LeanPub Tutorial: Publishing Your Book Using Helpinator

LeanPub is an excellent ebook and ecourse publshing platform that supports authors on every step. You can author books in Leanpub-flavored Markdown or in their own markup language called Markua, and the book project structure is VERY simple and straightforward so even a novice in writing/authoring is capable of doing it.

Helpinator allows you to generate Leanpub-flavored Markdown topic files and create all required project files to generate a ebook, simplifying the process even further.

In this tutorial we will publish Helpinator User Manual to the LeanPub platform, step-by-step.

You will need:

  1. A GitHub account
  2. A LeanPub account
  3. Helpinator installed on your system, click here to download the installer (trial version will do the job).
  4. Git client

First of all, let’s get to the GitHub and create a repository for our book source

Click “+” and select “New repository”

Give it a meaningful name and description.

New GitHub repository

Now we can test it and clone the repository into our desktop. Let’s run some command line magic:

C:
md leanpub
cd leanpub
git clone https://github.com/DmitriPopov/helpinatormanual

This will create a local copy of our repository.

Now we need to create a “manuscript” folder in it. This was LeanPub will know where the book source is.

cd helpinatormanual
md manuscript

Now let’s get back to GitHub UI. We need to add LeanPub as a collaborator to our repository so it will be able to access it.

Add Leanpub as a collaborator

Now we can proceed to Leanpub and create a book in your account.

Click “Create a book”
We want a book
Provide book title and URL
Our book is technical
Helpinator will generate the text, but for Leanpub you write it by yourself
We store it on GitHub
FREE plan is OK at the moment
Click “Add to plan”
The welcome page of the book

The project infrastructure is ready. Now we can generate the book source.

Run Helpinator and open the project file. Now click on the “Lightning bolt” icon on the toolbar or select Tools->Batch Compile.

Batch compile dialog of Helpinator

Helpinator will export content to the folder specified.

Now we will get back to our folder and commit files to GitHub.

git add --all
git commit "First version"
git push

These commands will put our freshly exported LeanPub content to the repository.

Now the best part – we can go to LeanPub and request a book preview. Be careful with that, because the FREE account has certain limitations on the number of times you can request a preview.

Head to LeanPub, select your book in the menu and click “Preview or Publish” – “Preview new version”

“Preview new version” menu command

Select “Full preview” and click “Create preview”.

The process may take some time, so you can leave this page. You get a notificaction via email when the book preview is ready.

Preview your book

You can download book files and if you are satisfied with them you can choose “Publish new version” from the menu and LeanPub will update files availble to your readers and book purchasers.

Here’s the result of this tutorial: http://leanpub.com/helpinatormanual

The source repository on GitHub: https://github.com/DmitriPopov/helpinatormanual

Download Helpinator: http://www.helpinator.com/downloads/helpinator3professional.zip

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