Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Falling in Love with Leanpub for Self-Publishing Ease

I Love Leanpub For Making It Easy to Self Publish eBooks

It's now so easy to self-publish via Leanpub that I've fallen in love all over again.

Half tongue-in-cheek and half in earnest - when I moved to publishing my latest set of books on copywriting to Leanpub, the ease of editing and proofing made me re-think the way I had done it before.

If you're following this blog, you know that I already have recommended moving Leanpub to the beginning of the queue when self-publishing your latest masterpiece.

Then I started using this in earnest, testing it with a dozen books. The great part is that the Leanpub learning curve is so short.

Here's my current operating basis:
  1. All my books are cobbled together in LibreOffice. I do the rough-edits in a text editor, then import and work it up in LibreOffice Writer to get a WYSIWYG approach and a view of what it's going to look like. Earlier, I'd port via Writer2Epub to epub, then edit and correct with both Calibre's built-in editor and Sigil (they each have different functions and complement each other.)
  2. Then I save as HTML and import into Leanpub. I use the Dropbox connection, so it updates the files on my own machine every time I generate a new preview.
  3. Proofing is simple - you just edit the converted file with a text editor, using Markdown (which is extremely easy to learn.) Then save - and it's auto-updated via Dropbox. Hit the Preview button again, and use the PDF to see how it's going to look. (I set it up for viewing dual pages at 100% on a 22" monitor.)
  4. After a few iterations, I can then hit "Publish" and have the finished version.
  5. Now I can combine that latest book with earlier ones and so have a bundle for sale. They even encourage you to create a video which they will pull in from YouTube or Vimeo and feature for you.
  6. Then you have a base set of files for porting to the distributors.

The improvements are vast.
  • You don't have a great choice of margins or fonts with their PDF. And you have to settle for justified text as well. But it turns out looking great. (One trick is to have your Chapters as Heading 1, so they become the titles in the header - otherwise, you can have the parts as H1, and the chapters as H2.)
  • Your epub already passes epubcheck, so is ready to distribute as-is. (One drawback is that the epub, mobi, and PDF files are all branded with Leanpub links and logo - so porting these to other distributors probably means you'll need to remove these with Sigil, or Adobe Acrobat Pro.)
  • You're starting out with three versions, binders, packages, plus extra's you can add yourself to make the Leanpub version outstanding.
  • You also have a built-in affiliate program which pays 50% commissions (compared to the industry range of 7-8%.) So your readers can get rewarded for becoming evangelists.
  • You can email your readers from Leanpub to let them know of any changes or upcoming new releases.

In short, this is THE WAY to start your publishing. Period. (They'll also import from Wattpad, if you've already got a following there.)

Once you have this all done here, you have the basics for porting it to the other 6 or 7 main distributors.

Self-Publishing Sequence

Your sequence would then be
  1. Lulu next, for the free ISBN and also to produce the print version. (You can edit the PDF as well as the epub file.)
  2. Then Amazon. Having your print book ready at the time (or close) when you post your ebook will boost sales. (But regardless of that, you can crank out porting your ebooks everywhere meanwhile.)
  3. Next would be iTunes, Nook, Google Play.
  4. Then Kobo.

And of course, you store the data into Calibre as you develop it.

The marketing begins at that point. When you have a video at the outset (or you can do it now), you'll be way ahead. Podcasts would then be available.

You also put up an opt-in form with an ecourse. Those PDF's also go to the doc-sharing sites.

About now, you set up your release-launch sequence. A series of video's could also be excerpted for video sites, as well as added as extras on Leanpub and also iAmplify - where you could get extra income.

Note that you can fire up your Affiliates on both Leanpub and iAmplify as part of your launch.

If you want the more data on book launches and publishing, get this bundle...

I wrote up the research on running a book launch in the latest update of "Just Publish! Ebook Creation for Indie Authors" - while it's full implementation into an ongoing publishing strategy (using Leanpub and 6 other main distributors) is found in "Publish. Profit. Independence."

These two are bundled together on Leanpub just for you. Contact me via Leanpub and let me know what you think.

(As below, my earlier books and bundles have been removed from Leanpub as I published too many (more than zero) public domain books there. Until I can get these up on other platforms, the links are gone.)

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Update: Getting Leanpub into the production line-up has improved quality and speed. Proofing is much faster and easier with PDF previews and Markdown editing with simple text editor. The file Leanpub produces is already epubchecked, so there isn't any need to export via a Writer2Epub plug-in and then using Sigil and Calibre editor to clean it up. Much less complicated.

This strategy as laid out has proven itself. Nice to have a test succeed.

Update 2: Leanpub suspended me for "copyright violations" (public domain books.) Love affair is definitely over. Warning: Do original works only there.

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