STEP BY STEP: How My First eBook Netted Me Five Figures in Under 12 Months

So Richard, 5 figures is anywhere between 10,000 and 99,999. How much have you made?

I am sure that is the first question people want to know when reading this post.

I don’t mind admitting that my income at the 12 month point was the lowest figure in those parameters, standing at just over $10,000. And even then I am cheating a little. Because I am from the UK, my income was actually four figures at £7,000, but I like to accomodate my American friends by using both dollar and pound sterling – and $10,000 sounds much better!

Oh, and here is the sales page: Here

And here is a quick video showing you me logging into my digital service provider’s account showing you the income, just for 100% trust on this:

I know the above figure doesn’t sound like the sort of dream money that the ‘gurus’ promise. I have heard some say that you can create an informational product within two hours, have it for sale the next day and have $20,000 sat in your PayPal account by the end of the week.

But I don’t buy into this at all. And here is why you shouldn’t either:

If you want to get a quality product out there that will earn you quality money, you are going to have to spend some quality time on it.

Of course, there are ways to speed up the processes involved in making a killer eBook that sells (Speedy Profit Creator* is something I love), but creating an eBook in couple of days and then having it on sale is living in fantasy world. You cannot possibly offer your customer value

The majority of eBooks will not see that sort of income in its lifetime, never mind $20k in two weeks.

My earnings are quite humble, but then saying that, I am sure there would be hundreds if not thousands of people out there who would gladly swap places with me, people who have never made a cent from any sort of internet marketing despite years of trying.

You can read about the trials and tribulations in the post about how I wrote my First eBook.

Before we do begin, I want to share with you the tools I used to create my eBook:

BlueHost* – I use hosting with these guys as they are the best in my opinion.
OptimisePress* – This WP theme makes creating sales pages a breeze. (One fee, use it on unlimited sites).
Speedy Profit Creator* – Handy membership site which has a great tool to turn your content into a pro looking eBook.
DPD* – Super awesome content delivery service (auto delivers eBook to paying customers, complete with an affiliate program for your products).

These are the steps I followed. You are welcome to use it as some sort of guide or basis when it comes to writing and marketing your own eBook.

STEP 1 – Research Phase.

Identify what you are going to write about, what you are going to teach and how you are going to help people achieve an objective or set of objectives. My best advice is to write about something you know. I wrote about eBay because I knew a lot about it having spent the previous 8 or so years trying different things and experimenting. So i wrote an eBook about how people could start an eBay business from home.

I really am a firm believer in the fact that you can’t possibly teach someone else to do something you haven’t already done yourself.

I now want you to write down 10 things that you are good at, you have knowledge or passion about or have been successful with. Here are some examples:

You have passed a specific exam for a job.
You have perfected the technique of brewing beer at home.
You have created a diet that worked for you.
You know how to build a wooden deck from start to finish.

All of these examples, you could easily write a short eBook course on. Now think about what YOU are good at, and what you have KNOWLEDGE in. Could you write about it? Could you record some simple how to videos? Would people want something like this?

These are all questions that you need to ask, but maybe the most important question of all is this: Is there a demand for this information?

One of the best ways to check demand is by using Google’s Keyword Tool. This allows you to input a word or phrase, and Google will tell you how many people have searched for that word or phrase in the last month. What you are looking for here is a high amount of monthly searches. Taking the example above, ‘how to brew beer at home’, these are the results from the Keyword Tool:

how to write an ebook

how to write an ebook

90,500 searches took place around the world for this phrase, meaning that it is something that people are interested in. The next thing you will need to do is assess the competition. How many other eBooks are out there? Are they selling? Why are they selling? What could you do differently to make your eBook the standout guide to brewing beer at home?

These are all consideration you need to take into account. When I started, I wanted to write an eBook on eBay. There are hundreds of eBooks out there, but my eBook had a different selling point. I wanted the eBook to be about sourcing systems and techniques which would help a new eBayer build up a substantial amount of money, for very little outlay and very little risk.

My research told me that there were few other eBooks out there that had this information in, so I just went for it.

STEP 2 – Marketing Plan

If you think you can write an eBook and put up a website and you will simply start making sales, you are making a huge mistake.

You must have a marketing plan in place NOW.

My marketing plan was quite simple – I was going to use forum marketing (targeting one forum I was already a member of) to drive sales of my product.

My secondary marketing plan was using SEO to rank for two keyword phrases which would send traffic from Google to my sales page.

STEP 3 – Write It

It goes without saying that this is the most important step. You can see here How I wrote My First eBook.

STEP 4 – Design Phase

I had 2 things that I needed designing. The eBook cover graphics, and the design for the sales page.

When I first started with my eBook, I hadn’t heard of OptimizePress*. So I had a designer create an eBook cover and a minisite template in HTML. All that was needed was a one page template, where I could tell people about my eBook, and insert a buy button. This template and ebook cover cost me $120. I was really pleased and excited at the design. The template and eBook cover is below:

ebook template

I then got the designer to add my sales letter into the blank space (I wrote it). This had all the Gucci sort of stuff that you see on all sales letters, like big green ticks, testimonial boxes, guarantee boxes and all of that. This was all in HTML (and I will come to the problems with that in a while).

Here is the eBook:

how to write an ebook

I was really pleased with the designers work. And it seemed like a reasonable price -$120. However, the problems came with the minisite. The coding was not clean, it was just one huge paragraph of code. So if I wanted to do even the smallest of changes, I would have to go into the editor and find what I needed to change, and learn how to change it. Some of the time, I would make a change and it would completely mess the whole site up (But I always kept the original HTML saved thankfully).

It was then when I discovered OptimizePress*. This is a theme which lets you (amongst all of its other capabilities) lay out a sales page direct from a WordPress. It works on shortcodes, which can be accessed from the dashboard – click a button, and you have a testimonial box. Click a button, you have a guarantee box. Click a button, and you have a nice big purchase button. So easy, a 7 year old could design a sales page.

It has a one off cost of $97, and you can use it on unlimited sites. I have used it about 8 times so far, so it has more than paid for itself versus using a designer to design individual sales pages for me (8 x £120 = $960). My only costs now are to outsource the design of the header and an eBook cover – which never sets me back more than $25 for them both.

STEP 5 – Sales Funnel

I didn’t have a sales funnel. I didn’t have an upsell, a downsell or anything else. What I did have is some affiliate links within the eBook.

For those that don’t know what an upsell or downsell is, this is another product offered to the customer immediately after they have purchased. Of course, it needs to be linked in with what the product is about, and ideally should be your product. It is designed to increase your bottom line and a lot of marketers are aggressive in this area. Suddenly, a $10 sale can become a $50 sale, which while lucrative to the marketer, isn’t always in the best interests of your customer.

Only in the last month or so, i have offered an upsell – and this is simply a £7 upsell to be able to access the tutorial videos which show over the shoulder videos of me using and applying the techniques and systems which I talk about in the eBook.

STEP 6 – Delivery Methods

I looked at a variety of ways of delivering my product to paying customers, and in the end, I chose DPD*. When I first started, I didn’t use them I chose paypal to redirect the customer to a download URL (which was insecure). I chose them because of the simplicity AND because they had a built in affiliate program – allowing an all in one integration for sales and a place where I could manage affiliates who were promoting my eBook.

Delivery with DPD is fast, secure and automatic. As soon as someone has clicked the buy button on my sales page, and pay via PayPal, they are directed to a download page. This download page is unique and very secure (links can’t be shared). The customer also receives a link to their email address with their downloads on.

The pricing structure is also very fair. I pay just $10 a month, and let me tell you, there’s an absolute TON of features, some of which I haven’t even used. It also allows me to have 20 different products uploaded to their server.

You can see my post here that goes through DPD in more detail: How I Deliver Digital Products Hassle Free

STEP 8 – Pricing Structure

I have sold Instant Start Business at price points £7, £17, £22 and £27. (or $11, $26, $33 and $40) The £7 mark was the launch price.

I classify the release of my eBook into 4 basic stages:

ebook launch

LAUNCH – For me, this was all about gaining trust and social proof in the form of testimonials. If I priced at £27, then it would not have

generated as much buzz, as many testimonials or as much trust – simply because people would not have been happy paying £27 for something they didn’t fully trust.

PROOF – Once reviews started coming in, i increased the price (they were all positive, and I was super excited about what people were saying about me, see post: What is Happiness – A Definition According To Me). I did this because people now had the confidence, from the testimonials, that this eBook was valuable and could potentially help them achieve their goals.

DEMAND – This is where it reaches fever pitch. For me, it lasted about 4 weeks. There was a lot of interest in it, I had a lot of emails about it, and this is where I put the price up to the maximum ceiling price of £27. I did toy with the idea of a maximum price of £37, but I wanted to be fair and make it affordable and valuable to my customers.

CONSOLIDATION – After the demand, comes the inevitable lull. However, the eBook still sells, almost on a daily basis. This is where I gradually decreased the cost, and it now sits at £17 (where it will probably remain for the foreseeable future).

Final Word From Richard

I could say that writing an eBook, marketing it, and then selling it is easy. But it is not. It takes more work than you could imagine, and those telling you that this is an autopilot business model are simply talking from their backsides. I get emails from customers asking for a little help after they had made the purchase (which I am always delighted to do). With the niche I am in, I need to keep the eBook current and up to date, and I always have to keep an eye on illegal sharing of my work on download sites.

But don’t let that put you off – just go for it and take your time. And I will finish with a quick quote that came earlier on in this post:

If you want to get a quality product out there that will earn you quality money, you are going to have to spend some quality time on it.

All the best,

Richard Martin

  • March 21, 2013
Richard Martin

I'm just a normal guy, earning money online, hoping to help you do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 17 comments
How I Wrote My First eBook - Smart Income Detective Blog - May 28, 2013

[…] STEP BY STEP: How My First eBook Netted Me Five Figures in Under 12 Months All, Product Creation, SPOTLIGHT […]

Neshable - September 8, 2013

Hey great post, Richard! I took some notes. It’s very informative and well structured. Well done!

Stephanie - November 28, 2013

Hi Richard,
Thanks for your informative post.
I am at present in the process if creating my first eBook so when I saw your link on the WF I couldn’t resist taking a look!
There is a bit of a Buzz going round at the moment with creating eBooks as a profitable source of income source but as you say it does take Work, and as always with most of these IM Gurus they would have us believe that everything they promote is no trouble and we will make a fortune in no time.
I found your post very useful and will investigate some of your resource links – especially your post on DPD.
I’ll look out for you on the WF and Thanks again.

    Richard Martin - November 29, 2013

    Hi Stephanie, thank you for taking time to comment.

    I am glad you found the post useful – it is actually the most viewed post on the blog, though strangely, is one of the posts that has the fewest comments and shares.

    I think for some, the post and the video, will come as a shock – simply because the figures are not what the ‘gurus’ promise. They are aiming for a huge amount, right off the bat, and in reality, they are never going to get anywhere close to what the gurus are promising.

    BUT, the earnings from my eBook, to me, are amazing. It is coming up to the eBooks 2nd year, and still, sales are strong (£200+/$320+) in November. And still, I am getting personal emails from people thanking me for the eBook and praising it. That is what it is about for me – a good, solid, honest product, that is fairly priced. 2014 will soon be here and I am planning on upping the ante – more content and more valuable tools, complete with a tiered pricing structure.

    For me, your own product is the best thing you could do (and the best thing I have done in terms of IM) – as long as you take TIME, put EFFORT into it, and BELIEVE in what ypu are selling, I would recommend product creation to everyone (In fact, I am currently working on a post which will be published in December which goes over the reasons I believe in why your own products are the best thing you could ever do for your IM business).

    Once again, thanks for taking time to comment, I will also check out your blog very soon – in the meantime, all the best with your eBook,



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Sarah - April 16, 2014

Tanks so much for this post! The way you broke everything down was Easy-to-understand and straight-to-the-point. Very user friendly and considerate of your reader’s time.

Thanks and keep up the great work!


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Rohan Bhardwaj - August 19, 2014


This is indeed the simplest answer to the e-book question. E-books are the best bets for a blogger, as it has the best chances to earn more money if the content is something worth it.

Seeing from your success, it is evident, it takes time and money to build a quality outline of the e-book and great knowledge to create the e-book itself.

Congrats buddy. Seems there is a good amount of work ahead of me to deal with my e-book.
Rohan Bhardwaj recently posted…Why Dieting Is Tough?My Profile

    Richard Martin - August 21, 2014

    Hi Rohan, thanks for your comments.

    I wouldn’t say it takes money to create an eBook – hosting, is the minimum you need, with a simple WP theme like this and you are up and running.

    The biggest investment SHOULD be your time and effort. If you can put in a lot of time and effort, then you have an asset that you can sell again and again over many many years.

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Veena Furtado - March 11, 2015

Hi Richard.
How are you?
Here I am at your blog.
Very interested in how you make so much moolah from a single eBook.
Read your entire post..awesome info.
Question…how do you drive massive traffic to this to get sales?
Hope to hear from you.
Best wishes and regards.
Take care.
Veena 🙂

    Richard Martin - March 11, 2015

    Hi Veena.

    Happy to have you here too!

    Answer: A niche forum where I have been an active member for years and years. They allows advertisers, which allows me to have a thread on there promoting it, and allows signature links.

    I get a lot of exposure on there, and I find everytime I spend time on the forum, I get sales through that exposure.

Veena Furtado - March 11, 2015

Hi Richard.

Great to hear from you yet again.

Oh I see, I guess it must be a real great forum…hhehhhee.

Well…so many things you have going here..so many different ways in which to make money online.

Great blog.

Best wishes and regards.

Take care.


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