About the Book
This is a book on creating ebooks using Markdown. No esoteric and complicated formats. No WYSIWYG editors. No PDF hell. Just plaintext.
You'll learn the following;
- The differences between various Markdown implementations
- How to take Markdown and turn it into;
- How to work with code samples, codeblocks, images, TOC etc
- How to build custom Markdown extensions using Kramdown. For stuff like;
- code bubbles
- and other nifty little doodads
- How various html ebook format wrappers (such as ePub, mobi etc) work. No magic!
- Common markdown pitfalls (I documented all my failures while writing this book)
- Various techniques for previewing your Markdown output
- Sublime Text Previewing
- html previews
- automatic previews using the guard gem
- How to mirror the Leanpub workflow using local tools
- How to customize converters so you have full control of your in-between formats; laTeX (pdf) and HTML (ePub, mobi etc)
- The minimal laTeX you'll need to get stuff done with PDF
What you need to know
Some hacker skills are necessary to make full use of this book. To write books using Markdown you'll need to be comfortable getting your hands dirty, breaking things and learning. This book doesn't assume you're skilled in any particular language but it assumes you are skilled in programming. Familiarity with your systems package manager will be necessary.
Can you do this? $ homebrew install
Or if you are on Linux this? $ sudo apt-get install
If this leaves you scratching your head then you are not ready for this book. If you are left feeling comfortable and at ease, not queasy and fearful, then you are ready.
Some rudimentary ability to read and edit Ruby will also be necessary. If you are comfortable enough to edit Gemfiles and install gems using bundler then you should be fine.
Chapters on the following topics are planned;
- Using Quarto and PDFKit to generate PDFs from XHTML + CSS
- Web based books with runnable consoles and code samples
Will be updated continuously
The tools and techniques used to make ebooks change swiftly and often drastically. I intend to continue writing ebooks into the foreseeable future and will continue to update this book as I discover new things. Thus, this book will always mirror closely my current workflow for writing and publishing ebooks.
This book is currently in beta
It is still undergoing proofreading, editing and revision. The last 10% can make a big difference in the quality of a work so please be forgiving if it does not meet your expectations.
Pricing and Licensing
Licensed under a MIT license and open sourced on Github. This does not mean I don't want money for my efforts. I simply recognize that the more permissively licensed a work is the more valuable it becomes. The greater the freedom you have to use my words the more valuable they are to you. My goal is to make this book as valuable to you as possible.
Feel free to take my book and use it in whatever way you like, in whatever way furthers your life the most. Remix it, convert it, port it, share it, quote from it or even sell it. I only ask that in return, you give back to me what I gave to you. How much this book is worth to you is up to you to decide.
About the Author
I'm a developer, designer and occasional writer.