×

How To...

Preface

In this book we will show you how to make and publish a Leanpub book from your Microsoft Word files directly.

Rather than simply setting out some dry instructions, in this book and the accompanying video we hope you’ll follow along by going through the process yourself. (The latest video and more information can be found at http://leanpub.com/help).

In the following chapters, we’ll walk you step-by-step through:

  • creating a new book
  • saving your Word file as HTML
  • converting the HTML file using Leanpub
  • editing your content
  • publishing your book

One last thing before you get started: like many other Leanpub books, this one is also a ‘living’ book that will be changed in response to reader comments and suggestions. So if there’s anything you’d like us to cover that we missed, or if you have any suggestions for improvement, please email us at hello@leanpub.com.

Thanks!

The Leanpub Team

How to Convert a Word Document Directly Using Leanpub

In this book, we explain how to create and publish a Leanpub ebook from your Microsoft Word files.

This book follows the Leanpub video ‘How to Start a Book with a Word Document’, in which Leanpub’s Len Epp shows you how to create a new book in Leanpub and then convert your Microsoft Word files into an ebook with the click of a button (or two!), and how to edit and publish the resulting ebook. You’ll learn about a number of Leanpub features, like easily creating a landing page / web page for your book, setting the minimum and suggested price, and more!

You can watch the video on Leanpub’s Help page at http://leanpub.com/help and on YouTube.

Although at Leanpub we hope everyone will learn the joys of writing in Markdown, which is the best text format for writing ebooks, we are aware that most people still write in Microsoft Word and won’t want to switch right away. Using Leanpub’s one-click file conversion process, you can continue to write in Microsoft Word, easily converting your Word files to Markdown whenever you want to add a new chapter or set of edits to your book.

While there are a number of steps described in this section, like signing in to your account, the process of converting your Word files into an e book is actually very simple. We try to describe and actually show you in detail every step along the way, following the steps in the video.

The three steps to creating a Leanpub book from your Word files are:

Step One: Create a New Book & Convert Your Microsoft Word Files
Step Two: Create a Preview and Edit Your Book
Step Three: Publish Your Book

Step One: Create a New Book & Convert Your Microsoft Word Files

In the text below and in the video, we’ll be converting a Microsoft Word file called ‘Game of Moose’:

It’s not a lot of content, just three very short chapters, but it’s enough to convert and get started writing on Leanpub!

To get started converting this file into an ebook, let’s go to Leanpub’s homepage at leanpub.com and click ‘Sign In’ at the top right of the page.

This takes you to a page where you’ll be prompted to enter your Leanpub email address or Username, and the password for your Leanpub account, and finally to click the ‘Sign In’ button.

Dashboard

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard page, where you’ll see all the Leanpub books you’re currently working on.

Now it’s time to create the template files and folders for your new Leanpub ebook. To do that, just scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Create Another Leanpub Book Now!’

New Book Page

This takes you to the New Book page, where you’ll be prompted to enter some basic information about your book.

Enter Book Name

First you’ll be asked to create a title for your book. You can always change this at a later time. Since for now you’re just making a book to test out Leanpub, you can call it whatever you like. As mentioned above, in the video, the book is called Game of Moose.

Enter Book URL

At this stage you’ll also be asked to enter a URL for your book. This is the address of the web page that Leanpub will automatically create for your book. Until you have your first sale, you can change this URL at any time. It can’t have any spaces and it’s best to keep it all in lower-case letters, since that looks better in Internet browser address bars. This will be the landing page or public staging area for your book, and you want it to look great!

Select Book Style

The last thing you’ll need to do is select a ‘Book Style’. Leanpub has three default book styles, Business, Fiction and Technical, each of which has different default settings for things like page size, font size, and other parameters. You can change the book style at any time, and you can also play with a number of formatting options available within each book style. In the video, we went with the plain Business style.

Here’s an image from the video of the completed New Book page:

Click ‘Create Book’

Now that you’ve filled everything in, it’s time to create the template files for your new book! Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click this button:

Help Page

Once you’ve clicked the link in the email to confirm your account, you’ll (helpfully) be taken to the Leanpub authors Help page as a starting point. At the top of the page, you’ll see all the Leanpub book tools and online services you’ll need to import your blog and curate your new book, especially ‘Settings’, ‘Preview’, and ‘Publish’.

Progress Bar

At the top of the page you’ll also see the handy blue Leanpub progress bar, which shows up whenever you’ve given Leanpub a task to complete. In just a moment, you’ll see Leanpub complete all the steps in the creation of the template files and folders for your new book! When it’s done, the progress bar will indicate that the book creation process is complete:

Dropbox

Before you can start adding your own content to the ‘skeleton’ book Leanpub has already created for you, you’ll need to get access to the Dropbox folder Leanpub has created for your new book.

Leanpub works with Dropbox by setting up a shared folder for your book online. Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage and file synchronization, and you can sign up to use it for free. When you’re working on a shared folder in Dropbox, any changes you make on your computer are synchronized online. That means that the next time you save a change on your computer, Dropbox registers the change, and Leanpub will be working from your very latest files.

To access the shared Dropbox folder that Leanpub has created for your book, go to your email inbox. There you’ll find a Dropbox sharing request email from the Leanpub Bookbot.

The image below shows the confirmation email you’ll see in the video; obviously your email inbox will look different, but the email will be from Leanpub and the subject will start with ‘Leanpub BookBot wants to share…’:

Open the email, scroll to the bottom and click the blue ‘View’ link and you’ll sync your Dropbox folder on your computer with the new folder for your book.

At this point you’ll be taken to a sign in page for Dropbox (unless you’re already signed in to your Dropbox account). Once you’re signed in, you’ll be prompted to accept a Dropbox sharing request.

Once you’ve accepted the shared folder invitation for your book, Dropbox will get to work syncing your computer with the shared folder, which exists online. Whenever Dropbox has finished syncing the files on your computer with the online folder, you will see a green checkmark in the Dropbox icon in your computer’s menu bar.

After Dropbox is done syncing the new shared folder for your book with you, you’ll see it appear in your Dropbox folder (in the video, the new folder is called ‘gameofmoose4’). In that folder, you’ll find another folder called ‘convert_html’:

Save Your Word File As HTML

(Please note that in this section, as always, we’re working in Finder, on a Mac; if you’re on a PC, you’ll be using Windows Explorer, and things will look different).

By default, Microsoft Word files are saved in .doc or .docx format. To save the file as HTML, go open your Word file and select File –> Save As:

Here you can select the format that you would like to save the file in. By default, Word selects ‘Word Document’:

If you click on this ‘Format’ menu, you’ll see that you can save in a number of different formats. For our purposes, you should select ‘Web Page (.htm)’:

(Don’t worry that it says ‘.htm’ instead of ‘.html’!)

Now, click the ‘radio button’ next to ‘Save only display information into HTML’:

Next, click on the ‘Web Options…’ button:

Next, go to the ‘Encoding’ tab and make sure that ‘Unicode (UTF-8)’ has been selected. You can also click the button below to ‘Always save Web pages in the default encoding’, which we recommend you do if you’re going to be converting again with Leanpub.

This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but it can help make the conversion process perfect!

Finally, click ‘OK’ and then save the file into the ‘convert_html’ folder in your book’s folder:

These steps may seem a bit copmlicated the first time you do them, but please note that really, all we did was save the file as a web page in the ‘convert_html’ folder!

Import Your HTML Files

Let’s go back to Leanpub. In the book tools section across the top, you’ll see there’s a tool called ‘Import’. Click on that and you’ll be taken to the Import page:

The first thing you’ll see is the option to import your blog, which we explain in another section of this manual, and in another video. For now, scroll to the bottom of the page:

If you click on this button, Leanpub will look in the ‘convert_html’ folder for your book and convert all the .html files it finds there:

(Again, don’t worry that it the file name has ‘.htm’ instead of ‘.html’, our software can handle this!)

So, let’s go back to Leanpub and click on the ‘Start Conversion’ button to get things going!

Settings

While Leanpub is converting the file, let’s look at some neat features for playing with your book’s content and appearance.

Click on ‘Settings’ in the book tools. This is the most important book tool you have for changing the parameters of the book you’re making, and for adding details to your book’s web page. It’s here that you can change the book title, add a subtitle, change the book’s URL (until your first sale!), font size, page size, and a number of other details!

To add a subtitle to your book, just enter some text in the ‘Book Subtitle (optional)’ box. Here’s what we did in the video:

About the Book

When you scroll down a bit, you’ll find the ‘About the Book’ section, where you can enter information that will appear on your book’s landing page:

Whenever you’ve made changes to the Settings page, please scroll to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Update Book’ button to make sure the changes are implemented:

The Landing Page

After you click the ‘Update Book’ button, you’ll be taken to the book’s landing page, where you can see the impact of some of the changes you’ve made on the Settings page.

Here’s a screenshot of the example landing page created in the video:

On the landing page, you’ll see:

  • the book’s title (and subtitle, if there is one)
  • a red box indicating that the book is currently unpublished
  • the author name
  • a section where a visitor to the landing page can enter her name and email address, and the price she’d be willing to pay for the book, and a green button she can click so she can be notified when the book is published
  • an ‘About the Book’ section (currently blank; we’ll show you how to put some information in just a moment)
  • an ‘About the Author’ section which will, by default, include any information about yourself that you’ve entered in your account

Here you can see the information we just entered on the Settings page:

By now, Leanpub will have finished converting your Word file. Just to confirm this, go back into the Dropbox folder for your book, and you’ll see that a new folder called ‘convert_done’ has been created:

That means it’s time to create the first ‘Preview’ of your book!

Markdown

Just a word about what Leanpub’s doing when it’s converting. Leanpub converts your content into Markdown, the text format that Leanpub uses to generate ebooks.

You’ll learn more about Markdown as you become more familiar with writing on Leanpub. Essentially, it’s a really simple way of formatting books so that the formatting appears correctly in different ebook formats (PDF, EPUB and MOBI). For more information about formatting in Markdown, you can check out the Markdown ‘syntax’ page at http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/.

Step Two: Create a Preview and Edit Your Book

Now, go to the ‘Preview’ tab in the book tools at the top of the page and then click the ‘Create a Preview of My Book’ button.

Once you click the button, Leanpub’s progress bar will appear and display what stage Leanpub is at in the process:

Previews

A Preview is a version of your book that only you can see. You generate Previews whenever you’ve made changes to your content or formatting and you’d like to see how they look in the ebook. Essentially, a Preview is a kind of ‘working copy’ of your book. When you’re happy to release your book to the public for the first time, or when you’ve updated the book and want to release the latest version to the public, that’s when you’ll go to the Publish page in the book tools - but more on that later!

Previews are created in all three ebook formats that Leanpub produces for published books, namely PDF, MOBI and EPUB. PDF files can be read on any computer using a PDF viewer like Preview (for Macs) or Adobe Reader (which you can download for free). EPUB format ebooks are for the iPad and a number of specialized ebook readers. The MOBI format is used for reading ebooks on the Amazon Kindle. So your Leanpub ebook will be available to be read on a number of different devices in a variety of formats.

Shortly Leanpub will complete the process of creating your first Preview. When it’s done, just click on Preview again, and you’ll see that your Preview is available to download in all three formats:

The Book Sample

You’ll note on this page that whenever Leanpub generates Previews, it makes Previews of both your ‘Full Book’ and your ‘Book Sample’. The ‘Full Book’ is, naturally enough, your complete book. The ‘Book Sample’ is an ebook that Leanpub generates from just a small part of your full book, and is made available for free download to readers who come to your book’s landing page. You can decide what to include in the Book Sample (we’ll be showing you how to easily edit its contents below), or you can decide not to make a sample available at all.

However, we do encourage you to make a free sample available. This replicates an important part of the traditional book buying process. In a physical bookstore, a reader can go in, browse the shelves, and actually take down your book, maybe read a blurb about it on the back, and see some information about you, the author. All of these ‘features’ are provided virtually on Leanpub, via its Bestsellers page and your book’s landing page. But the reader in a physical bookstore can also open up the book and take a look at some of the contents, to see if they like your writing. The Book Sample on Leanpub is the virtual version of this feature of buying a book the traditional way, and potential readers really appreciate the chance to get a look inside before they buy.

Now let’s take a look at the PDF Preview that was created from the template book files. To do this, click on the link to the .pdf file in the Full Book section on the Preview page.

The first thing you’ll see is the title page, which Leanpub generates automatically in black and white:

(Please note that in these screenshots, taken from the video, we’ll be looking at the PDF in Preview. This will look different if you’re using a different PDF viewer, like Adobe Reader).

The second page of your Preview will be the ‘verso’ page that Leanpub generates with some standard publication information, including the date on which this version of your book was created:

The next page you’ll see is the Contents page, which Leanpub also generates automatically.

If you click on sections in the Contents page, you’ll navigate directly to that page in the ebook.

At this point, you’ll just see two main sections have been created for your book. ‘Chapter One’, was created as part of the default new book template, and containts some standard text Leanpub inserts every time you create a new book.

Beneath Chapter One, you’ll see a header for ‘Converted Files’. This is where Leanpub puts the content it converted from the files in the ‘convert_html’ folder for your book, after you click ‘Start Conversion’. Since we had just the one file, ‘Game of Moose’, in that folder when we clicked ‘Start Conversion’, we’ll just see one subsection here, with the title of that file.

If we go to the next page, we’ll see the default Chapter One text:

The next page will show the start of the Converted Files section, where you’ll see the content of your Word file has been successfully converted:

Now let’s take a look at the Book Sample. To do this, go back to the Preview page in Leanpub and click on the .pdf link in the ‘Book Sample’ section.

The cover and verso pages of your Book Sample will be the same as for your full book, but you’ll notice a difference in the Contents page:

Your book sample just contains Chapter One because Leanpub assumes that you’ll want your Book Sample to contain only a portion of your full book.

So, now it’s time to edit your new ebook! Please note at this point that your Microsoft Word file has already been converted into an ebook; what we’re going to do now is show you how to ‘curate’ your book to get it exactly right.

In the next few sections, we’ll show you how to delete the ‘Converted Files’ header, how change the content of Chapter One, create two new chapters with the content from your Word file, how to select the content for the Book Sample, and how to add a cover image!

The Manuscript Folder

To do this work, we’ll have to change the content of the ‘manuscript’ folder in your book’s folder. The ‘manuscript’ folder is the all-important folder where all the files with your book’s content are kept.

First, let’s delete that ‘Converted Files’ header that you saw in your Preview. There are two steps to deleting sections like this.

First, in the ‘manuscript’ folder for your book, select the ‘converted.txt’ file:

If you open the file, you’ll see that it just consists of a line like this:

See that number sign # before ‘Converted Files’? The number sign tells Leanpub that what follows is the text for a ‘header’. The ‘header’ appears in the Table of Contents and as bold text, in a large font size, before the text that follows.

So when Leanpub created the Preview, when it looked at the ‘converted_files.txt’ file, it only found this:

# Converted Files

… and so that’s what it created: a header with the text ‘Converted Files’. You can create separate text files for section headings like this if you like, which can help you set up the list of your files in Book.txt, which we’ll be explaining shortly.

Adding and Editing Chapters

You may have noticed that the Game of Moose text has three chapters, each with two paragraphs. Assuming your own work will come in separate chapters or section too, now we’ll show you how to separate out the content from your converted Word file into different sections in your ebook.

Now let’s change that text in the defauly Chapter One section into the text from Chapter One in the Word file that we converted. In order to do that, in the video we opened up the ‘GAme of Moose.txt’ file and selected the text for Chapter One:

Let’s just cut that text out, which will copy it and delete it from the ‘Game of Moose.txt’ file. Then, go into ‘chapter1.txt’ in your ‘manuscript’ folder and select all the text:

Now, just paste in the text we cut before, and ‘chapter1.txt’ will have the text from your converted Word file:

To finish this task, just add a number sign # before ‘Chapter One’ at the top:

… and the next time you create a Preview, Leanpub will know to format ‘Chapter One’ as a header, and will include the content of the chapter below as normal text.

You can do the same thing with the remaining two chapters in the ‘Game of Moose.txt’ file. Just create a new text file with your text editor (we’re using TextEdit in the video, since we’re using a Mac), cut and paste in the content you want, add the number sign before the chapter heading, and save the file with an appropriate name in your ‘manuscript’ folder’.

In the video, to make a file for Chapter Two, we created a new .txt file, pasted in the text from the ‘Game of Moose.txt’ file for Chapter Two, and saved it as ‘chapter2.txt’ in the manuscript folder:

In the video, for Chapter Three, you’ll see that we didn’t actually create a new file for this chapter. Since the only content left was the content for that chapter, we just added the number sign before ‘Chapter Three’, and renamed the file from ‘Game of Moose.txt’ to ‘chapter3.txt’ and saved the changes:

Subsections

Before we move on, let’s take a moment to explain subections. You probably noticed that in this Preview’s table of contents, ‘Game of Moose’ appeared as a subsection under ‘Converted Files’.

We explained how to format headers earlier: just put a number sign # in front of the text for the header. Subsection headings are indicated with two number signs ## like this:

## Game of Moose

… so when we looked in the ‘Game of Moose.txt’ file, at the top we saw:

## Game of Moose

… and that’s why ‘Game of Moose’ showed up formatted as a subsection!

The Book.txt File

Now for the really important part! When Leanpub generates a Preview from the content in your ‘manuscript’ folder, it needs to know which files to include, and in which order.

This function is carried out using the ‘Book.txt’ file that Leanpub creates in your ‘manuscript’ folder:

‘Book.txt’ is a list of the files that you want included in your book, in the order that you want them to appear. Here’s what it looks like:

Now since we’ve added new files and renamed the ‘Game of Moose.txt’ file, we need to change the instructions in Book.txt, so Leanpub knows which files to look for in the ‘manuscript’ folder, and which order to put them in, next time it creates a preview.

To do this, in the video we just typed in the names of the three chapter files and saved the change:

Editing the Book Sample

Next, let’s confirm the content we want to be included in our Book Sample, which will also be created next time we generate a Preview of the book.

To tell Leanpub what to include in the Book Sample, you use the file ‘Sample.txt’ (which is also in your ‘manuscript’ folder) in exactly the same way you use ‘Book.txt’. ‘Sample.txt’ is a list of the files in the ‘manuscript’ folder that you want to appear in your Book Sample, in the order you want them to appear. So if we open up the ‘Sample.txt’ file currently in the ‘manuscript’ folder, here’s what we’ll find:

Let’s say we want to be generous to our potential readers and include the first two chapters in the Book Sample. To do that, just type in ‘chapter2.txt’ under ‘chapter1.txt’:

… and save the change. Next time you create a Preview of your book, Leanpub will look in ‘Sample.txt’ for the instructions regarding which files to include, and will just include the content of ‘chapter1.txt’ and ‘chapter2.txt’, in that order.

Now we have just one more thing to do - add a cover image!

Adding a Cover Image

Adding a cover image to a Leanpub book is easy, but you have to have a cover image ready in the first place! For now, let’s just use the default cover image that Leanpub provides in its sample books. To download the sample book for a ‘Business’ style book, go to Leanpub’s Help page and click on the ‘business’ link:

Once you click on the link, you’ll download a file called ‘samplebusiness.zip’. Once you unzip and open the file (you should be able to do this by just double-clicking on the file), you’ll see some folders similar to those in the book you’re working on:

If you go into the ‘manuscript’ folder and then into the ‘images’ folder, you’ll find a file called ‘title_page.jpg’.

When you generate a Preview on Leanpub, it looks in the ‘images’ folder to see if you have a cover image. Specifically, it looks for a file called ‘title_page.jpg’ or ‘title_page.png’ (jpg and png are two different image formats). So if you create a cover image, just rename it ‘title_page.jpg’ and put it in the ‘images’ folder for your book, and it will be the new cover image for your book.

For now, you can just copy the ‘title_page.jpg’ file in the current folder, and then paste it into the ‘images’ folder for the book you’re working on:

Next time you create a Preview, you’ll see this image will be used to create the cover for your book.

Please note that different book styles have different size requirements for cover pages. You can find these requirements in The Leanpub Manual and on the Leanpub Documentation page at http://leanpub.com/docs, but don’t worry about it for now - just play around with this default cover image to see how this process works.

Now let’s go back to Leanpub and back to the Preview page, and create a new Preview that will reflect all these changes!

While Leanpub is doing that, let’s take a look at a couple of other Leanpub features.

About the Author

Let’s start by changing the text in the ‘About the Author’ section from the book’s landing page:

There are two ways to change the information displayed in the ‘About the Author’ section of your book’s landing page.

1. Change Your Account Profile: By default the ‘About the Author’ section displays the information you have entered about yourself in your Leanpub account profile.

2. Change The Custom Blurb On The Settings Page: If you go to the Settings page and stay on the General tab, scroll down and you’ll find a place to enter information under the heading ‘Custom About the Author Blurb (optional)’. This section overrides the ‘About You’ section in your Leanpub account profile for this book. This is useful if, say, you mostly publish professional books on Leanpub, but also want to write a book about your hobby. By overriding the ‘About You’ account information, with the Custom About the Author Blurb you can let readers know about what your specific qualifications are with respect to the particular topic you’re writing about.

Here’s what we did in the video:

After you’ve entered some information here, don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Update Book’ button as always!

Now, when you go back to the book’s landing page, you’ll see your custom blurb information, instead of your account profile information, in the About the Author section:

Setting Your Book’s Pricing

Since we’re almost ready to publish our book, it’s time to set the pricing. In order to do that, go back to the Settings page in the book tools, and scroll down until you see the ‘Minimum Book Price’ and ‘Suggested Book Price’ sections. Let’s change the Minimum Book Price to $10.00 and the Suggested Book Price to $15.00:

The reason you set two prices is that Leanpub uses ‘variable pricing’. In the more familiar model of buying things, a buyer is just given one sticker price, and that’s it, take it or leave it. With variable pricing, a buyer is presented with a suggested price, and then chooses how much she wants to pay. She can just accept the suggested price, or she can pay less, down to the minimum price amount. But she can also pay more, and we find that buyers do often do that. We suggest you experiment a bit with your pricing, since you can sometimes get surprising results.

For example, lowering the suggested price can often mean you make more money, because people think the suggested price is too low, and they opt to pay more. That means that if your initial suggested price is, say, $15, people might feel that’s too steep, and go down to your minimum price of $10. But if you lower your suggested price to $12, people might feel that’s too low, and instead opt to pay you $17.

Please note that with Leanpub, your minimum book price can be as low as zero, but the next lowest price is $0.99 - that’s because financial transactions cost money, and at a price above zero but below $0.99, we’d actually be losing money on every sale.

Suggested Hashtag

If you scroll down the page further, you’ll find a section called ‘Suggested Hashtag (Optional). In this section, you can enter a suggested ‘hashtag’ that will be inserted into your book in a new page called ‘Tweet This Book!’. This page will be inserted near the beginning of your book, after the ‘verso’ page, and is designed to encourage readers to use Twitter to spread the word about your book. But composing a Tweet that includes your suggested hashtag, a reader can start a discussion about your book and bring attention to your work.

It’s usually good to select a hashtag that’s similar to the title of your book. Here’s the hashtag we chose in the video:

One last thing: before you leave this page, make sure to click the ‘Update Book’ button to make sure the changes you’ve made to this page are registered:

Note that when you go back to your book’s landing page after updating the price settings, you still won’t see them appear, because your book has not been published yet.

Step Three: Publish Your Book

Review Changes To Your Ebook

So, we’ve generated a new Preview of the book after making some changes, and now it’s time for us to review the impact of those changes and confirm everything’s ok, before we go ahead and publish.

To do this, you can go back to the Preview page in the book tools and click on the .pdf link for the Full Book, just like we did earlier. But that would in fact be a bit redundant - because all your ebook files are already on your computer!

If you go look at your book folder in Dropbox, you’ll see a file called ‘preview’. Every time Leanpub creates a new Preview of your book, it puts copies of the latest files (in all three ebook formats) in this folder. Here’s how it looks in the video:

Now double-click on the .pdf for your full book (it’s the one that doesn’t have the word ‘sample’ in the file title) to review the changes you made:

Right away you’ll notice a big change - now you have a title page for your book! In this case of course it’s the Sample Business Book image we downloaded from Leanpub, but now that you know how to do this, you can replace it with your own cover image anytime.

To see another change, check out the Contents page:

Now instead of seeing ‘Chapter One’ and ‘Converted Files’ with ‘Game of Moose’ as a subsection, you’ll see ‘Chapter One’, ‘Chapter Two’, and ‘Chapter Three’.

As an example of how the chapters have been created, let’s take a look at Chapter One:

… which exactly reflects what we have in ‘chapter1.txt’:

Now let’s check out the Book Sample. You’ll remember that the Book Sample we opened earlier had just ‘Chapter One’ in its contents. But since we changed the content of Chapter One and added a reference to ‘chapter2.txt’ in ‘Sample.txt’, this will look different now.

To open the .pdf of the Book Sample, go back and find it in the ‘preview’ folder dfor your book:

Here’s a screenshot from the video of the table of contents from the Book Sample:

So everything looks good! The book may still be in progress, but that shouldn’t prevent us from making it public, and starting to get feedback from readers, and develop a following. It’s time to publish our book!

Step Three: Publish Your Book

To publish the book, click on the Publish link in your book tools. This will take you to the following page:

One thing you’ll notice right away is that there is a section here for ‘Release Notes’. When your book is published, anyone who clicked the green button on your book’s landing page asking to be notified of publication, will be sent an email from Leanpub telling them that your book is now available. If you want to send them a customized message, you can enter it here - telling them that this is the first version of your book, or the latest version, or the final version, or whatever you like.

In this case we know no one has signed up for this book, so let’s just leave this section empty, and go directly to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Publish My Book’ button.

Now you’ll see Leanpub’s progress bar telling you that it’s on its way to publishing your book!

Leanpub’s Royalty Structure

In the meantime, here’s some information about Leanpub’s royalty structure. As soon as your book is published, people will be able to pay for it, so it’s important that you have some information about how much you’re going to get from each sale.

Traditionally, when someone buys a print book, they go to a book store and pay the sticker price. Let’s say that you’ve had your book published in print and the sticker price is $20. When someone buys the book, half their money goes to the bookstore and other middlemen, leaving 50% for your publisher, or in this case $10. In a typical publishing contract, an author might get 10%. But that’s not 10% of the sale price - that’s 10% of the publisher’s take. So in this example, when someone pays $20 for your print book, you get $1.

Now, let’s say you’re also selling your content as an ebook on Leanpub. Since it’s an ebook and not a print book, people would expect the price to be lower, so let’s say that in this case you set the price at $10 (which is the minimum price we set earlier for the book we’re working on right now). With Leanpub’s royalty structure of 90% - 50 cents (per transaction, to take care of transaction costs), you’d get $8.50 of the buyer’s $10.

Just to put that in some perspective, let’s say you sold 12 copies of your book as a Leanpub ebook. Then you’d make $8.50 x 12 = $102. But you’d have to sell 100 copies of your book in print form, with a traditional publisher, in order to make $100, since your take would be just $1 per print book sale. And that’s true even assuming that the price of a print book is twice the price of an ebook!

Let’s go back to the Publish page in Leanpub to see if the book we’re working on has been published:

Cool! Before we look at the book, we’d just like to point out that now if you go back to your book folder in Dropbox, you’ll find a ‘published’ folder has been created, containing copies of your published ebook and the Book Sample:

The published book will look exactly like the last preview you looked at. In this case, however, that’s not quite true. Remember how we used the Leanpub ‘suggested hashtag’ feature on the Settings page? Well, we did that after we had started generating the last preview. So in your published book, now you’ll find this page:

… which will also appear in your published Book Sample.

Let’s go back to Leanpub. Now you can just click on ‘Your Book’ in the top left (in the book tools):

… in order to see the impact this has had on your book’s landing page:

As you can see things are quite different. Now the red ‘Unpublished’ box is gone next to your book’s title, and so are the boxes where interested readers could ask to be notified of your book’s publication. Instead, there’s a green button that says ‘Buy the ebook now!’, and underneath the button there’s a link allowing readers to download your Book Sample free, in PDF format. Also, readers can see the minimum and suggested price for the book.

When someone wants to buy your book, they click on the green button and are taken to the following page:

On this page, you’ll see something really cool: Leanpub’s variable pricing ‘sliders’. The top slider lets buyers set the price they’re going to pay for the book. In this case, the suggested price for the book is $15, so that’s where the slider starts. If the buyer wants to pay less, she can grab the slider and drag it to the left, until she gets to your minimum price:

But the buyer can also drag the slider to the right to pay more, or they can just type in the amount they want to pay by clicking on the price:

And when the buyer is happy with the price she’s selected, she just scrolls to the bottom of the page and clicks on the PayPal link. Just one last thing about pricing: you may have noticed that in addition to the ‘You Pay’ slider on top, there’s also an ‘Author Earns’ slider on the bottom. The two sliders move in tandem: when you drag the ‘You Pay’ slider to pay more, you see that the ‘Author Earns’ amount is also going up.

This is a really powerful tool, and a big change in the way people think about what they’re doing when they’re buying something. For example, one thing we found after we put these sliders on our site, was that people were paying odd prices for books, like $11.67. When we looked into it to see what was going on, we discovered something pretty neat. People weren’t selecting the price they were going to pay; they were selecting how much they wanted to give the author.

In the $11.67 example, what was happening was that buyers were choosing to give authors $10.00 even:

Which is pretty cool!

Marketing Your Book

Now that your book is published, it’s time to tell the world about it. We’re not going to spend a lot of time here telling you how to market your book. But since you already have a landing page set up for your book, you’re already well on your way. Just copy and paste the URL from the landing page and head over to Twitter, and/or Facebook, or whatever social networking site your prefer, paste in the URL (and your suggested hashtag!) and send a message to your followers to get the ball rolling.

Thanks very much for reading this section, and thanks for being a Leanpub author!