Why Leanpub

Leanpub is a powerful platform for serious authors. This platform is the combination of two things: a publishing workflow and a storefront. Leanpub is more than the sum of its parts, however – by combining a simple, elegant writing and publishing workflow with a store focused on selling in-progress ebooks, it’s something different. Leanpub is a magical typewriter for authors: just write in plain text, and to publish your ebook, just click a button. (You can click a Preview button first if you want!) Once you’ve clicked the Publish button, anyone in the world can instantly buy your ebook from Leanpub, and read it on their computer, tablet, phone or ebook reader. Whenever you want to distribute an update to all your readers, just click the Publish button again. It really is that easy.

When you create a Leanpub book, you get all Leanpub features, including:

  • One-click ebook generation (PDF, EPUB and MOBI)
  • All writing modes (plain text formatted in Markdown or Markua, Word upload, in-browser editor and bring your own book)
  • All sync modes, if applicable (Dropbox, GitHub or Bitbucket)
  • Print-ready PDF and InDesign exports, to easily create print books
  • The Leanpub storefront, including variable pricing, attractive book landing pages and our amazing royalty rate of 90% minus 50¢ per paid sale

Creating a book costs $99, and is risk-free. We have a 45-day 100% refund policy.

Leanpub puts authors first.

  • Earn a 90% royalty, minus 50¢ per sale.

  • Publish to PDF, iPad and Kindle from one manuscript. (we make PDF, EPUB and MOBI versions for you).

  • Write using your favorite tools. Preview or publish new book versions with one click.

  • Write on your own computer and sync using Dropbox, GitHub or Bitbucket.

  • Publish your book early to get reader feedback, and publish new versions as often as you like.

  • Choose your own minimum and suggested prices, from $0 or $0.99 to $500. ($9 to $29 is typical.)

  • You keep the rights to your book, not us. You can do a deal with a publisher at any time.

  • Produce a print-ready PDF or InDesign export of your finished book with one click.

  • Write!

    • Write your book in simple plain text using our great writing features
    • Create ebooks in multiple formats with one click from a single source text
    • You can also write using your own plain text writing tool
    • You can also upload a book if you prefer your own process to ours
  • Publish

    • Publish instantly with one click
    • Easily update your published book any time
    • Publish early and serially using our in-progress publishing features
    • Interact with readers to improve your book and find out what they think
  • Sell

    • Instantly put your book up for sale
    • Earn a royalty of 90% minus 50 cents per sale
    • Customize a great-looking web page to help sell your book
    • Set your own prices using our amazing variable pricing model
    • Easily share your royalties with co-authors or good causes
    • You can also sell your book elsewhere if you want to!

Introduction to Lean Publishing

In this video from TOC 2013 in New York, Leanpub cofounder Peter Armstrong explains the definition, origins and practice of Lean Publishing, which is the idea behind Leanpub.

Introduction to Markdown and Markua

In this video from Books in Browsers 2014, Peter Armstrong explains why Markdown is a great way to write ebooks and why Leanpub is specifying Markua, its Markdown dialect.

Finally, royalty rates that put authors first.

When you publish your book with Leanpub, you earn a 90% royalty, minus a 50¢ flat fee per sale.

Why is this royalty rate important? It means you earn $17.50 on the sale of a $20.00 book. If you worked with a conventional publisher who sold your book for $35.00, you'd typically make just $1.75! (The publisher would usually get about $17.50, and you would get about 10% of that.) With royalty rates this high, people will actually choose to pay more since they can see how much you will earn as an author.

You are free to publish your book elsewhere at the same time as you publish it on Leanpub. However, other platforms may not allow you to publish in two places at once. If you want to try an exclusive service, you can "retire" your book on Leanpub any time, and you can also come back and "unretire" your book if you conclude you were making more money on Leanpub.

You set your own prices using our variable pricing model and you can change them anytime. This means you can instantly change your prices in response to audience feedback or special events. It also means you can increase the price of your book over time, as you add more content, which is a great deal for people who buy your book early on.

If you publish your book on Leanpub, we will not get in the way if you later want to publish with a conventional publisher. In fact, this is a great outcome and it is one of the reasons Leanpub exists. We want unknown writers to be able to publish their books before they're finished, build an audience while they're writing, and then optionally go after a publishing contract. Some publishers may even let you publish your book on Leanpub until you finish it, and then take up the book into their own process when the time is right. That's exactly what happened with this book. (If you're worried that a publisher won't accept a book that's already been published on Leanpub, then you should make sure to ask them before you publish here!)