Frequently Asked Questions by Authors

If you can't find an answer to your question here, there are other ways to get help!

If you're experiencing a technical issue, please email us at hello@leanpub.com and we'll be happy to help you.

If you're having trouble figuring out how to do something, you can try searching our manual.

If your question is general in nature, you can join the Leanpub Authors Google Group so that other Leanpub authors can benefit from your question being answered. You can also search there to see if your question has already been asked by another author. If you'd rather not join the group, then you can still email us at hello@leanpub.com with any question you have.

Q. Where do I start?
Go to our authors page and click the "Create A New Book" button to start a new book. You can use Leanpub to write a book in plain text, in Word or online in your browser. You can also upload a manuscript you have written in Word, or upload book files you have made yourself in PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI format.

Q. Can I upload an ebook file I have made myself and sell it on Leanpub?
Yes! If you select the "Bring Your Own Book" mode when you start a new book on Leanpub, you can upload PDF, EPUB and/or MOBI files and sell them directly on Leanpub. This way, if you already have a completed PDF, you don't need to reformat your book into Markdown and use the Leanpub workflow - you can just upload it. On the book's web page, we clearly indicate to customers which formats are available. Of course, if you are starting a new book, we recommend that you use the Leanpub workflow to generate PDF, EPUB and MOBI ebook files directly from your manuscript with one click.

Q. Can I write a Leanpub book using Word, writing as I normally would?
Yes, you can! Follow this link for more information.

Q. Can I upload a Word document and turn it into a book?
Yes! You can find some information about doing this here.

Q. Can you convert my book to the proper formats if I supply you with a PDF?
No. We would have to go from the PDF to Markdown (which is our manuscript format), and then from there we would produce PDF, EPUB and MOBI. We don't offer this service at the moment.

Q: Can I sell my book on Leanpub and other sites at the same time?
Leanpub authors can sell their books wherever they want. In particular, we encourage all Leanpub authors to also sell their books on Amazon KDP and Apple once the books are done. We think both those channels are too important to ignore. (Using the Leanpub store isn't even a requirement, let alone an exclusive requirement. It's possible for an author to make their book on Leanpub and sell it elsewhere without us earning anything, and we're fine with that.)

We want you to use our store in addition to any others that you use because it's better, not because you're forced to. Our hypothesis is that the experience of using our store while your book is in-progress will be enough to convince you to continue using it (and direct your Twitter followers and/or blog subscribers there) once your book is finished, regardless of what other storefronts you use. Our variable price feature means we're a more profitable choice than even our really good royalty rates would lead you to believe...

Q. Can I use Leanpub to create print-ready PDFs for third-party print-on-demand sites like Lulu and CreateSpace?
Yes, you can! (Unless you are using our "Bring Your Own Book" process - sorry about that!). If you are using one of the Leanpub workflows to generate your ebook files, go to the 'Export' page for your book and click on the 'Print-Ready PDF' tab, you will have the option to activate this feature. It includes things like alternating page numbers (if you're holding a print book open, the page numbers are above your thumbs) and alternating gutters (the space on the inside edge of each page in a print book, next to the book's spine). You can also choose many of the precise page sizes used by sites like Lulu and CreateSpace for the different sizes of books they produce.

Q. How and when do you pay royalties?
We pay a royalty of 90% minus 50 cents per purchase. Royalties are paid at the beginning of each month via PayPal. Because of our 'Happiness Guarantee', which allows readers to claim a refund for 45 days after their purchase, there is also a 45-day 'hold period' applied to the royalties associated with any sale. Once the royalties related to a purchase are past the 45-day 'hold period', then those royalties will be paid out at the beginning of the next month.

Please note that if your book is listed for free, then there will not be a 50 cent fee for each purchase.

Can I receive royalties by some other means than PayPal?
No. PayPal is the only way to receive royalties. We pay hundreds of authors every month, and we need this to be as automated as possible. If you find PayPal distasteful, one thing to keep in mind is that if it wasn't for PayPal, Elon Musk might not be rich and we might not have SpaceX and Tesla.

Q. Can a book have multiple authors who split the royalties?
Yes! The primary author of a book can add other authors to the book. When you add a new author, you can assign a percentage of the book's royalties to that author. We pay all the co-authors directly, so you don't have the logistical hassle of dealing with doing that yourself.

If you want to change the royalty split or remove an author, the primary author should email as at hello@leanpub.com.

Q. Why is the MOBI file for my book so big?
MOBI files will inevitably be larger than your other book files because of how they work. Each MOBI file actually contains two separate copies of the book in it, one in .mobi format and the other in .azw format. One is for the Kindle, and the other is for the Kindle Fire. Amazon will open the file up and send the correct one to your device, but they require both versions so that they support all of the devices they create.

The only way to significantly reduce a book's file-size that we know of is to reduce the resolution of any images in the book. It's completely up to you to determine what resolutions are acceptable, but we've found that you can safely go down to 150 DPI without any impact on how the image looks, and even lower on most images. 120 DPI is safe for most images except for drawings with fine lines, and 72 DPI is usually fine for pictures.

Q. Can I use AsciiDoc / Asciidoctor instead of Markdown?
Not currently, sorry. This is something we get asked for occasionally, but we have a lot of higher priorities at the moment. If you want to vote for this feature, please email us at hello@leanpub.com.

Q. Do I need an ISBN to publish my book on Leanpub?
No :)

Q. OK, but should I get an ISBN anyway? Do I need more than one ISBN, for example do I need separate ISBNs for EPUB, MOBI and PDF versions of my book?
Whether or not to get an ISBN is a tricky question. It can depend on country (some countries charge for ISBNs, others don't), on what you want to do with your book, on how you want to track your book's sales, where and how you want your book reviewed, etc. etc. etc. We have also heard contradictory accounts of whether or not you need a separate ISBN for each ebook format in which you publish your book.

Briefly, here is the Leanpub position on whether or not you should get an ISBN:

  1. You definitely do not need an ISBN until your book is finished. So while you're writing and publishing your book-in-progress using Leanpub, we recommend you don't worry about ISBNs - just focus on your writing!
  2. Start worrying about getting an ISBN only when you discover you absolutely need one. For example, if you are going to publish your book using other 'channels' like Kindle Direct Publishing or Lulu or CreateSpace, under certain circumstances you will be required to provide an ISBN. At that point, you'll know you need one, and you'll know why, and you can ask whoever's requiring the ISBN what they need.

Q: Can I use Leanpub to write a book in a language other than English?
Yes, you can. Leanpub supports a number of languages. When you are creating a new book, just choose your preferred language from the "Main Language Used In The Book" dropdown menu.

For some languages, your book will also have a landing page and a purchase page displayed in your book's chosen language. The languages that currently have this feature are Afrikaans, Arabic, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian Bokmål, Norwegian Nynorsk, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. If you have any corrections to suggest for our translations, or if you would like to help us add a new language, please email us at hello@leanpub.com. You can also contribute to our localization efforts on GitHub: https://github.com/leanpub/translations.

Q. How do I set a cover image for my book?
In your Leanpub book tools menu, you will see an item in the menu called "Upload Book Cover". There, you can upload a JPG or PNG cover image for your book. You can find more information about cover images here.

Q. What size should my cover image be in pixels?
We recommend that book cover images should be set to 72 pixels per inch (PPI) resolution. The recommended size in pixels for the cover image varies based on the book style you have chosen. For a table setting out the recommended pixel sizes for the different book styles, please go here.

Q. How do I update the cover image on my book page?
Just do a preview or publish a new version and the cover image you have uploaded will be added to your book.

Q. How do I get images into my book?
We support PNG, JPEG and GIF formats for images. If you're writing in Microsoft Word, you can just paste images into your Word file, and they'll show up in your book when you create a new preview or publish a new version. If you're writing in plain text, first, put your image into the images folder in your book's manuscript folder. Then you can get the image into your book by writing a line in your text naming the image, like this:

![This is the image caption](images/your_image_name.png)

That's it! The next time you create a new preview or publish a new version of your book, the image will show up. (See this web page for details on images in Markdown.).

Q. What should the resolution be for images in books? What is the maximum size of an image I can use, in pixels?
We recommend that for images in your book (as opposed to the cover image) you use images set to a resolution of 72 pixels per inch (PPI) and that you use the JPG format set to 80% compression. These settings should help keep the size of your book files smaller.

The maximum image size for your book depends on the book style you have chosen. You can check your book style and the page size by clicking on "Writing" in your book tools and selecting the "Formatting" option. Here is a table setting out the maximum image sizes for the different page sizes, based on an image resolution of 72 PPI: here. For information about the the three default book stles, please follow this link.

For images that are drawings, like line diagrams, PNG will look better than JPEG, and we recommend you set the image resolution to 150 PPI or 300 PPI.

Note that we have a whole section in each sample book about images. See the sample content for each Leanpub book type at these links for business, fiction and technical books.

Q. I created an account and a book, found it in my Dropbox and I edited the Book.txt file. I then returned to the Leanpub website and generated a preview. However, the preview didn't have the contents of Book.txt that I just updated. What's up?
You need to write your actual content in separate plain text files written with Markdown formatting. The Book.txt file is just a list of files. You can see the sample content for each Leanpub book styles by clickling on the following download links for business, fiction and technical books.

Q. What program should I use to edit Markdown files?
Any text editor works. For programmers, we recommend writing in Emacs, vi or TextMate. For non-programmers, we recommend iA Writer for Mac and iPad. If all else fails, you can also use TextEdit on Mac or Notepad, Wordpad or Notepad++ on Windows.

Q: Can I use files that have extensions besides .txt, such as .md?
You can use any extension you want (or no extension). As a policy we suggest authors use .txt files so they open easily when double-clicked.

Q. What if I want to preview the Markdown without generating the book on Leanpub?
There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. You can either use a text editor that has a built in Markdown previewer. On Mac there's Mou, and on Windows there's MarkdownPad.
  2. You can keep using your favorite text editor and use an external Markdown preview program. We like the idea of this, since we are very partial to our text editors. If you use a Mac, you can use Marked, which is a standalone a Markdown preview program.
  3. You can use a WYSIWIG Markdown editor. See the next question.

Q. I don't actually want to write Markdown by hand; I want a WYSIWYG editor for Markdown! Does such a tool exist?
We want this too! Here's the best one we know about currently: Texts. It has a Mac and Windows version. We've tried the Mac version; it's still at an early stage but we think it looks promising. Please give this a try and give its developer some feedback.

Q. I don't like any of those text editing options. Can you suggest others?
There's an Adobe AIR app called Gonzo which should work on Mac and Windows. A Leanpub author has contributed a review of MarkdownPad and a review of Gonzo with an eye on their suitability for use writing Leanpub books. You can also try out Draft, which is cool, and free.

Q. I already have a bunch of content in Word. What should I do?
You have a few options for proceeding if you've already written content in Word.

  1. Create a new book and select the option to share a folder with Leanpub using Dropbox. That way, you can put your Word files in a folder you share with Leanpub, and then list your files in a file called Book.txt that we create for you. That way, you can write on your computer as you normally would, and then go to Leanpub to create previews and publish your book without any uploading or converting.
  2. Create a new book and select the option to upload a Word document. Then, you can save all your writing in a single Word file and upload it to Leanpub. You can upload a new Word document again later if you want to make any changes or publish your book in-progress. There is some information about this process here.
  3. Create a new book and select the option to share a folder with Leanpub using Dropbox. Then, select "Import" from the book tools on the left and click on HTML. Now, if you save your Word document as HTML, you can upload the file here and convert it to plain text and Markdown. There are some instructions for how to do this hrere.

We welcome authors who write in Word, but thought we'd take the opportunity here to explain our position on writing books in the digital age. We believe that writing in plain text and typing out your formatting instructions in a markup text is a better way to write books than Word, OpenOffice, DocBook, anything. This way of writing is purer, because your manuscript is 100% text, without being wrapped in the computer code that, say, Word uses to make a letter appear bold, which can change or become obsolete. It means that from a single source text, you can easily produce well-formatted ebooks in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and HTML formats. Also, Leanpub is based on the idea that publishing while you write is helpful. We call that idea "Lean Publishing"; see the manifesto for the full spiel :)

Q. I'm still a bit confused in terms of how to actually go about the layout and editing part. Can you help?
The best thing to do is look at the sample content for each Leanpub book style by clicking on the following links to download examples of our business, fiction and technical books.

Q. I created an account and a book, found it in my Dropbox and I edited the Book.txt file. I then returned to the Leanpub website and generated a preview. However, the preview didn't have the contents of Book.txt that I just updated. What's up?
You need to write your actual content in separate plain text files written with Markdown formatting. The Book.txt file is just a list of files. You can see the sample content for each Leanpub book styles by clickling on the following download links for business, fiction and technical books.


I'll try to explain briefly here.

The chapter structure is separate from the files.

# This is an h1, which becomes a chapter

## This is an h2, which becomes a section

### This is an h3, which becomes as subsection

Q. Do I put all the posts I want into one file can call that chapter1.txt? Do I have to create the Book.txt file in the order I want them to appear?
The Book.txt file just puts the files in order. (You could write an entire Leanpub book in one file, and then Book.txt would just list that file name.) The content of the files determines the chapters, sections, etc. Any
# Title at the beginning of a line
becomes an h1 which is a chapter. Everything after that will be in that chapter until the next
# Title at the beginning of a line
which will start the next chapter.

Q. I tried to generate a preview of my book, and I waited a couple hours and nothing happened. Is there a delay?
Depending on the size of your book, there's about a 2 - 10 minute delay. Chances are if you don't see it in 10 minutes it didn't generate. We currently write a file called book_generation.log to the preview or published directories, which is primarily for our debugging. If you have any issue with this, please email hello@leanpub.com and attach the book_generation.log file.

Q. I want to only import blog posts from the last 2 years, but the Leanpub import gets all my posts. How do I fix this?
Leanpub makes a separate file for each post it imports. So you can just delete the files you don't want from your Leanpub Dropbox folder, and remove them from the Book.txt file. Or, if your blogging platform supports custom RSS feeds for categories or dates, you can make an RSS feed containing only the posts you want (by category, say) and then import that feed into Leanpub instead of your full feed.

Q. Can I specify a font?
Yes, you can choose from a limited number of fonts, and you can set different fonts for chapter headings, body text, and code blocks if you are using them. When you are in your Leanpub book tools, select "Writing" on the left, and then choose "Book Theme". If you choose a custom theme, scroll down to adjust the font settings. The next time you previw or publish your book, you will see the new font you've selected in your book.

Q. How do I get the system to pick up my changes?
As soon as you save the files in the book folder, Dropbox will pick them up (assuming it is running) and the little Dropbox icon will look like a spinning thing. Once it's back to the green checkmark, Dropbox has the files. (Or, just wait about 10-20 seconds.) After this is true, clicking the publish button will trigger book generation with the latest files, since we always get the latest files from Dropbox.

Q. Can I delete my book? How?
As long as your book has no sales, you can delete your book. The button is at the bottom of the Edit Info page. If your book has sales, we have to offer it to its existing readers, so you currently can't delete it. In the future we will presumably add the ability to "archive" a book, so that it has no new sales but that its existing readers can still access it.

Q. Can the ebook be read on iPad, Kindle, Sony and other readers?
We support three formats: PDF, ePub (for iPad, Sony, Nook, etc.) and MOBI (for Kindle).

Q. Are the generated PDFs "PDF/X-3" (this is what both Lulu and Blurb are demanding for using their PDF-to-print workflow)?
We're not sure if they're "PDF/X-3", but we do know that authors have printed and sold Leanpub PDFs on Lulu. See this book for an example of a Leanpub book on Lulu (the corresponding Leanpub book is here).

Q. I have problems importing my blog, can you help?
Yes, we can! If you have any problems importing, please email hello@leanpub.com and we'll help you get your blog imported manually.

Q. If I import my blog, are those files available in Dropbox?
Yes! They will show up there after the import is complete.

Q. I have co-authors. Do you support having multiple authors for a book?
Yes! The preferred way to do this is via the Authors tab in your book's 'Settings' page. This lets you hook up complete author profiles to the book for each of your co-authors, not just their names. This way, Leanpub is more social and other books the authors write are discovered more easily.

Can I use Leanpub PDFs as part of the editing/reviewing process for my book?
Yes, you can. There are a number of PDF editors available. For example, in Preview on the Mac, your editors & reviewers can use the "Annotate -> Add Note" feature to add notes to your Leanpub-generated PDF.

Q. What about marketing? Will Leanpub market my book?
Right now we don't offer much help! (We have a bestsellers page, but this won't help you if you've sold no books!) Now, over time, we'll build the ability to browse books by category, etc, as well as facilitate the social discovery of your book by people who have purchased or liked similar books. For now, however, think of Leanpub as a way of monetizing your existing blog subscribers or Twitter followers. These people are your audience, and a certain subset of them (our hypothesis is 1% - 5%) are looking for a way to give you money for content you have already written. Leanpub is the best way of enabling this to happen, since we make that content into a book for you...

Q. What if a traditional publisher is interested in publishing my Leanpub book? What if I want to remove my book from Leanpub and publish it elsewhere, like on Amazon, for example?
At Leanpub you hold the copyright: you can publish your book on Leanpub while you are shopping it around. Getting traction on Leanpub can help you build buzz and strengthen your negotiating hand with publishers. For example, you can ask to keep the ebook rights, since the Leanpub royalty rate of 90% minus the 50 cent flat fee is much better than what most publishers offer.

To 'retire' your book from Leanpub, just go to the 'Book Admin' tab on the 'Actions' page for your book, and click the 'Retire my book' button. You can unretire your book later, if you decide to start selling your book on Leanpub again.

Q. Can I override your default copyright message with my own, custom copyright message?
Yes, you can. Just go to the 'General' tab in your book's 'Settings' page, and enter your information in the 'Custom Copyright Owner' and 'Custom Copyright Date Range' fields.

Q. Is it possible and permissible to take the .mobi file and directly upload it to the Kindle Store under our own name?
Yes, you can do that! You don't need our permission, but you have our blessing! :)

We're authors too, and the last thing an author wants is to feel like someone else owns their work or controls what they can do with it. It's yours. We're more than happy for you to make money in as many revenue streams as possible. As a courtesy to us, we would appreciate it if you left the mention of Leanpub in the second page (to help our marketing) when you sell it elsewhere, but you can remove that too if you want.

Our recommendation is to wait until the book is complete before putting it in the Kindle store and iBookstore, but you can do whatever you want. (Heck, you can even use Leanpub to make your book and put it in the Kindle store without ever selling it on Leanpub. However, from our perspective, it makes sense to also sell your books on Leanpub since we offer a better royalty structure as well as a nice mechanism to distribute updates to your in-progress books to your readers.

Q. What do you guys think about Amazon and Apple's bookstores? And what do you think about competitors that either charge a flat fee or take a cut to help to put books on the Amazon and Apple stores?
First off, we think that the Amazon and Apple bookstores are great, and that all finished books should be for sale in both stores. You can sell your Leanpub book yourself in both stores for $0. Or you can pay someone like BookBaby or Lulu to do this for you. We don't try to make any money from you when you sell your book in those stores. We have no lock-in.

Now, we think this makes sense for finished books, but not for in-progress books. While a Leanpub book is in-progress, we feel it makes sense to only be sold on Leanpub, since that way your readers get automatic updates when you publish new versions, etc. If you're writing a book and publishing lots of versions of it while you're writing, the last thing you want to deal with is having to update your book in a bunch of storefronts every time you release a new version.

However, we don't think that this is necessarily true of the other places that sell ebooks. While any Leanpub author is free to sell their Leanpub books wherever they want, we feel that storefronts other than Amazon or Apple don't produce much traffic themselves. (This is true of Leanpub too!) To promote your book, you need to do the work yourself, with blogging, Twitter, etc. To concentrate effort (and PageRank), it makes sense to point people at one storefront in your blog posts, tweets, etc. (We want that place to be Leanpub, obviously -- Amazon and Apple can take care of themselves :) Also, the reason we structured our royalties the way we do is so that you get a better deal with Leanpub, so you'll want to point at Leanpub so you make the most money from your marketing efforts!

One important thing to keep in mind is Leanpub's 90% (minus 50 cents) royalty rate for books at all price ranges. Amazon KDP Select (at the time this entry was written) offers its 70% royalty rate only for books priced under $10.00, and only 35% for books priced $10.00 or more. This is especially relevant if you are writing an academic, technical, or research-heavy book that ought to be priced over $9.99.

Also, Leanpub books are priced using "variable pricing". Variable pricing lets you set both a minimum and a suggested price for the book, and then lets the author choose what to pay. This is a really powerful method for selling ebooks online, as it expands the range of customers, establishes a special connection between author and reader, and even allows some books to be sold that otherwise would not be sold, because the author wants the book to also be available for free (you can set the minimum price to zero, but people can still choose to pay for the book if they want to).

Q. Can I use Leanpub to publish my book(s) to the Apple iBookstore and the Amazon Kindle Store?
No. We think authors should do this themselves, since that way they'll have more control over how their book is sold. Or, if the author does not want to do this, there are services like Lulu and BookBaby that can do this with Leanpub books. We don't want to be in that business -- for us, it's too labor-intensive and distracting to our core mission, which is making writing, publishing and selling in-progress ebooks as simple and elegant as possible.

Q. Do all Leanpub books need to start as blogs?
No! You can start from scratch, or from any content (that you own!) that has an RSS feed. Any content with an RSS feed can be imported into Leanpub. This includes different blogging platforms (LiveJournal, Blogger, Typepad, etc) and microblogging platforms (Twitter, etc). Or, you can start from scratch and write the entire book on Leanpub. If you import your RSS feed, what happens is that each RSS feed entry (blog post) turns into a file in your Dropbox folder.

Q. Most blogs are just electronic diaries; who, except maybe friends and family, would be interested in that?
That's true: many blogs are of no interest to anyone but their creators. Most diaries fall into this category. However, even diaries can be of interest if they are well-written. More generally, many blogs are really either collections of essays or contain 1 or more in-progress books in them. For example, Paul Graham's Hackers and Painters is a well-regarded book, which is a collection of essays which were originally published on his blog. In the Leanpub example, both Startup Lessons Learned and Venture Hacks are good reading, even though they were produced with no editing by their authors at all. However, we don't think that most Leanpub books will be produced with no editing. Instead, we expect that authors will import their blogs as a starting point, and then go through the process of "curating" their posts: deleting the "I just had a great lunch" type of posts, and editing, rearranging and expanding others. At the end of this process, you have a manuscript. The great thing is that you get to sell as you go, and get real feedback from readers (as well as money)...

Q. What if I have posts in my blog that aren't relevant?
You would just delete these posts entirely by deleting the files from your Dropbox folder and removing their names from Book.txt.

Q. What about photo books?
We don't add much value here. We recommend Lulu or similar services.

Q. Can I make complex and interesting layouts for my ebook using Leanpub?
You cannot do a complex or interesting layout in Leanpub via our normal ebook generation of PDF, EPUB and MOBI files.
However, you can do as complex or as interesting a layout as you want if you use our InDesign export feature.

The thinking here is as follows:

Leanpub is for publishing in-progress and completed ebooks. While the book is in-progress, you should be writing, not formatting, and Leanpub should save you from having to do any formatting by providing a simple, minimalist layout that is good enough. Furthermore, complex and interesting layouts often break on mobile.

When a book is done, we have a print-ready PDF export feature to produce a print-ready version of our minimalist layout. For many books this export is perfectly fine, and is sellable as-is on Lulu or CreateSpace.

However, it doesn't look custom designed -- not even close. For books with a design budget or design talent, nothing we do algorithmically will be 100% satisfactory. So, we provide the InDesign export, wherein we produce ICML files.

This way, we don't have to do any layout support at all in Leanpub, since (a) it would detract while the book was in-progress and lead to procrastination and (b) anything we did would not measure up to what Adobe enables talented designers to do anyway...

Q. Can I change the price of my book after creating it? For example, start cheap, grow the book based on feedback from readers, and increase its price as it's getting more valuable?
Yes, absolutely. You have complete control over the pricing, and we encourage new models of thinking about book development and pricing. This is exactly the model we think will work for many books. Publishing early to get early adopters for feedback and buzz is essential, and setting the price very low at the beginning helps this. You can change the price whenever you want in either direction, but we recommend starting low and increasing it over time so your early adopters don't feel taken.

Also, we support variable prices for books, so you can have a low (or free) minimum price, and a higher suggested price. Then as the book gains traction you can raise the minimum price and/or the suggested price. If your book lives up to the pattern we have seen with multiple books, about a third of people will pay the suggested price, a third will pay the minimum price and a third will pay somewhere in between. Finally, the odd person will pay more than the suggested price, even with your book having a decent spread between minimum and suggested prices. To optimize revenue and readership, you can run experiments where you lower the minimum price and/or raise the suggested price, and see what happens.

Q. If I signed up with you, would I be free to have my finished book printed and sold, separately? I'd get my own ISBN as well as copyright.
Yes! Currently we recommend putting your Leanpub PDF on Lulu. See this book for an example of a Leanpub book on Lulu (the corresponding Leanpub book is here). We take precisely $0 of the revenue you make outside of Leanpub -- whether that's direct PDF sales, print sales, etc :)

Q: What's the best way to make and send review copies of my book?
The best way to do this is to create coupons for your book. If you go to your book's 'Settings' and select 'Coupons', you can click 'New Coupon' to get started. You can set various parameters for any coupons you create, including coupon price, maximum number of uses, start date and end date. Anyone you give a coupon code to can use it to buy the book from the book's purchase page. If you set the coupon price to zero, they can get the book for free, like a review copy.

Q. What happens if a library wants to buy my book?
At Leanpub, we don't have a purchasing program for libraries. This is for a number of reasons, the main one being that many of our books are published while they are still in-progress. When a library does express interest in purchasing an individual book, we forward on the request to the author, who makes the decision to sell or not.

Please note that we do love libraries! Leanpub books belong to their authors, not to Leanpub, and we're simply letting our authors choose what they want to do with library sales.

Q. I'd like to use Leanpub to help an elderly parent create a book, but he's not computer savvy. Is this a good use of Leanpub? Is there anything you can do to help?
It's a great use of Leanpub. We're glad to help, but the good news is that we don't need to do anything special here. The following process will work for you:

  1. Create a new Leanpub account & book for your father. You can use his email address for this.
  2. Presumably he does not have a Dropbox account. Assuming this is true, when his email address gets the Dropbox sharing request from Leanpub, have him forward the email to you. You can either:
    a) just accept the sharing request using your Dropbox account
    b) accept the sharing request by creating a new Dropbox account for him, then send your Dropbox account a sharing request on his Dropbox folder
  3. Regardless of how you did #2, you're good to go. You can edit his book on your computer using your Dropbox account. Whenever you want to publish a new version for him, just login as him and click publish.
  4. Note that the book will sync with the Dropbox account that accepted the sharing request in #2, so you will see the generated books a bit faster if you just use your Dropbox account, since there won't be an extra Dropbox sync step through an intermediate Dropbox account.

If this doesn't make sense, please email hello@leanpub.com and we'll be glad to help.

Q. I am using vim to write my Leanpub book and I'm having issues with code snippet markup. Can you help?
Switch to Emacs.

Just kidding!

A Leanpub author shared this:
I just want to share a little fix I made to the markdown syntax in order to make it working with the code markup that this wonderful service requires when you want to insert a snippet of code in your books.

Just create a markdown.vim file in your .vim/after/syntax dir and add the following lines:
syn match markdownLeanCode '^<<(.*)$'
hi def link markdownLeanCode markdownH1

Now your code snippets won't mess up with the official markdown syntax provided by Vim

Q. Does Leanpub accept Erotica and Fan Fiction?
Yes, we do, though there are some special rules, which you can read below. If these rules are too onerous for you or you have any questions, please let us know.
If your book is Erotica and/or Fan Fiction it must be categorized as such, as special rules apply to those.

A Note About Cover Images
All cover images must be non-offensive and G-rated, regardless of book category. If we receive any complaints about a cover image, or if we notice it and determine that it is offensive or not G-rated, we will rename it and regenerate your book so that your book reverts to the default cover image. (To add a cover image, you create a file called title_page.jpg or title_page.png in your manuscript/images directory.)

Special Rules for Categories
Not only does categorizing your book help readers to discover it, but there are some additional rules and features for certain categories. In particular, special rules apply to books categorized as Erotica or Fan Fiction.

Special Rules for Books in the Erotica Category

  1. Books categorized as Erotica cannot contain any images in the book manuscripts themselves. Our book generator will ignore any image tags in the body of an Erotica book. (Leanpub is not in the business of publishing erotic or pornographic images, and since we do not read our books before they are published this is our best attempt at a reasonable policy.)
  2. Books categorized as Erotica will have their own category bestseller list instead of showing up in the main Leanpub bestseller list.
  3. The Erotica category will be kept behind an age verification form, in order to prevent inadvertent access by minors.
Special Rules for Books in the Fan Fiction Category

  1. Fan Fiction books are always free. This isn't just a $0 minimum price and a $0 suggested price; we actually do not let people pay for them. The reason here is that Fan Fiction is usually considered a derivative work, so for the protection of the author and of Leanpub we insist that the Fan Fiction is always given away, not sold.
  2. Fan Fiction books must identify the original work(s) upon which they are based.
  3. If the creator or copyright holder of the original work(s) objects to a derivative work of fan fiction, we will take down the book(s) in question.
  4. Books categorized as Fan Fiction will have their own category bestseller list instead of showing up in the main Leanpub bestseller list.
  5. The Fan Fiction category will be kept behind an age verification form, in order to prevent inadvertent access by minors (as much Fan Fiction is also Erotica).
  6. Books categorized as Fan Fiction cannot contain any images in the book manuscripts themselves. Our book generator will ignore any image tags in the body of a Fan Fiction book. (This is to ensure that none of the images are copyrighted or are erotica.)
Why support Erotica and Fan Fiction categories at all?
The reason that we support Erotica and Fan Fiction is that we want to be able to publish the next book like Fifty Shades of Grey, both in its original form as fan fiction and in its rewritten commercial form. Why would we want to do this? Well, there are three reasons:

  1. [Dr. Evil voice] We'd be rich!
  2. We like the approach: Fifty Shades of Grey was published using an approach very philosophically similar to what we have always advocated in our %{manifesto}. Specifically, we believe that books should be published as they are written, evolving in public with feedback from their readers. This is an apt description of the approach taken by the author of that book, as well as by many authors of Erotica and Fan Fiction!
  3. There's no middle ground: we either need to support these categories appropriately or censor them. So, we choose to support them, but to have code in place to handle them appropriately.
Think of these categories as subreddits on reddit.com: there are certain subreddits which are not part of the main reddit experience, but which exist happily in their own virtual sandbox.

Q. How do I delete or unpublish a book?
To unpublish a book, click on the 'Actions' tab and then go to 'Book Admin' and click the 'Unpublish Book' button. You can also delete your book there, if you wish to.

Q. How do I switch between different languages, in the same book?
We have instructions for how to switch between languages in our manual here.

Q: I'm a Leanpub author, and even after reading all these FAQs I'm still stuck! Can you help?
Sure! Just email hello@leanpub.com and we'll be happy to help you. (This email address sends email to everyone at Leanpub, so the right person can reply.)

Q. What time zone is Leanpub in?
The time zone Leanpub uses is UTC. This will affect e.g. the timing of when coupons expire. Someday we will add a feature so authors can set their time zone, but we can’t promise when. This tool can help you see your time zone in relation to UTC.

The Leanpub team is based on the west coast of Canada, so emails to our support team at hello@leanpub.com will usually be responded to during normal working hours PST.