Writing Leanpub Books with Org Mode

As most of you know, I've moved almost all my writing chores to Org mode so I'm always on the lookout for new writing workflows that leverage Org. I particularly enjoy posts about using Org mode to write books.

Lakshmi Narasimhan has such a post. In it, he explains how he's using Org to write a book for Leanpub. Leanpub uses Markdown for input but it turns our that there's an Org exporter that converts to Leanpub input. That makes it easy to write in Org and still meet Leanpub's requirements.

Leanpub has a simple and structured publishing protocol so Narasimhan was able to automate almost all of it. In his case, he puts his text in a shared Dropbox folder and Leanpub does the rest. One file, Book.txt, lists the files containing the chapters of the book. Another similar file, Sample.txt, lists the sample chapters. Narasimhan generates those file automatically from a single Org file that contains the chapters as the top level headings.

Take a look at his post for the details of how he ties everything together and how he maintains metadata about the book. Everything, including his writing times, is included in the single Org file. If you're thinking of publishing a book with Leanpub, you absolutely must read his post. His workflow is simple and effective and lets him concentrate on writing instead of the ancillary tasks. Even if you aren't planning on writing for Leanpub, the post describes a nice workflow that should be translatable to many long form writing projects.

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  • ianbarton

    Thanks for posting that. I am currently involved in a project to re-publish a book that was originally published about 30 years ago. I have all the original text in WordPerfect files and scans of photos. I am currently using org-mode to generate pdf, epub and html output.

    I have done most of the hard work importing the text and re-doing the markup of things like italics and quotes. The final plan is to have a Makefile that uses Emacs and org-mode to generate each of the targets. I have made quite a bit of progress on outputting to Latex, but there is still some way to go!