7 Reasons We Helped With The Startup Chef Charity Cookbook

published Dec 07, 2012

Today, we published https://leanpub.com/startupchef, edited by Hunter Walk of YouTube and Maya Baratz of ABC News. The book is made up of 75 recipes from members of the tech community, including engineers, entrepreneurs, and writers, with proceeds going to charities aimed at ending hunger (including families affected by Hurricane Sandy).

Here are seven reasons we were excited to help Hunter and Maya with this fantastic project:

  1. We think the charities are doing great things, and we can ensure a really high percentage of the sales goes to them: At Leanpub we’re genuinely committed to paying authors and organizations great royalties. Normally our royalty is 90% minus 50 cents per sale (so an author gets a royalty of $17.50 on a $20.00 sale). While that’s already a great rate by industry standards, for this project we went even better, subtracting only PayPal’s transaction fees. That translates into a 97.01% royalty minus 50 cents per sale, which means the charities get $19.10 on a $20.00 sale. That’s a higher proportion of revenue than charities generally get from efforts of this kind. Quick production plus global distribution at almost no cost means Leanpub is an efficient platform for supporting these charities through an ebook project, especially since any online donation will have transaction costs subtracted from it anyway.
  2. Easy collaboration and incorporation of multiple contributions: Using a Google Docs spreadsheet, we were able to incorporate recipes, bios, stories about the recipes and images from dozens of authors quickly and easily. Combined with our plain text (Markdown-formatted) + Dropbox workflow, this meant we could put the content together, create ebook previews, add new stuff and iterate quickly, producing edits easily.
  3. Streamlined ebook production: Our commitment to simplifying the ebook process means we take formatting largely out of the writer’s hands, so they can focus on writing, not layout. This means that using Leanpub you can produce a large 250-plus page book quickly — which is essential if you’re responding to or covering a current issue, like a disaster such as Sandy.
  4. In-progress ebook publishing works: Hunter and Maya sent out lots of invitations to members of the tech community and knew they wouldn’t get recipes back from everyone in time for our December 7 launch. But because of our in-progress ebook publishing workflow, we can easily add recipes from more contributors as they come in, and existing readers will get free updates as we expand and improve the book. And yes, interesting in-progress ebook projects can get blogged about at the New York Times and build interest online long before they’re done.
  5. Variable pricing is great for raising money: Our pricing sliders not only let you set both a minimum and a suggested price; they also let your supporters pay what they want. (We’ll update you in a couple of weeks to let you know how things turned out for this project). This lets you raise funds from people at a level they’re comfortable with, and so reach out to a wider base of supporters.
  6. Easily creating a whole platform for an ebook project is a powerful way to raise awareness: Using our combination of easy collaboration, one-click previews, in-progress publication, and landing pages (with embeddable videos!), we were able to bring together lots of disparate content in a coherent way, efficiently. Whether we’re putting together a fun book of recipes for a preschool or for leading tech company founders, our workflow let us make an effective contribution to the project without losing weeks of work time.
  7. We love the startup scene: We’re a bootstrapped startup, so we are part of the broader startup community. We love helping people come together to do cool stuff.

Originally published at leanpub.com.