How To Start An eBook Business In 5 Easy Steps

Lessons From Daryl and Andrew – Day 2

Day two of the Andrew and Daryl show was all about how they created a business selling ebooks online. Daryl Grant spoke for most of the day and the focus was on the practical steps to start your own ebook business.

If you listened to the two part podcast audio interview I did with Daryl you should already have a basic understanding of their business model since Daryl was very generous with the details. If you haven’t, I recommend you do so immediately. This article acts as a great companion piece to go along with the audio.

On Saturday Daryl and Andrew broke their system down in more detail and I’m going to summarize some of what was presented for you below.

Steps to an eBook Business

Here’s a break down of the process to create an ebook business. This is the model Daryl and Andrew used to generate over $250,000 in passive income during their first year in the ebook business.

Step 1: Market Research

Conduct keyword research to determine the amount of people searching online for particular niches. Daryl recommends the Pixelfast site, which makes use of the Overture keyword lookup tool. This will tell you how many people are searching each month for certain keyword phrases.

You could also try advanced keyword tools such as Keyword Discovery or WordTracker.

If you follow the recommendations from Daryl, you aim to collect 20 ideas for possible books – and these ideas can be from absolutely anywhere, in any niche. From these 20 ideas you perform a six step disqualification process to narrow down your list to only the really viable ideas.

One of the criteria is you need at least 30,000 – 50,000 searches per month (roughly) on specific relevant phrases based on Overture data before you continue the research process for that niche. This is to ensure there is enough potential traffic to make significant sales, but is only one condition that needs to be met. Daryl provided a fantastic table listing some example niches that were researched and how each topic area was disqualified or qualified for the next step, based on the following criteria –

  • How much and what quality is the free information already available online on the topic?
  • How many competing products/books are already for sale?
  • How many adwords campaigns are currently running on the search phrases?
  • Is it an inch-wide and mile-deep niche?

As you can see, it’s not just about a demonstrated need in the marketplace based on search data, there is also competitive intelligence conducted way before you even start planning the creation of your ebook. Daryl spent significant time demonstrating each of the six steps she goes through in the workshop, including some live demonstrations to show attendees how it all works. I’m sure for many it was an eye-opening experiencing.

Step 2: The Survey Site

Once the disqualification process is over based on current market conditions, Daryl and Andrew take one more research step before investing in the creation of the ebook – a survey site.

A survey site is a one page website that asks people if they are interested in the topic they plan to create an ebook about. They use a basic namesqueeze style page, but they don’t offer information in exchange for an email address like a traditional squeeze, instead they ask people who come to the site whether they are interested in a book/website on the topic and what is the most pressing questions they would like to see answered.

Here’s an example survey site template text:

Thank you for reaching my site.

I need your advice.

Currently I am in the process of building this site to help you improve your business and technical writing skills.

I would really appreciate your feedback and ideas on what you would like to see on this site.

In fact if you have any tips of your own that you’d like us to include please tell us about them. We’d of course acknowledge your contribution.

What do you want to see on this site?

Your comment:

That last bit where you capture the name and email is driven by an email autoresponder and until recently Andrew and Daryl used AWeber (they recently switched to infusion). As many of you know, AWeber is the same autoresponder I use for my email lists. You add an additional comments field to request feedback and this information is taken into your AWeber database, which you can review at any time.

If there is a good percentage of respondents to the survey site and the feedback is positive, you have an idea of what topics to cover in the book and what conversion rate to expect once the product goes live. Generally the amount of people who fill in the survey is indicative of the conversion rate you will get for the ebook. It won’t be exactly the same, but if someone is interested enough to respond to a survey they are probably interested enough to buy as well, and your sales page will pull all the right triggers to make the sale (hopefully!).

Step 3: Pay Per Click Traffic

To drive traffic to the survey site and eventually the ebook sales page, Daryl uses Google AdWords. Daryl did a great introduction to AdWords for the workshop attendees, which provided just enough information to get a grasp of how it works.

Obviously the topic of AdWords optimization is huge, including keyword selection, adcopy optimization and avoiding Google slap penalties, all of which Daryl covered in brief during day two.

The archives of my blogs can help with your AdWords campaigns, including these two articles on the Google Slap and Quality Score here and here, my introduction to AdWords and Pay Per click here and here, and the best resource if you want to become an AdWords expert is Perry Marshall’s Definitive Guide to Google AdWords ebook.

AdWords pay per click is the main traffic source used for the survey site and about 500 visitors per day is a good amount for the purposes of collecting data. From that traffic you can gauge what the market thinks about your idea for an ebook and what sort of click-through-rate to expect. Once you have a few days worth of information, switch off the traffic and it’s time to decide whether you will create the ebook.

This extensive research process really blew me away when I first heard it from Daryl. It’s the scientific nature of the process, including the very tight real-world metrics collected, that ensures a good chance of launching a product that succeeds.

For most people, myself included in the past, you tend to think about book ideas first, then start creating one, perhaps writing it yourself, and then you launch it and no one buys. That’s because you didn’t figure out if the market had a need for it and instead you just assumed because you considered the idea good, that it would sell. That’s completely backwards.

Step 4: Creating the Product

Daryl ran through various ways they create products, but in general the process involves hiring a ghost writer/researcher and arranging interviews with experts. The ebooks are around forty pages and between ten and twenty thousand words. Writing and researching is outsourced via sites like and experts are contacted directly for interviews over the phone, which can be recorded and transcribed.

It is quite clear that the content creation step is largely in response to market needs. Once you find pressing problems people have, you search for experts that can solve the problems and compile their knowledge and expertize into a book. All that work is done by other people, you provide the strategic direction and instructions. You don’t need to find experts either, if the ghost writer can produce the book simply by conducting research online, that’s fine too – the importance concept to understand is that other people produce the content, you just need to be the driving force to get it created.

Step 5: Selling the eBook

Once the product is ready you have a landing/sales page written, and here Daryl and Andrew recommend you have a professional copywriter at least review what you or someone else have written, or if you have the money, hire the copywriter to produce the whole sales page.

Good copywriters generally charge about $2,000 for a copy review and around $10,000 for writing a sales page – so yes, this is a huge investment – but since the copy ultimately sells the product, it’s worth it. If your book starts generating $500 a day you quickly recoup your costs, even if it does $500 per week it won’t take too long to make your investment money back.

Copywriting is an art form. It requires marketing savvy, skill with persuasive words and an ability to innately understand what the consumer desires. This skillset is not common. Copy is the main interface that converts prospects into customers and if you don’t nail this part of your process you are wasting all the energy you put in to get to this point.

Daryl says to aim for a 1% conversion rate, which is not unrealistic, but may require ongoing tweaking of certain areas. The sales page is one place you can do things like split testing of headlines and other copy elements and you can do similar tests with the words in your AdWords campaigns. The idea here is to keep testing and tweaking until you break that 1% mark and then keep looking for other ways to drive more traffic to the site, which was a topic discussed on day three.

If your funds are tight you can have a go at writing the copy yourself. Just remember that if you don’t make many sales when you launch and all the metrics were good up to that point and you have lots of traffic, chances are it’s your copy that is letting you down. This might be an area where you look to bring in a pro copywriter or study some materials from expert copywriters so you can learn what works. A basic understanding of good copy can carry you very far in the Internet business world.

Putting The Pieces Together

Daryl, Andrew and their tech guys Alex and Andrey, demonstrated various things that you need to assemble to build your ebook business. They covered many of the more common needs you have as an Internet marketer – everyone has the same issues – including how to set up survey sites (using Dreamweaver in the case of the Grant’s system), taking payments online, recording camtasia videos, split testing copy, email autoresponders, shopping carts, payment gateways, keyword research, niche selection and a whole host of other topics, many of which you will find covered in the archives of this blog (try the Articles section).

Obviously that’s too much information to cover in one blog post, or even to cover in much depth over a four day workshop like Daryl and Andrew conducted. It’s an ongoing process of education, but certainly having a blueprint to follow like Andrew and Daryl provides to their students is a fantastic general path to follow, which accelerates the learning process and helps to keep things less overwhelming. If you want a great introduction to Internet business, where you learn a lot but also walk away with a reasonably simple system you can implement yourself, the Andrew and Daryl ebook system is great.

If you do want more information you can attend one of their future workshops (the next is July 07 – I’ll have more details closer to the event), or sign up for their mentoring program at

That’s it for day two. Day three was all about subscription sites, which is the topic I enjoyed the most (I had a brief visit to the stage to talk about blogging too!), and I’ll detail more about this topic in my next article.

Yaro Starak
That Blogging Guy

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Thanks Yaro,
    The point about checking to see if there is a market is an important one. One I missed.
    I’ll be looking into their program and looking forward to hearing a bit more from you hopefully also.

    • Mona

      Hi. I have a 100-page health e-book and would like to sell the publishing rights. I have no idea where to start looking for buyers. Any ideas?

  • Great post again Yaro,

    Much of this process I imagine could be equally well applied to other products (not just e-books). The niche research strategy in particular is very well thought out!

    I’m learning recently the need for very good copy. It IS an art-form and one that I believe will be hard to master!

    See ya soon,


  • What kind of people are attending this? Is it similar to the internet summit in Melbourne?

  • Hi Yaro, chance a upon this site. It is a great entry you make. On driving traffic, there are also the article writing, forum, linking which could really help in driving traffic too.

  • Thanks for a good writeup, Yaro. I was impressed with Darren’s talk when you first had her on your blog and went to their website. For those who need to look this idea over in more detail to get it “figured out” they have downloads of a PowerPoint brief they do at shows that pretty much details the whole thing … generous gesture and proof that there is plenty room in the market for others.

    One thought on the survey page … in the close to a year that I’ve looked into this technique I have definitely changed my own mind on the “namesqueeze” idea. Internet marketing tactics have gotten that bad that I will almost never leave my own info for “free reports” etc. and I’m sure many others won’t, either. You’ll get just as much info of value by asking prospective buyers to answer a short survey on what they want to see and leaving their email data alone. Or so Dave thinks, anyway?

  • Hey Dave,

    I think it depends entirely on your marketplace. Free reports in some markets are very rare, hence a namesqueeze can do very well.

    I like the survey site idea too, but the purpose behind it is a bit different from a namesqueeze, so you really can’t compare the two.

  • Mike – This event was a small workshop for four days.

    Day 1: About creating the right mindset for becoming successful.

    Day 2: The system Daryl and Andrew use to make $250K passive income a year selling ebooks.

    Day 3: Setting up subscription sites for recurring income.

    Day 4: Planning so you actually take some action immediately.

    It was a great group of people, a great vibe and the information was fantastic too.

    It’s a more practical and focused environment than the WIS – Daryl and Andrew only did a one hour presentation at the WIS, this event had much more detail and was mostly Daryl and Andrew speaking for the entire four days.

  • […] sites was the topic of day three at the Andrew and Daryl Grant workshop. Continuing from day two on how to build an ebook business, the subscription site model is a logical progression. If you hit a hot topic with your ebook, why […]

  • Yaro – great overview of the system.

    As someone who has had over 10 years developing software, consumer and information products I would offer one caution on use of surveys.

    Often, great selling products are NOT expressly requested by the market – they instead build on experience and knowledge of what is already selling, what trends are occuring in the market, what the pain is associated with the customer, etc…

    Often, we purchase something we had not previously thought of or would admit in a survey.

    We just posted a video on a very effective technique for infoproudct topic identification and testing – feel free to watch it here:



  • […] has an interesting series about How To Start an Ebook Business: This is the model Daryl and Andrew used to generate over $250,000 in passive income during their […]

  • […] or privately (Phone Calls/Coaching) or even common front end media such as ebooks, newsletters (electronic and print), subscription services and […]

  • Huw Davies

    I wont to set up an internet bussines, but I need some one to look over my sholder and take me step by step to learn all the best and latest techno.
    Templeats and school type environments are not for me.
    I wont some one who can teach me, so I can run a very profitabul internet site for ever.
    If you can help or kow someone who can please contact me, e mail, or 07 38826276, 0402741499.
    Thank You.
    Huw Davies.

  • Yaro,
    We are interested in selling books and artistic photography on-line.
    Where to next?
    Kind regards,

  • i Yaro, chance a upon this site. It is a great entry you make. On driving traffic, there are also the article writing, forum, linking which could really help in driving traffic too.

  • I would like to know how long it took to make that $250,000. I’ve used google adwords and it cost a lot especially for keywords like “ebooks”. I feel most of use can’t afford this type of advertising and would very well end up spending way more than we would make.

  • dear sir/madam,
    i just want to start e-book business,so i need a well prepared my own website with personal domain name,and it should be loaded with lots of different and interesting e-books which is in demand with master resell rights so that i could sell any number of times.
    and everything should be automised, i mean people will pay via paypal and download the book. so kindly send me the details and expenses.
    reply soon sir

  • Great stuff, I have been writing eBooks for two years now, and i personally think its the best way to earn income, even though it can be hard work.

  • […] addition to the tips below, I recommend you check out this article called How to Start an eBook Business in 5 Easy Steps by Yaro Starak (although it’s a few years old, many of his points are still relevant). Also, […]

  • Yaro.
    I am very interested to have an online business and be able to work from anywhere in the world.
    As you can see from my website is under construction for a while and need some
    advice to make money from it, as other people is trying to buy the domain name for a minimum cost.

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