Use Leanpub to Self-Publish a Book by Writing in Your Web Browser
It's easy to create PDF and EPUB ebook files on Leanpub, using our Browser writing mode!
You can then self-publish your Leanpub-generated ebook files anywhere you like, including on Amazon KDP, Apple Books, Google Play, and elsewhere.
And of course, with just the click of a button, you can also publish your ebook any time on Leanpub's bookstore, and start earning 80% royalties on every Leanpub sale!
Finally, you can also use Leanpub to create a Print-Ready PDF that you can upload to print-on-demand services, so you can get your book into print, too!
In this article, we'll show you how to write your book on Leanpub and create ebook files from your manuscript, in just a few minutes!
We'll also show you how you can publish your book on Leanpub's bookstore, after adding a book cover image, a book description, and setting up your Leanpub author profile.
OK, here we go!
Creating a New Book
First, go to https://leanpub.com/create/book to create a new book on Leanpub:
Next, type a title for your book into the "TITLE" box. You can change your title later.
Scroll down and 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.
In the section below, you will be presented with various writing mode options. By default, the "Browser" option will be selected, which is what we want for this tutorial:
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:
For this tutorial, we're going to select the Free 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.
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:
On this page, you will find helpful information that we recommend you read at some point.
However, for this tutorial, let's just dive in to the Write tab, where you will spend your time writing your book!
The Write Tab
To go to the Write tab, click "Write" in the horizontal menu at the top of the page:
You will now be taken directly to the page where you will be writing your book:
If you use bookmarks in your web browser, we recommend you bookmark this page in your web browser, but of course this is not required.
When you first go to the Write tab for your book, you will see some default content, which briefly explains how to write a Leanpub book:
For example, if you want to do italics, you *surround the words with asterisks, like this*.
You will also see a list of "Manuscript" files at the top left:
Creating a Preview
Before we start writing, let’s create a Preview of our book from the default chapter content already provided by Leanpub.
A “Preview” is a private version of your book you can create at any time, to see what your ebook files look like.
To do this, click on "Versions" in the horizontal menu at the top of the page
This will take you to the Preview page for your book:
Next, scroll down and click the blue “Create Preview” button at the bottom of the page:
You will now see a progress bar at the top of the page. This shows the steps carried out by Leanpub’s book generators, every time you create a new Preview:
When the process is complete, you’ll see the download links for your book:
Click the top link to download the PDF version of your Preview:
Here’s what Chapter One in the PDF looks like:
Notice it's the same content we saw before, from the Write tab, but now it's in an ebook!
(Please note that your computer or device might not open the PDF automatically. If it does not open automatically when the download completes, to open the PDF, you’ll need to go to the folder on your computer where you keep files downloaded from the web.)
Writing In Your Book
OK, now let’s do some writing!
Let’s go back to the Write page for your book. To do that, click on "Write" again in the horizontal menu at the top of the page:
This will take you back to the Write page again:
To write, click into the main area on the page, hit Return (or Enter) a couple of times, and type something like Hello World!
(You will notice that when you clicked into the writing area, some menus went away. We put you into this "focus" mode to make it easier for you to focus when you're writing.)
Any changes you type in the writing area will be saved automatically, which you can see at the top right:
Now, let's change the title of this section of the book from # Chapter One to # Introduction. Just click into the writing area, delete Chapter One, and type Introduction:
The # at the beginning of the line tells Leanpub's book generators that this is a unique part of the book that will automatically be included in the book's Table of Contents, like a new chapter.
Click on the left to get out of focus mode, and you will see that changing this does not actually change the name of the file:
These file names are only visible to you, and you can name them whatever you want!
Most people do want the file name to match the chapter heading, however.
So, let's rename this file.
To rename the file hover the mouse near the file name, until you see the little gear wheel icon:
Click on the gear wheel icon, and you will see a File Settings box appear, like this:
Click in the File Name box, and select Chapter 1:
Next, type "Introduction":
Finally, click on "Save Changes":
You will see that the file has now been renamed to "Introduction":
Next, let's delete a file.
Hover the mouse over Chapter 2 under the "Manuscript" menu, until you see the gear wheel icon:
Click on the gear wheel icon to bring up the File Settings box:
We want to delete this chapter, so next, click the red “Delete File” button:
You will now see a warning. Click OK to accept the change:
The file name will now disappear from the menu at the left:
OK, now let's create a new chapter!
In the menu on the left, click on the + sign in the circle:
You will now see a box appear, where you can type a name for your new chapter:
Let’s name this new file "Conclusion". First, type Conclusion in the box:
Then, click the blue OK button:
You will now be in a new file that is named “Conclusion”:
Now, you will see a blinking cursor in the Write tab. Type something like the following in the writing area:
This book is **done** and ready for *the world to see*, hooray!
Note that double asterisks ** on either side of a word or phrase will make the word or phrase bold.
Adding Images To Your Book
Next, let's see how we can add an image to our book!
To add an image to your book, click "Resources" in the vertical menu at the left:
This will take you to the "Resources" tab, which you will has one image file in it already, called palm-trees.jpg:
If you looked through the rest of the preview we made earlier, you would have seen the image in Chapter Two:
To add your own image, in the menu on the left, click on the plus sign:
Click on the "Choose File" button:
Navigate on your computer to the image you want to use. What this looks like will depend on your operating system. Here's what it looks like in a Mac:
Click "Open" (or the equivalent button you see on your computer) to add the image as a resource on your book:
Currently it's a bit unclear, but if you look you can see the filename, indicating that the file is ready to be added:
Now, click the "Add" button:
You will now see the file listed in the Resources tab:
Hover your mouse over the filename and click the document icon:
This will copy the text you need to your clipboard, and will take you back to the Write page:
Now, click into the text and hit Return (or Enter) a couple of times under the first sentence. Then paste in the text you copied to your clipboard (you can do this by clicking Command + V on a Mac, or Ctrl + V on a PC).
You will now see that you have pasted in the text you need to add an image in Markua:
Now, let's add a caption to the image, by typing something in between the square brackets [ ]:
OK, the image has been added to the book!
Creating A New Preview
Next, let’s make a new Preview, to see what the book looks like now. Click Versions again, at the top of the page:
This will take you back to the Preview page for your book:
Scroll down and click on the Create Preview button, to generate a new Preview of your book:
When the process completes, you will see the links, with an updated time stamp:
Click on the PDF download link at the top, like you did earlier in this walkthrough:
You will now see "Introduction" and "Conclusion" in the Table of Contents:
Next, go to Chapter One, and you’ll see "Hello World!" there:
Finally, go to the end of the PDF, to see the image with the caption:
Publishing Your Ebook
When you're happy with these preview ebook files, you're ready to use them to self-publish your book anywhere you like online!
As we mentioned above, we also have a Print-Ready PDF export option, so with one click you can also generate the file you need to use a print-on-demand service, to self-publish your book in print.
If you want to customize your book's colophon page (the page after the cover page) before publishing your book, please see this article.
Of course, we also recommend you publish your book here on Leanpub! Not only do we pay an 80% royalty rate on every sale, but we also have a number of features that are pretty unique, like the ability to create discount coupon links for your book.
(For a long-ish guide to what makes Leanpub somewhat unique in the world of self-publishing, please see this article.)
If you'd like to publish your book on Leanpub, you'll want to add some information about your book and a cover image first. We'll show you how to do that in the sections below.
Writing Your Book Description
To begin adding your book's information, scroll up and click on "Settings" in the horizontal menu at the top of the page:
By default, this will take you to the "About" page for your book, which is the top item in the vertical menu at the left:
On this page, you can add your book's subtitle, a description of your book that will be displayed in an "About the Book" section on your book's Leanpub web page, some "Teaser" text, and a "Meta Description" for search engines.
Enter your information in each of the boxes:
Finally, review your information and scroll to the bottom of the page and click the "Update Book" button:
When the book is updated, you will briefly see a success message at the top of the page:
Adding a Book Cover Image
Next, let's add a cover image to our book, that will be displayed on the course's web page and anywhere else the book is shown by Leanpub, such as bestseller or category lists, or on social media.
To upload your book cover image to Leanpub, click on "Book Cover" in the vertical menu to the left:
This will take you to a page where you can upload an image for your book:
Scroll down until you see the section called "How to Choose a Cover Size":
You will see there is a message saying that your book image should be 1800 pixels wide x 2700 pixels high, which is equivalent to, 6.0 inches wide x 9.0 inches high, or, in centimetres, 15.24 cm wide x 22.86 cm high. (This is the same cover size for all books uploaded using the Upload writing mode.)
Creating a Book Cover Image
If you've never created a book cover image before, you may find the following articles helpful:
How To Make A Book Cover Image Using Keynote
How To Make A Book Cover Image Using PowerPoint
Here is a book cover we made following these instructions:
[Editor's Note: We're using an image from Unsplash, which is a great resource for images you are free to use (though you should always check attribution requirements, of course!).]
Uploading Your Book Cover Image
When you're ready to upload your book cover image, scroll down and click "Choose File":
Navigate on your computer to the image you want to use. What this looks like will depend on your operating system. Here's what it looks like in a Mac:
Click "Open" (or the equivalent button you see on your computer) to add the image as your course image:
You will now see the image has been selected:
Next, click the blue "Update Book Cover" button:
This will generate a new preview of your book, which will take a few moments.
When the process completes (you may need to refresh your browser window), you will see your book cover appear at the top left:
Pricing Your Book
Leanpub uses a "variable pricing" model for selling books, courses and bundles.
This model is very popular with Leanpub readers, who enjoy being able to decide what to pay, within the constraints set by you, the author.
Before you publish your book on Leanpub, you will want to set both the Minimum Price and Suggested Price for book.
To set the Minimum and Suggested prices for your book, click on "Store" in the horizontal menu at the top of the page:
Next, click on "Pricing" in the vertical menu to the left:
This will take you to the Pricing page for your book:
For this example, we're going to set the Minimum price to $9.99 and the suggested price to $14.99:
[Editor's Note: Pricing is notoriously hard, so we recommend experimenting with different price points over time, to see which prices work best for you and your audience. However, we would like to note that the most common mistake authors make when it comes to pricing, is selling themselves short, and setting the price too low!]
Next, scroll down until you see the "Maximum Leanpub Discount %" section:
The wording in this section is hopefully self-explanatory, but basically, by setting a maximum discount percentage here, you are opting your book in to Leanpub discount sales, include our popular Weekly and Monthly discount sale newsletters.
We strongly recommend you opt in to these sales. People love getting discounts!
Choose the highest discount percentage you're comfortable with. For this example, we're choosing 50%:
When you've made all your pricing choices here, click the blue "Update Pricing" button:
Setting Up Your Author Profile
Next, if this is your first Leanpub book, you will want to set up your author profile page here:
On that page you will see the various options we provide for setting up your author profile:
We highly recommend you upload a nice picture of yourself and add your social media information, as well as a brief bio in the "About You" section. This really helps sell books!
After you add your information, make sure to click the "Save Settings" button at the bottom of the page:
Here's an example of what an author profile page looks like, after you set it up:
Publishing Your Book on the Leanpub Bookstore
OK, now we're ready to publish our book!
To publish your book, go back to the Versions section, by clicking the "Versions" tab in the menu at the top of the page:
Next, click on "Publish New Version" in the menu to the left:
This will take you to the "Publish" page for your book:
Finally, scroll down and click the blue "Publish Book" button:
When the publishing process has been completed, you will then see a message saying your book has been published:
To go to your published book's Leanpub web page, click on the book cover image at the top left:
Congratulations! People can now buy your book on Leanpub from this page, where you'll earn an 80% royalty on every sale:
Notice that blue "Edit" button?
The "Edit" button is only visible to you, and to any co-authors you may add to your book. Click it any time to go to your book's "Overview" page:
Here is what the book landing page will look like to a normal person, who is not the author (it's the same, but with no "Edit" button):
Updating Your Book
One last thing: Leanpub books are really easy to update.
To update your book, all you have to do is:
1. Edit your book on the Write page in your browser.
2. Generate a new preview to make sure everything looks good.
3. Go to the "Publish New Version" page and click the "Publish Book" button.
Ok, that's it!
As a next step, you may want to read this article about specific ways you can use Leanpub to sell your book.
To learn more about navigating around Leanpub as an author, please read this article.
OK, that's it!
If you have any feedback or questions about this article, please email the Leanpub team about it at firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you have any questions or thoughts on writing and self-publishing with Leanpub, please join our global community of authors in our Authors Forum here!
Are you interested in self-publishing, and creating your first Leanpub book? Here are some quick tutorials for our most popular writing modes: http://help.leanpub.com/en/articles/3088382-quick-walkthroughs-for-getting-started-on-a-leanpub-book
Are you looking for great deals on Leanpub ebooks, ebook bundles, and courses? Sign up for our Weekly and Monthly newsletter sales here!
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