LeanPub: Publish Early. Publish Often. In Markdown

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.54.37 PMI stumbled upon Leanpub through the NaNoWriMo website’s sponsors page.  Leanpub’s tagline is “Publish Early.  Publish Often,” which allows fiction writers like me to post my story one chapter at a time to build up my audience if I want to.  I already do that with Wattpad but still, something about Leanpub peaked my interest.

They just don’t give you a platform to publish your work online, one chapter at a time, they also help you publish your work in various formats, such as pdf, epub and mobi.

AND they also allow you to set up a sliding scale for readers to buy your work.  You can set a minimum price for your book – a price that can’t go any lower as well as the retail price (regular price for us expert shoppers!).  However, should the reader wish to pay you more, they can certainly do that with just a touch of their mouse. And I thought that was cool.

You also get 90% royalty, less .50 per sale.  Not bad at all.

One thing I did notice on the Leanpub website is that there are many programmers who publish books through them.  The reason for that is Markdown, which is totally not the WYSIWYG type of program like Word or Pages.  Markdown is a plain text format that can be read easily, and can be easily converted to HTML, which I think is called Markup.

The thing is – programmers and the techies get Markdown quite easily.  Us creative types?  Not so much.

But because I already use Ulysses III, I knew markdown language – or at least the basics.  It’s the way I write these days though the only fancy markdown bits I use are basically hard returns for line spacing, headings, italics and bold.

Here’s a blurb on what Leanpub is, from their website:

Leanpub is part of a movement called Lean Publishing, which is the future of publishing. If you’re curious about what the big idea is, read our manifesto.

You write a Leanpub book using Markdown.

When you’re ready to sell your book, just set your price and click a button on Leanpub. We generate and sell PDF, EPUB and MOBI versions of your book. (PDF is for computers; EPUB is for iPad and other ebook readers; MOBI is for Kindle.) We also automatically create free sample versions of your book if you specify files to include in the sample.

Whenever you publish an updated version of your book, your current readers get automatic updates. This lets you create a community around your book as you write it. Or just publish your book when it’s done; it’s up to you!

Leanpub is the best way in the world to publish a book while you’re writing it. This is true whether you’re writing a programming book, a business book or even a cookbook!

Leanpub is FREE for authors to join and use.

– Leanpub

Besides having to tackle Markdown language, another thing about Leanpub is that it doesn’t have a lot of options as far as formatting goes. It’s fixed.  A Helvetica-like font for the title and Times New Roman for the text.  Other than that, that’s it, and it looks weird on the page, when I see two fonts fighting for attention.

Still, it’s something I’m going to consider, at least in formatting my NaPoWriMo 14 effort (National Poetry Writing Month) and see what happens.  After all, it is free to publish with Leanpub.  However, I am having problems with formatting the front matter though, the centering and all that.

And I have to be honest here – it’s one of the reasons I cozied up to Pressbooks for my novel, even though I discovered Leanpub after Pressbooks (I’ll write about Pressbooks another time).  Still, it’s worth a try and I’ll do that by “publishing” my NaPoWriMo effort, Apophasis, and see what happens.

So stay tuned!

6 comments on “LeanPub: Publish Early. Publish Often. In Markdown”

  1. 39yearslame

    I’ve been thinking about giving them a try, too, but I’m pretty nervous, because I’ve never tried publishing anything before. (Except for one lame attempted submission to a regular publisher 20 years ago.) It’s my NaNo novel from a couple of years ago, and even though I’ve put in a lot of work since then, I feel like it still isn’t really “done” yet, so I like the idea that readers can give feedback so I can fix the problems.

    • Liz Madrid

      Sorry it took me awhile to get to your comment – This is what happens when has too many blogs to manage and the one blog that I do establish as an author platform, choosing the perfect name (mine) is the one that hubby says, “please don’t use that as your author name. Pick something else.” Well, it is his last name, so I guess I’ll have to find something else LOL

      Anyway, I’m about to write something about another platform which seems a much better alternative than LeanPub. It’s called Screwpulp and I know two authors who use them and love it. It’s best to check them out and see for yourself how they work. I like them a lot, and am pretty happy with the results I’ve seen with other authors who have used them.

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