Self-publishing a technical book

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

I began to write my Learn Node.js (working title) book last month. It is a self-published book project. The aim of the book is to help developers, switching to javascript and node.js, to hit the ground running by building and uploading a functional project. By going through the book you will be able to build features that modern javascript applications require.

My current plan is to self publish and I will be doing that using gumroad; then I will upload a copy on iBooks store; and checkout amazon’s self publishing via kindle. In all three scenarios, a pdf output of the book is perfect. So, the final version of my book will be available for purchase in at least the pdf format. Asciidoc documents are perfectly converted to pdf format using asciidoctor-pdf.

I began writing my book using iBooks Author authoring tool with the intention of publishing the book on the iBooks store. However, as I progressed in my writing process, I realized that my book contained quite a bit of code blocks. I wrote about this earlier but I ended up fully re-doing my work and switching away from iBooks Author authoring tool.

Quite honestly, lack of beautiful code blocks (once converted to pdf) is why I switched my writing into asciidoc format. For images, so far I have been fortunate to use a combination of screenshots and adobe photoshop software.

For more involved diagrams, I opted out to use plantuml for diagram creation. It works pretty good and allows you to maintain your images in plain text format for backups or quick adjustments.

I spent a few hours killing time by working on the book cover marketing material. I found https://www.freepik.com/ to have many wonderful book cover mockups for free. There are also paid alternatives. Point is… finding a beautiful cover may take some time =)

To summarize:

  • write using asciidoc using vs code or asciidocfx

  • convert asciidoc to pdf using something like asciidoctor-pdf or asciidocfx

  • To publish the pdf book on gumroad one just needs to make an account.

  • To publish the pdf book to iBooks, one needs to connect your iCloud, in iTunes Connect, to Apple Books like so. And then you need to download iTunes Producer to upload your book to their store

  • To publish the pdf book to Amazon, one needs an amazon account and then head over to the kindle direct publishing


  • Turns out, to publish the pdf book on leanpub one just needs an account Oh yes, leanpub is another option if you would like to stick to markdown and not interested in learning the power of asciidoc.

Happy writing!

· asciidoc, asciidoctor, ibooks author, example, writing tools, self-publish

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