[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 the In-Browser Plain Text Editor writing mode. In this article 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 In-Browser Plain Text Editor 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.

In addition to this walkthrough, we've also got a video, for people who prefer to learn that way! You can watch it here:


Please note that because of a big redesign that we launched recently, the video shows the old way of navigating around Leanpub. We will be updating it soon, but it should still be useful as it introduces you in just a few minutes to how the in-browser text editor works.

(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 the In-Browser Plain Text Editor Writing Mode

Go to https://leanpub.com/create/book to create a book in our In-Browser Plain Text Editor writing mode.

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.

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. By default, the "In your web browser" option will be selected, which is what we want:

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:

On this page, you will see lots of helpful information that we recommend you read at some point. However, for this tutorial, let's just dive in to the In-Browser Plain Text editor, where you will spend your time writing your book!

To go to the editor, click the link at the top of the page that says "If you already know what you're doing and you just want to start writing, click here!"

Where You Write Your Book

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 in a bookmark folder for your book, but this is not required.

When you are on the Write page, you will see a menu of files at the top left.

You will see that we have provided three default chapter files:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Creating a Preview

First, let’s create a Preview of your book from the default chapter content. (A “Preview” is a private version of your book you can create at any time, to see what your book looks like.)

To do this, 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:

Now, 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, the progress bar will turn green, and you’ll see the download links for your book:

Next, click the top link to download the PDF version of your Preview.

Here’s what the PDF looks like when it is opened on a Mac (your PDF might look different, depending on your settings, and what app is used to open the PDF on your device):

Go to the fourth page in the document, and you’ll see the same content you saw on the Write page earlier, when you selected the first chapter:

(Also, your 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 internet.)

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, select Write from the Leanpub menu, which will take you back to the Write page:

First, let’s type something in the first chapter. Click into the page, and you’ll see the editor changes to a “focus” mode, with less clutter, so you can focus when are writing:

Next, hit the Enter or Return key a couple of times and then type Hello World!

Any changes you type in the editor will be saved automatically.

Next, let’s delete a chapter. Click on the left side of the screen to bring back the chapter menu:

Hover your mouse over chapter3txt and click on the gear wheel icon you will see:

Now, you’ll see a box appear called File Settings:

You can do a few things in the File Settings box, including rename the file.

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 chapter will now disappear from the menu at the left:

Next, 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 chapter Conclusion. First, type Conclusion in the box:

Then, click the blue OK button:

You will now see a chapter file on the left called “Conclusion.”

Now, you will see a blinking cursor in the Write tab. Type the following:

# Conclusion

This book is **done** and ready for *the world to see*, hooray!

Double asterisks ** on either side of a word will make the word bold. Single asterisks * on either side of a word will make the word italic.

OK, let’s make a new Preview, to see what the book looks like now. Click Versions at the top of the page:

This will take you back to the Preview page for your book:

Scroll down to see the blue Create Preview button, and click on it, to generate a new Preview of your book:

When the process completes, you will see the links, with an updated time stamp (the time is set to Coordinated Universal Time):

Click on the PDF download link at the top, like you did earlier in this walkthrough.

You will now see that there is a chapter called Conclusion in the table of contents:

Next, go to Chapter One, and you’ll see Hello World! there now:

Finally, go to the end of the PDF, to see the Conclusion:

Adding an Image to Your Book

We don't have instructions for this in the video yet, but here's an article about how to add an image to a book in the in-browser writing mode.


You've completed the Getting Started walkthrough for writing a book in Leanpub using our In-Browser Plain Text Editor.

Next Steps

Next, we recommend you explore the Overview link at the top left. That will take you to this 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:


Happy writing!

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