haven’t bought self printed in huge past- for what’s it’s worth to you, I am very excited about the new edition and plan on preordering it. I think it says something sad about our society that people will stand in line for hours for phones that are nearly identical to the ones they already have, but get angry about paying for new and different editions of old books.

      • David Lawrenson says:

        Thanks Catherine
        I will try.
        As a matter of interest, the publishers are pretty useless on all things like this…. they keep telling me to sort out the problem through Author Central, but I’m getting nowhere with AC.
        Having got your advice though, I will persist with the publishers because as I see it they ought to be able to just delete the old edition because it surely lives in a “virtual space”
        Their uselessness is just another reason to self publish…. more material for your next edition I think…. You would think they must have encountered the issue before and would stand ready to help or at least give advice to their authors on what to do themselves to sort it out.
        Thought your book on self publishing was super – read it twice on my hols in Greece over last fortnight, Will write review last this week
        David (Bernie Marsden on Amazon)

        • catherineryanhoward says:

          David first of all, let’s not generalize. The publishing company I work with are great on things like this.

          Second of all, you cannot delete Amazon listings. This is so if anyone in the future has a copy of your old edition to sell as a used book, there is a listing to match it to. What you are aiming for here is for your newest edition to appear at the top of search results, or for the message “a newer version of this title is available” to appear on listings for the old one. Telling you to sort it out through AC is pointless as there is no facility for deleting/removing books on that.

          • David Lawrenson says:

            Good advice -thanks
            Posted review of your book at Amazon….. I go under name of Bernie Marsden

            Final observation – I do rather feel amazon are too dominant, and I do fear that they will start to use their market dominance to screw authors hard in the future. I think you are perhaps over-kind to them in the book, and maybe if you are like me, you are already a little scared of upsetting them even in the customer reviews one writes.
            Plus I abhor their attitude to paying their taxes.

            We really need a decent set of competitors to them, with luck they will be arrogant and make lots of errors to allow some competition in. See RBS, Marconi and a litany of past great companies.

Comments are closed.