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Getting Started Using Leanpub's Upload Writing Mode to Self-Publish Your Book
Getting Started Using Leanpub's Upload Writing Mode to Self-Publish Your Book

Keywords: getting started, upload, writing mode, walkthrough, tutorial, publish, how to

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Written by Leanpub Support
Updated over a week ago
Getting Started Using Leanpub's Upload Writing Mode to Self-Publish Your Book

It's easy to self-publish ebook files on Leanpub using our Upload writing mode. It's also free!

In this article we'll show you how to upload and publish your book on Leanpub and start earning 80% royalties from your sales in our bookstore, in just a few minutes!

In addition to this step-by-step walkthrough, we've also got a video, for people who prefer to learn that way!

The video predates our redesign, which made Leanpub a lot simpler, but it's still really helpful. You can watch it here:

This walkthrough is rather comprehensive, but once you have successfully gone through it, you'll know everything you need to know to upload and publish your ebook using our Upload writing mode.

Creating a Book in the Upload Writing Mode

To begin, go to to create a book in our Upload writing mode:

Next, type a title for your book into the "TITLE" box:

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 "In your web browser" option will be selected:

Select the "Upload" option on the right:

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.

If you selected a paid account, you'll see a form for entering your payment information:

Finally, tick the box if you wish to accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and click the blue button to finish creating your new In-Browser Plain Text Editor book:

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."

Getting Started

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.)

Uploading Your Ebook File or Files

Next, click on the "Versions" tab you will see in the horizontal menu at the top of the page:

This will take you to the "Upload" page for your book:

Scroll down until you see the "Upload Your Book Files" section:

Next, on your device, find the book file or files you would like to upload. The file does not have to named "book.pdf"; you can use any file name you prefer:

On the "Upload" page for your Leanpub book, drag your ebook file onto the box under "Upload Your Book Files". This will start the upload process, and you will see the file in a box with a green checkmark when the upload process is complete:

Next, scroll down to the "Upload Your Sample Book Files" section:

A "Sample Book" is an ebook file containing just the first section or two of your book, for example the first chapter of a novel.

On your book's landing page on Leanpub, people will be able to click to download your sample book.

In the example below, we've uploaded a file called "sample_book.pdf", but you can give your sample book any filename you like:

Adding Your Book Information

Now that we've uploaded our book files, it's time to add the book's information to Leanpub.

To begin, 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:

Scroll down and you will see a "Table of Contents HTML" section and a Leanpub-style "wall of text" explanation of what it does:

Adding Table of Contents information here is entirely optional! If you know some HTML, you can add your book's Table of Contents here, and it will be displayed in a "Table of Contents" section on your book's web page on Leanpub.

Since it's entirely optional, we'll cover how to use this Table of Contents HTML feature in another tutorial.

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 Image

Next, let's add an image to our book, that will be displayed on the course's web page and anywhere else the book is shown, such as bestseller or category lists, or on social media. This image will not be added to your uploaded ebook file or files, we do not change those in any way!

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

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.)

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:

When the process completes, you will see your book cover appear at the top left:

[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!).]


Leanpub uses a "variable pricing" model for selling books, courses and bundles.

Before you publish your book, you will want to set the Minimum Price and Suggested Price for the course.

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 $19.99 and the suggested price to $29.99:

[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 option 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:

Publishing Your Book

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" 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:

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:

People can now buy your book on Leanpub from this page:

Setting Up Your Profile

As a next step, you should add your profile information here:

The more information you share about yourself, the better! In particular, adding an active Twitter or other social media account to your profile helps establish confidence in you, which leads to more book sales.

Updating Your Book

Leanpub books are easy to update. To update a book in the Upload writing mode, all you need to do is go to Versions > Upload and upload a new ebook file at any time, like we did at the beginning of this tutorial. If your book is already published you don't have to do anything else: the new file you upload will simply replace the old one.

Ok, that's it!

If you have any feedback or questions about this article, please email the Leanpub team about it at!

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:

Are you looking for great deals on Leanpub ebooks, ebook bundles, and courses? Sign up for our Weekly and Monthly newsletter sales here!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel here:

Please subscribe to our YouTube channel here:

You can also follow Leanpub in lots of other places!

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