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September 17, 2013 | Porter Anderson | Future Think: Agile Book Publishing Startup LeanPub
Porter Anderson, BookBusiness, Future Think: Agile Book Publishing Startup LeanPub
One of the hottest concepts in the last couple of years in publishing can also still draw puzzled looks when you first suggest it. Just ask Armstrong, co-founder (with Scott Patten) of Vancouver's Leanpub.
Armstrong’s three-year-old startup has used this context to establish itself as a highly respected, forward-looking corporate member of publishing: “We’re here to help authors and publishers publish in-progress books, since we think that will help these books be better books, and also sell better."
August 30, 2013 | Mark Boyd | Leanpub API: Bringing Agile Development to Writers
Mark Boyd, ProgrammableWeb, Leanpub API: Bringing Agile Development to Writers
The new Leanpub API helps writers publish their own work in ebook format and provides instant access to sales data.
June 6, 2012 | Rini van Solingen | Lean publishing: involving your readers in the writing
Rini van Solingen vlogs: Vlog 35 with Yves Hanoulle on Lean publishing: involving your readers in the writing
Videoblog by Rini van Solingen. This time he meets (again) with Yves Hanoulle. This time they talk about the Lean publishing project of Yves: WhoIsAgile.
June 23, 2011 | Time.com | Leanpub: How to Turn Your Blog into an Instant E-Book
Giles Turnbull, Time.com, Leanpub: How to Turn Your Blog into an Instant E-Book
So. You got a blog. You want to turn it into a e-book, with a minimal amount of fuss and hard work.
You need Leanpub. It’s a new service for writers who want to do minimalist home-grown publishing on their own terms, in a variety of formats that will suit owners of iPads, Kindles, and other e-readers.
It’s also a completely new approach to the technical side of e-book publishing. When you sign up to Leanpub, you get access to a shared folder on Dropbox, into which you can put text files for your book.
May 18, 2011 | blog.abouttag.com | Leanpub and The Book of the Blog
njr, blog.abouttag.com, Leanpub and The Book of the Blog
The manifesto is based on the idea that an author writing a book has a lot in common with a start-up company, and—particularly, with the advent of e-books—can benefit from applying many of the practices and principles now common among start-ups, especially so-called "lean startups".
Leanpub authors have kindly said many nice and informative things about us online - here are some of our favorites!
Sean Brady wrote a great blog post called "Why I chose self-publishing with Leanpub" where he touches on Leanpub's versatility, flexibility, and why he chose to write his book You Are What You Decide on Leanpub. Thanks for the kind words Sean!
As I considered whether or not to self-publish a book, I faced many daunting challenges. Not least among them was selecting a self-publishing platform. There are many alternatives, each with its own set of trade-offs. Below are the reasons why I am glad that I chose Leanpub to self-publish You Are What You Decide: Eight Keys to Better Decision-making.
When you sign up, Leanpub links to your Dropbox folder. From then on, you save all manuscript files to your Dropbox. You must use Markdown, a very simple plain text format. Because your manuscript is written in Markdown, Leanpub can — with a single click — pull your manuscript from your Dropbox and produce EPUB, MOBI and PDF versions of your book. All formatting issues are taken care of by the magic of Leanpub’s publishing platform. From the first few words, you can preview your book on a Kindle, iOS or Android device. Very slick and efficient.
Nicholas C. Zakas
I was also curious about the self-publishing revolution. I’d heard both good and bad results from various people who had tried it. Since I’d been through the traditional publishing process many times, I knew right away what I’d be losing: copy editors, technical editors, graphic designers for diagrams, marketing, and a physical book. I rationalized that readers could substitute for copy editors and technical editors to a certain degree by providing feedback, I could do rudimentary diagrams myself, and I could use Twitter and my blog for marketing. I knew I wouldn’t be able to expect the same number of sales vs. working with a publisher, but I rationalized that I didn’t need to sell as many copies because I could keep a larger percentage of the sale price.
Going with Leanpub also solved my writing tool dilemma. Leanpub uses an automated Dropbox-based mechanism to receive content from authors and return the formatted results in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats. Authors may use whatever writing tool they'd like, but the system expects content to eventually be in Markdown format. This was perfect for me–since I was writing a programming book, this meant I could put it together using the same tools I use to write code. In my case, that's Textmate with a Markdown bundle. After some conversion from Textile to Markdown I was up and running pretty quickly. I already had about 30 pages of content from the original blog posts and some additional stuff I'd already written, but I still needed to come up with a cover and price.
This august I finished writing and publishing my first self-published book. Last month I got done adding a print and an audio edition of that book.
So far, two months after finishing the book, I have netted almost $14,000 from the book in ebook, print and audio formats. It sold around 1,500 copies. That averages almost $10 per copy sold, and I sold more than half of them at a very large discount.
It was an interesting experiment, and I would like others to know how I did it in a way that worked for me.
I can already say that I made more on my book before it came out, than I had made with a traditional publisher after 6 years. That is because with a traditional publisher you might end up getting 2-4$ per copy sold, once a quarter, while the way I sold it I got about 20$ for each copy, monthly.
Didier Lebouc has a great 'making of' blog post about his book Humeurs Économiques with some interesting things to say about Leanpub, in the context of an analysis of globalisation and industrialisation - thanks Didier!
A l'inverse, pour ma dernière production en date, j'ai innové et travaillé avec Leanpub. Le terme exact n'est pas "avec" mais "sur" puisque Leanpub est une plateforme canadienne d'édition en ligne. Les deux fondateurs de cette jeune entreprise, Peter Armstrong et Scott Patten, ont décidé d'appliquer à l'édition les principes de "lean manufacturing" et de l'agilité, c'est à dire ce qui se fait de mieux à ce jour en matière de méthodes industrielles.
Ryan Bigg recently released a first draft of his first Leanpub book here and sent us these kind words - thanks Ryan!
I released the first draft of my first Leanpub book (https://leanpub.com/multi-tenancy-rails) over the weekend. This is just a short message to say thank you for the wonderful platform that you've worked on which has allowed me to spend more time writing and less time fighting the tools.
All in all, I really really really love the Leanpub publishing platform and will recommend it to my friends. Thank you for giving me faith that publishing a book doesn't have to be enormously painful.
Nicholas C. Zakas
The book is published through Leanpub.
I believe it was Cody Lindley who first suggested that I take a look at Leanpub. After about 5 minutes, I was convinced that this was the right solution for me. Leanpub not only generates all three formats directly from markdown, but they also setup a nice-looking page where people can learn more about the book and purchase it.
Johanna Rothman wrote a great post entitled "Overcoming Perfection Rules" describing using Leanpub to try the lean publishing approach for the first time. We love that post title, as it sums up our lean publishing philosophy in a mere 3 words.
I have a tough time with my perfection rules. I want to be perfect. I’m not, of course. I want to be.
So using leanpub and publishing early and often pushes me way out of my comfort zone. Which is why you haven’t heard anything from me about my book under development up until now. Yesterday, I announced the beta of my newest book Manage Your Job Search: Reduce Your Overwhelm, Focus Your Search, and Get Your Next Job!
I couldn’t just push the button and publish. Oh no, no, no. I had to make it a beta, because it’s not done. It’s not even close. Oh, more than the outline of the book is there. The networking chapter is great. How to use personal kanban is great. Much of how you reflect on the past week is great. The tips and traps are great. And, I know they are not complete, which is making me nuts.
That’s not all that’s making me nuts. The copyediting is not done. The layout is not done. The what to do now is not done. I need feedback from readers to know what to do next, which is why I needed to publish, and oh boy, it’s not perfect. That’s why I don’t have a real cover, because I don’t know that I have the correct title. How do I balance my perfection rules against the need for feedback?
Beta! Especially if I explain that it’s a beta book. That’s what I did in my announcement yesterday. I was able to balance my need for perfection against my need for feedback.
I bet my fellow leanpub authors are delighted to not have to hear the teenage drama queen angst on the leanpub list anymore. I will get the feedback I need. I will be able to perfect the book from people looking for a job. It’s a win-win.
If you are looking for a job, please do check out my new book, Manage Your Job Search: Reduce Your Overwhelm, Focus Your Search, and Get Your Next Job! It’s not perfect; it’s a beta book. I would love your feedback.
Elisabeth Hendrickson wrote a fantastic blog post which captures the entire reason Leanpub exists,
A funny thing happened on my way to inbox 0 last week: I wrote a book in 4 days.
I didn’t mean to. And actually it’s not true to say that I wrote it in just 4 days. I assembled it in 4 days; I wrote it over 15 years. Allow me to present There’s Always a Duck,
--Elisabeth Hendrickson, It's a Book
If you're wondering whether to try Leanpub, go read her entire blog post.
BTW, I have to say that I'm incredibly impressed with Leanpub.
You have made it absurdly easy to do something I've been talking about doing for a long time (turning my blog archive into something more permanent).
I've played around with various services: CreateSpace, Lulu, and SmashWords. They're all easy enough to use, but no matter what service I chose, I recognized that it was going to be a pain to import all that content and convert it into a format that would work. Importing from an RSS feed into plain text / markdown, then auto-generating the resulting ebook formats is brilliantly simple.
Plus, using DropBox as the shared repository is sheer genius. As a geek, I've used svn and git as a repository for my prose. Source control is my friend. But setting up a shared repo can add a wee bit of friction. Using DropBox is a beautiful friction-free way to share while still letting me version my files if I decided it's needed. Really, really sweet.
Also, having just purchased Laurent Bossavit's recent Leanpub title, Leprechauns of Software Development, I was delighted by how easy it was to be a paying customer.
I had no intention of spending my day working on converting my archives into a book. It was way down on my priority list. But I'm having so much fun (despite the mysterious "there was a failure..." message)! Now if I can just keep distractions at bay long enough to finish, I'll finally have a book done. Wow.
Oh, and your customer service rocks also! I'm very grateful for your personal attention!
--Elisabeth Hendrickson, email (reprinted with permission)
Tom Graves has published a number of books on Leanpub, with a particular focus on enterprise architecture and knowledge management. In a spring 2012 blog post,
I have at last found a viable workflow to produce e-books of my various books and blogposts, via Leanpub.
There’s one significant constraint in this form of publishing: Leanpub uses Markdown text-files for input, which is a fair bit more limited in its formatting than my books normally use. But that constraint fits well with the very tight limitations of .MOBI (Kindle) files – the cause of so many of my conversion-nightmares prior to finding Leanpub – and it also works well with automated import and conversion of blog-posts, which is something I’ve needed for a very long time.
Leanpub also presents e-books as a ‘package deal’, with EPUB, MOBI (aka AZW, for Kindle) and portrait-formatted PDF formats all included in the one price...
A key theme at Leanpub is publish early, publish often. If you buy a book, you not only get all three file-formats, but you also maintain access to all future updates – Leanpub send you an email to let you know whenever a new update is available.
See my home-page at leanpub.com/u/tetradian for the current status of each item – published or in-development – and, if published, the current content.
Dan Moore, who has made four books on Leanpub, wrote a nice post in April 2012 outlining his interesting, practical take on our 'lean publishing' philosophy. Below is an extract from the full post.
Leanpub lets you write a book, but with a twist. They’ve built a system where you can write portions of a book, and easily publish to the major ebook formats (PDF, .mobi, epub). You write the book with Markdown, and can include code samples, images, tables, and sections. Nothing really new there, though.
The revolutionary idea of Leanpub, and the reason it is ‘lean’, is that you can build your book piece by piece, and sell it whenever you have ‘minimum viable content’. (You can also include sample content to let people see what they are buying.) Once someone purchases your book, they receive all further updates. This type of interaction with users can be very helpful–it spurs you on to finish your book (after all, someone paid for it) and also lets you know if your book idea has traction in the marketplace (did anyone buy the book), and builds an audience for your book slowly over time (going to a publisher with a list of people who’ve already bought your book is a lot stronger than going there with a first draft).
Nivi from Venture Hacks
Thanks to Peter Armstrong and Scott Patten at Leanpub for making this book happen. If you want to turn your blog into a book, get in touch with them.
Babak Nivi, The Venture Hacks Bible
Peter Armstrong, Leanpub's cofounder, is doing a series of podcast interviews with Leanpub authors. These interviews are about the authors' books and about their experiences using the lean publishing approach on Leanpub.
We love talking about Leanpub. If you want to interview us, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll set it up.