Leanpub: How to Turn Your Blog into an Instant E-Book

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So. You got a blog. You want to turn it into a e-book, with a minimal amount of fuss and hard work.

You need Leanpub. It’s a new service for writers who want to do minimalist home-grown publishing on their own terms, in a variety of formats that will suit owners of iPads, Kindles, and other e-readers.

It’s also a completely new approach to the technical side of e-book publishing. When you sign up to Leanpub, you get access to a shared folder on Dropbox, into which you can put text files for your book.

They can be formatted in HTML or Markdown (Word files are not accepted – this is lean publishing, remember?), and edited whenever you wish (even after the book has been published).

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Leanpub is more a production tool than a publishing house. They provide the technology for converting your text files into PDF, iPad and Kindle compatible files, and let you charge whatever fee you like (from 99 cents to $99).

Because Leanpub books are published via Dropbox, they can be updated whenever the author feels like it. In fact, that’s one the most important aspects of the service, says Leanpub founder Peter Armstrong:

“Lean Publishing is the act of self-publishing a book while you are writing it, evolving the book with feedback from your readers and finishing a first draft before optionally using the traditional publishing workflow.”

For bloggers, there’s an extra feature. You can import the RSS feed of your blog, and instamagically convert the whole thing into a book. Similar services have been around for a while, but Leanpub offers a bit more control: you can dive right into the converted files, editing out the cruft and deleting whole posts if you like. You can decide what gets left behind in e-book form.

Leanpub takes a cut of all sales, but even so the split is pretty fair, and much more generous to writers than most traditional dead tree publishing deals.

What are you waiting for? That blog about cat food that you wrote for seven months back in 2005 is still there, waiting to be monetized.

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