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Ask HN: How do you author your eBooks in 2017?
36 points by schappim on Oct 9, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

Some sub-discussions here may be useful:

How to Self-Publish a Novel in 2017 | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13743908 (Feb 2017, 163 comments)

How I Made $70k Self-Publishing a Book about Ruby on Rails | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13876514 (Mar 2017, 175 comments)

I've been using Ulysses, which is a Markdown based text editor for Mac/iOS. I really like it's organizational features and it's export support for various formats. https://ulyssesapp.com/

It's subscription based, $39.99/year, which unlocks is for both Mac and iOS. It's got sync built-in, which is nice for needed to make corrections or updates on the go or to record ideas when I'm out and only have my phone.

I have used Microsoft Word and Leanpub[1]. Super easy and I like the set your own price.


I have self-published two ebooks on Leanpub [0]. It just great to get you started in self-publishing, because they take multiple input source and output your ebook in PDF, EPUB and MOBI. It used to be for free to create an ebook, but now it costs you $99 to create one. Still, you will get a lot of value out of it.

There are several ways to write your ebook: For instance, I have written mine simply by using markdown, uploading it to GitHub [1] and giving Leanpub access to it as collaborator. That way Leanpub is able to pull the recent manuscript from your repository for a new release or generating a preview. In addition, hosting the manuscript on a public GitHub repository (in case your ebook is open source), gives you the ability to make use of collaborating with others on it. Highly recommended platform!

- [0] https://leanpub.com/the-road-to-learn-react

- [1] https://github.com/rwieruch/the-road-to-learn-react

Oh wow. I didn't realize that they charged for your book too. I'm working on a new book and I think I may take it elsewhere.

Awesome thanks I'll checkout Leanpub :)

If you want to produce epub and mobi, and not just PDF, http://manual.softcover.io/book is a nice tool that inputs Markdown and gives you a lot of power. I used it for https://codewithoutrules.com/saneworkweek/.

I use atom editor [1] (but any other will do, too) for editing and pandoc [2] for conversion. It is not the most integrated solution, but independent of any platform.

[1] https://atom.io/ [2] http://johnmacfarlane.net/pandoc/

I myself don't publish but I've seen some authors use Markdown and [1] GitBooks. Kelsey Hightower wrote Kubernetes: The Hard Way in the same manner [2]. It reads nicely. For publishing, you could look into GumRoad [3]. When I do some technical writing, I personally like to use StackedIt which supports Markdown and allows you to export to PDF with custom layouts.

[1] https://www.gitbook.com [2] https://github.com/kelseyhightower/kubernetes-the-hard-way [3] https://gumroad.com [4] https://stackedit.io

I haven't written an eBook, but I use https://typora.io for all my markdown editing. It's a WYSIWYG editor, which is very rare today, but has roughly doubled my writing speed because of that.

We just use Microsoft Word and follow the correct eBook formatting standards for where we want to publish. Amazon has some good guidelines on what formating it needs for Kindle. We are tempted to use some of the online services for formatting outsourcing.

I use ms word and PowerPoint, since most of ebooks which I make are 30-100 page marketing materials I find hubspot's ready (google them) made templates very helpful. For cover I use canva and PowerPoint.

Scrivener to actually write, then convert to PDF or Word depending on what post-processing, additional formatting, or other format conversions are planned.

We used VitalSource while working at an university. They offer two eBook formats: Reflowable eTextbook and Fixed Page eTextbook


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