[This article was last updated on December 2, 2020. If you think this article needs improvement or updating, please contact us by clicking the little icon at the bottom right of your browser!]
You can write a Leanpub book using Dropbox. In this section we'll show you how to create a book and generate your first preview.
Once you have successfully generated your first preview, you'll know everything you know to get started writing in the Dropbox writing mode.
You'll find more information and detailed instructions on the "Getting Started" page for your book, which you'll go to automatically when you create your book.
(Also, if you ever run into an issue or have any questions, here is a short article with guidelines for authors to answers and solutions as quickly as possible!)
Creating a Book in Dropbox Writing Mode
Go to https://leanpub.com/create/book to create a new book in Dropbox.
Next, type a title for your book into the "TITLE" box. You can change your title later.
Click in the "BOOK URL" box. Leanpub will automatically suggest a URL for your book's web page on Leanpub. You can change this URL at any time.
Scroll down and you will see "MAIN LANGUAGE USED IN YOUR BOOK." You can select a language from the drop-down. Like the other settings, you can change this at any time.
Scroll down and you will see the "BOOK THEME" options. "Business" will be selected by default. The Book Theme is just a set of standard formatting options conventional for books on these subjects. You are not required to choose any particular option. You can change your Book Theme at any time.
In the section below, you will be presented with various Writing Mode options:
Select the "On your computer" option:
The Dropbox option that will appear now, will be selected by default:
Next, enter your Dropbox email address:
When you scroll down, you will see the subscription plan options. By default, "Standard" will be selected, if you are setting up your first book in Leanpub.
Select a plan.
Scroll down and, if you are not signed in to a Leanpub account, you will see an option to enter information to create a new account. You will also see an option to sign in, if you already have a Leanpub account.
To create a new account, fill in the relevant information.
Please note that if you are writing in our Dropbox writing mode, you should use the same email address for Leanpub as you do for your Dropbox account. If you don't have Dropbox account, you can get one for free here.
If you selected a monthly account, you'll see a form for entering your payment information:
If this is the first Leanpub book you have created, you will see a page that is asking you to verify your email address:
If you check your email, you should see a message from Leanpub with the subject line:
[Leanpub] Thanks for trying Leanpub! Please verify your email address...
The contents of the email will say:
Click the link that says: "Click here to verify your email address."
You will now be taken to the Getting Started page for your book:
If you use bookmarks in your web browser, we recommend you bookmark this page in your web browser in a bookmark folder for your book, but this is not required.
(To learn more about navigating around Leanpub as an author, please read this article when you have finished this Getting Started walkthrough. We'll link to the article again at the end of this walkthrough, but just wanted you to let you know about it now.)
Setting Up Your Book In Dropbox
When you clicked the button to create your book, Leanpub's Bookbot created a folder for your book in Dropbox, and sent a Dropbox shared folder invitation to the email address you used when you signed up.
It may take one or two minutes for you to receive the Dropbox shared folder invitation.
To accept the invitation, you can click on the Dropbox icon in the menu bar for your computer (these images are on a Mac; if you are using a PC, it will look different.)
Click "Add to Dropbox."
Alternatively, you can accept the invitation by logging in to Dropbox. You should see the book invitation near the top of the "Home" screen:
If you click on the invitation, you will be able to click "Add to Dropbox:"
Another way to accept the Dropbox invitation is in your email. Here is what it looks like in Gmail:
If you open the email, you should see a button that takes you to your Dropbox account in your browser, and then lets you accept the invitation:
Within a minute or two, in your Dropbox folder on your computer, you should see the folder for your new book:
Creating a Preview
To create your first preview, using the default content we included in your new book, go back the Getting Started page for your book:
Next, click on the
Versions link you’ll see in the horizontal menu at the top of the page, which will take you to the Preview page for your book:
Scroll down until you see the blue "Create Preview" button:
Click the "Create Preview" button. You will go to a page like this, where you will see a progress bar at the top:
When the preview process is complete, you will see download links for the preview, in a variety of formats:
Click on the download links to see what your book looks like in the various formats.
Writing in Your Book
Open your book folder in Dropbox. You'll see a folder named `manuscript` inside it. This is where you write your book.
If you have just created a new book, the `manuscript` folder will contain four files with the file name extension `.txt`. There will also be a folder called `resources`:
Open the file called `chapter1.txt` by double-clicking on it. You can also open the file in any specific text editing software you prefer.
Next, delete the contents of the file and type:
# Chapter 1
In your text editor, save this change.
Make a New Preview of Your Book
The next time you create a preview of your book, you will see that Chapter One has changed, and it now says "Hello, world!"
To create a new preview, repeat what you did when you made your first preview, by using the Author menu in Leanpub to go to:
`Author > Books > [Your Book Title] > Preview or Publish > Preview`
How the List of Files in Book.txt Works
When you create a preview, you may not want our book generators to use all of the files in your `manuscript` folder. Also, you may want the contents of your book to reflect a different order than the order they are presented in, in your `manuscript` folder.
So, whenever you create a preview, our friendly bookbots generate your book using only the files that you have listed in the `Book.txt` file that is in your book's `manuscript` folder, and they use those files in the order that you have listed them.
Let's see how this works.
First, delete a file. In your book's `manuscript` folder, select the file named `chapter3.txt` and delete it.
Now, let's rename a file. The files listed in `Book.txt` can have any name you want to give them. (To be clear, the files do not have to include the word "chatper" in the file name.)
In your book's `manuscript` folder, select the file `chapter2.txt`.
Now, change the file name to `conclusion.txt` by right-clicking on the file and selecting "Rename." **(Your computer might show a different word than "Rename," but there should be an option to change any file's name if you right-click on the file.)
Now that we have changed the files in the `manuscript` folder, we need to update the list of files in the `Book.txt` file.
Using your text editor, open the `Book.txt` file.
In the `Book.txt` file, you will see this list of files, like this:
First, delete `chapter2.txt`. Then, delete `chapter3.txt`.
Next, on the second line, type `conclusion.txt`.
Now, your list of files in Book.txt will look like this:
Next, open the file `conclusion.txt`.
Now, delete everthing in the file, and type this:
This book is **done** and ready for *the world to see*, hooray!
Finally, save this change your text editor.
Go back to the preview page for your book at:
`Author > Books > [Your Book Title] > Preview or Publish > Preview`
The next time you create a preview, it will reflect the changes you have made.
**Congratulations!** You've completed the Getting Started tutorial for writing a book in Leanpub using Dropbox.
Next, we recommend you explore the Overview page for your book, by clicking on the
Overview link in the menu at the top of the page:
On the Overview page, you can see all the pages you need to get your book set up on Leanpub, like "Upload Book Cover" and the "Book Details" page, where you can explain what your book is about to potential readers.
For information on how to upload a book cover, please go here.
If you haven't done so already, we would also recommend you set up your author profile information here.
To learn more about navigating around Leanpub as an author, please read this article.
You might also want to check out the Markua manual here:
Markua is the name of the manuscript markup system you use to write books in plain text on Leanpub. It’s easy to learn the basics you need to write most books. In fact you know some Markua already: in this tutorial, when you created the `Conclusion` chapter, you learned to type # at the beginning of a line to make a chapter heading!
If you have any questions or can't find anything, please search our Help Center for authors here: http://help.leanpub.com/author-help.
You can also search for answers and post questions yourself on our Authors Forum: