Why Leanpub is Sponsoring NaNoWriMo

3 min readFeb 20, 2017


published Oct 31, 2012

We’re proud to announce that Leanpub is now an official corporate sponsor of NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo is a great and fun way to get started on a novel. The challenge, set up by a nonprofit called The Office of Letters and Light, is to finish writing 50,000 words of a brand new novel by the end of November. (For some of us, this might be easier than growing a full moustache for Movember).

NaNoWriMo lets you use whatever software you like for writing your novel, and we think Leanpub is a perfect fit for this kind of project. Since we’re focused on publishing in-progress ebooks, you can start getting attention for your book while you’re writing it throughout November, and also getting feedback from readers. You can even make and post a short video about yourself, and why you’re doing NaNoWriMo.

Publishing in-progress and interacting with your early readers is a great way to stay motivated and keep writing! And at the end of the month, your book will already be out there, and you can keep editing it and working on it until it’s finished.

Besides all this social stuff, there’s another reason why Leanpub is the best choice for your NaNoWriMo novel:

Distractions are bad.

Really bad.

And if you want to write a novel in a month for NaNoWriMo, distractions are really, really bad.

Everything but the words you are writing is a distraction. This is why books should be written in plain text, with minimal formatting.

At Leanpub, the way we do this formatting is something called Markdown. Markdown is a great way to write a novel, and when paired with a distraction free writing tool it’s even greater.

If you have a Mac, probably the best choice is iA Writer. For Windows, there are many choices, such as Dark Room. But you can use any text editor, such as Notepad or, if you’re a nerd like us, Emacs or vi.

With Leanpub, you can write your NaNoWriMo novel in distraction-free Markdown, for free. (Leanpub is always free for authors. We’re not doing anything different here for NaNoWriMo.) You click one button, and we make a PDF, EPUB and MOBI for you. If you want, you can even publish and sell the book while it’s in-progress.

But what if you’re shy?

Well, you can write using Markdown and just preview on Leanpub, and then submit to NaNoWriMo when it’s done. Writing in Markdown and previewing on Leanpub is also the best way to write a book in stealth mode, even though we’re big proponents of getting feedback while you write.

To learn more about writing a book from scratch on Leanpub, see:

If you want to learn more about Markdown, here are some links:

Anyway, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, so get your coffee and some noise cancelling headphones, and get ready to write!

P.S. There’s one more reason to write your NaNoWriMo novel on Leanpub: Throughout the month we’ll be featuring NaNoWriMo novels on the Leanpub homepage. (Just be sure to add the NaNoWriMo category to your book so we see it. And at the end of the month, we’re going to make the Leanpub NaNoWriMo book with the most readers be the featured book on our home page for a whole week. This will be a good way to get some extra attention!

Originally published at leanpub.com.




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