The way Leanpub works with Word to produce ebook files is similar to the way other self-publishing services do it.
In this article, we'd like to offer a brief explanation of the technical reasons you need to format your Word file to match our Word template style guide, in order to use Leanpub to produce PDF, EPUB, and MOBI ebook files.
Generating Ebook Files from Word
In order to produce ebook files from your Word file, our book generators need to convert your Word file into the PDF, EPUB, and MOBI ebook formats.
What self-publishing services like Leanpub do with Word, is they take your Word file and they apply their own automated formatting procedures to the ebook files they produce from your Word file.
All books have standard features that our ebook generators will create automatically from your Word file. These book features include familiar things like a Table of Contents and chapter headings.
Now, Word has a lot of formatting options, that people use in a lot of different ways.
For example, when they are writing a book in Word, some people might start a new chapter with a chapter heading in bold. Other people might start a new chapter with a chapter heading in a different font.
As magical as Leanpub's book generators are, they aren't magical enough to know what any author's intentions were, when they were formatting any particular part of their book in Word.
Plus, Word is a product that is owned and managed by Microsoft, and the underlying software is updated by them all the time. That's great, but it is also out of our control.
So, our book generators need you to use the specific Word formatting options they have been programmed to recognize as chapter headings, footnotes, etc.
If you'd like to see what other self-publishing platforms' style guides are like, here's where you can find the style guide for Smashwords, and here's where you can find the style guide for Amazon KDP.
Why Is Leanpub's Style Guide Template So Much Simpler?
Basically, the reason Leanpub's Word formatting style guide is so much simpler than most other self-publishing style guides, is that we offer limited formatting options.
Writing in Word on Leanpub is optimized for people who are writing fiction, and for people who are writing ordinary non-fiction books.
This usually involves no more formatting than chapter and section headings, normal text, and the occasional use of italics.
You can also add images, use bold text, strikethrough text, footnotes, links to pages on the internet and email addresses, block quotes, and numbered lists, lower-case roman numeral lists and bulleted lists.
We also offer a number of ebook "Themes", which are customizable, and we have a Print-Read PDF export feature that you can use to create print books with various "print-on-demand" self-publishing services.
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!