Besides all the documentation below, we also have a shiny new help center which contains all our FAQs! So, if you have a specific question, look there first. If you can't find the answer there, you can ask us right from the help center by clicking on the smiling speech bubble or by emailing hello@leanpub.com.

Getting Started

Getting Started!

This is a tutorial about how to get started with Leanpub. It assumes that you've just created a new Leanpub book. To do this, please go to our new book page.

It takes 30 seconds to create a new Leanpub book. Once your book is created, you'll be sent back to this tutorial!

This is a short 6-step tutorial to help you get started. It should take between 5 and 15 minutes to complete.

By the end of it, you'll understand how to edit your book in Leanpub and how to generate previews of your book.

If at any point during the tutorial it stops making any sense, then we recommend watching one of our helpful videos at the bottom of this page, emailing us at hello@leanpub.com or joining the very helpful Leanpub Google Group.

Step 1: Set-up your Bitbucket Repo

Create a repository on Bitbucket.

The repository can be public or private.

If your repository is private, then add "leanpub" (https://bitbucket.org/leanpub) as a user to your repository so that we can read from it. To do this, when you're viewing your repo on Bitbcuket, click on "Settings" on the left menu and then "Access management", and then type our username leanpub into the box labelled "Users" and then click the "Add" button.

Giving us read-only permission is fine unless you are planning to import from a blog or from HTML, in which case we'll need write access.

The root of your Bitbucket repository should contain a directory called manuscript which will contain all of your book content. In the manuscript directory, you should create a file called Book.txt (we explain what this is used for below). We'll add some content in the next section.

Step 2: Start Writing

To create a new book, we'll create a first chapter now.

The manuscript folder is where you write your book. Let's add some content to it. First, make a file called chapter1.txt. Leanpub books are written in Markdown, so you can use your favourite text editor.

Make the contents of chapter1.txt be the following:

# Chapter 1
Hello, world!

Save the file.

Next, we're going to tell Leanpub we want this file in the book. To do this, we add the filename of the new file to the Book.txt file. The Book.txt file is just a list of the files in your book, in the order you want them included.

Create a new file called Book.txt, and add a line containing chapter1.txt to it. It should look like this when you're done:

chapter1.txt

Finally, commit and push your changes to Bitbucket. We're not going to explain git or Bitbucket in this tutorial.

Step 3: Make a Preview

This is where the magic happens. Click on the Preview tab on the left to create a preview of your book.

When you do this, we create three versions of your book for you:

  • PDF (for your computer)
  • EPUB (for iPad and other ebook readers and phones)
  • MOBI (for Kindle)

It takes a few minutes to generate the preview. Once the preview is done the files can be downloaded from the preview page for your book.

Open your book's Preview page by clicking on the 'preview' tab at the top of the page. To create a new preview of your book, click the button that says "Create Preview".

Don't worry, nobody but you will be able to see your book unless you publish it.

Step 4: Add Another Chapter

Let's add a second chapter. Start by creating a new file called chapter2.txt in the manuscript folder.

Let's put some content in it:

# Chapter 2

It was a **bold** and *italic* night!

Suddenly, a shot rang out!

Save your new file.

Now add this file to Book.txt. Right now Book.txt will just look like this:

chapter1.txt
To add your new chapter, just add chapter2.txt to the file, like this:
chapter1.txt
chapter2.txt

Save the Book.txt file. Then, go back to the Preview tab and make another Preview of your book.

Step 5: Make a post-commit hook (optional)

You can use the Leanpub API and a Bitbucket post-commit hook to start a preview every time you push to Bitbucket. Here's how you do it:

First, you'll need your Leanpub API key.

Now, set-up your Leanpub webhook.

  • Go to your repository's webhooks page on Bitbucket (Click on "Settings" and then "Webhooks").
  • Click on the "Add Webhook" button.
  • Enter "Leanpub" for the name
  • The URL will be "https://leanpub.com/YOUR_BOOK/preview.json?api_key=YOUR_API_KEY" (make sure to edit the api key)
  • Keep the trigger as "Repository Push"
  • Click on "Save"

Leanpub will now generate a preview every time you push to Bitbucket.

Step 6: Learn a Bit About Markdown

You may have wondered what the ** and * things were in step 4. This is an example of Markdown, which is the way you write your book in Leanpub. This step will teach you enough about Markdown for you to get started.

Paragraphs: You put blank lines between paragraphs.

Bold: You make bold text **by surrounding words with two asterisks like this**.

Italics: You make italic text *by surrounding words with one asterisk like this*.

Chapters: To start a new chapter, use # followed by the chapter title on a line by itself, like this:

# Chapter Title

It was the best of chapters, it was the worst of chapters.

Sections: To start a new chapter section, use ## followed by the section title on a line by itself, like this:

## Section Title

I'm a lowly section.

That's basically all you need to know to start writing in Markdown! If you want to learn more about Markdown, the Leanpub Manual has more than you'll ever need to know.

That's it for this quick tutorial!

Stuck?

If you're stuck, either...

  • Email us at hello@leanpub.com and we'll be happy to help you.
  • or...
  • Join the very helpful Leanpub Google Group and post your question there, especially if it's general in nature. We read every post and reply promptly, and lots of our authors are helpful too!

Videos

We also have some helpful videos, which show you how to use Leanpub. These cover the 3 common ways Leanpub is used to write a new book: starting from scratch with a brand new book, starting by importing a blog, and starting by converting and importing a Word document. They also include a video showing you how to make a bundle of Leanpub books to sell together.

How to Use Leanpub

  • How to Start a Book from Scratch

    This video shows you how to sign up for Leanpub and create, preview and publish your first Leanpub book. We start from scratch, using Markdown to write a brand new book in Leanpub. You can also find these instructions written out on our website here and in book format (for free!) here.

  • How to Start a Book with Your Blog

    This video shows you how to make a brand new Leanpub book, starting by importing your blog's RSS feed into Leanpub and editing the resulting Markdown files. You can also find these instructions written out on our website here and in book format (for free!) here.

  • How to Start a Book with a Word Document

    This video shows you how to make a brand new Leanpub book, starting by converting one of your Microsoft Word documents into Markdown. You can also find these instructions written out on our website here and in book format (for free!) here.

  • How to Create a Bundle of Leanpub Books

    This video shows you how to make a bundle of Leanpub books, using either your books entirely or proposing a bundle of your books and another author's related books. You can also find these instructions written out on our website here and in book format (for free!) here.

Markdown Videos

How to use Markdown to Write a Leanpub Book

All Leanpub books are written using Markdown. This video series explains how to use Markdown to write a Leanpub book, with the focus being on the Markdown syntax not the Leanpub process.

  • Markdown Video #1

    This is part 1 of a 3-part series on how to use Markdown to format a Leanpub book.

  • Markdown Video #2

    This is part 2 of a 3-part series on how to use Markdown to format a Leanpub book.

  • Markdown Video #3

    This is part 3 of a 3-part series on how to use Markdown to format a Leanpub book.