John Carlton's
Simple Writing System Express Course
Lesson #1 - The Bar Conversation

Well, you made it! Welcome to your first lesson of the Simple Writing System Express Course.

I’ve been one of John’s go-to instructors since the beginning of this program in 2009. So I’ll take good care of you.

Ready to rock? Okay…

Today’s lesson is one of my favorites.


You're ​going to ​lay the foundation upon which you will build ​the rest of your copy.


Doesn’t matter what you’re writing:  ads, emails, blogs, sales letters, VSLs, social media posts, affiliate copy, webinars, presentations, white papers, phone scripts, whatever…

You’ll continually refer back to what you learn from this lesson today.

Not surprisingly, it starts with alcohol. (If you’re not a drinker, don’t worry. You’ll get where we’re going with this…)

And with that, let's hear directly from John Carlton...

(Click on the image to watch the short video lesson below, and we'll talk again in a minute).

Insightful stuff, huh? Now let’s turn it back to you.

Here’s what I want you to do…

  • 1
    You've watched the video. (Go YOU!!!)
  • 2
    ​Now, think what your “perfect prospect” (who’s sitting next to you at this bar) would say...
  • 3
    And, write that conversation out below.
  • 4
    Finally, wait for my feedback (I absolutely love teaching so I'll reply to as many posts as I can during this free course.)

That's it!

Now, if you're a little stuck and drawing a blank, here are some questions to help you through this...

  • How did the last guy screw over your prospect? (What is she afraid might happen again?)
  • How is the prospect's significant other annoyed with him over this problem? (What does he say to try to “sell” her on this?)
  • What is the prospect vocally frustrated about regarding this problem? (What does she tell others?)
  • check
    On the flip side, what is the prospect hiding from their spouse... or too embarrassed to talk about? (What are the real reasons he has this problem that he doesn’t want to talk about?)
  • check
    What specifically about this problem keeps your prospect up at night? (What does she fear is the worst thing that could happen?)

The key here is to get into their innermost thoughts and environment.

So go ahead, give it a go and write out what your prospect is dealing with below...



Lorrie, John & Stan



P.S. When you're finished with this exercise, head on over to Lesson #2. In that lesson, you'll learn how to use a never-fail, fill-in-the-blank phrase to seize the attention of your ideal prospect.

P.P.S. I strongly suggest you watch this video and complete this exercise before moving on. Just like in the full Simple Writing System Coaching Program, these mini-lessons are in a specific order so they build on each other. Skipping ahead won’t help you in the long run.


P.P.P.S. You might have noticed that I’m the only female instructor on the SWS staff. One of my specialties is how to sell to women. But when I write testosteronal copy, you’d be hard pressed to find a single XX chromosome in my words. (In fact, right now I’m writing for the survivalist and gun-owner markets.) It’s all about building rapport with your market, no matter what gender they are. I got you covered!


When You've Completed This Exercise
Click Here For Lesson #2

Enter your SWS Exercise in the Comments Section below...

Jazmin Onyx

"John Carlton's Simple Writing Course truly is an opportunity of a lifetime that will result in that one defining moment that you will look back on for the rest of your life resulting in the breakthrough you have always looked for but didn't know how to find.

If you don't take advantage of this course, you are missing out on one of the most powerful tools anyone can ever acquire - to be applied to almost any goal you wish to attain.

If you let it pass you by, then you will be kicking yourself in the ass for a really long time.

Every promise made exceeds expectations and the over delivery of value is worth many times the price of the course. John's coaches are a "brain trust" unequalled anywhere else in the marketplace.

You will truly be learning from the Masters of the Craft. Learning Copywriting from John Carlton is like learning guitar from Eric Clapton. It is an honor and a privilege to be his student."

Andrew HryniewiczAndrew HryniewiczChelsea, UK - AndrewWayfinder.com

Before SWS I struggled, rambled and "explained" my unique, and (very) hard-to-describe spirit coaching and healing work.

Now... I know what and how to say (and structure) my message to make readers say 'That sounds amazing...'.

I'm finding that the words and pages I need are just flowing out!

Everyone promises "to crack the code". John (and the great SWS teachers) deliver!

Massive thanks.

Before going through the SWS Coaching Program, I'd read a bunch of books on copywriting, had some training, and felt like I knew more than 'the basics'.

Like many eager copywriters, I'd get excited about reading a new sales, psychology, or advertising book...

...but when finished, I'd just jump to the next book. The information didn't stick because there was no clear path to apply it.

For these reasons, I was skeptical about what else I could learn from another course.

Within the first couple weeks of class I knew The SWS Coaching Program was sparking a visceral change within me.

Through the daily coaching, feedback, and course materials in SWS I could practice John's system right away, learn what needed to be improved, and continue applying the material until I proved to myself and to my coach that I understood the material.

John somehow infused a deep understanding of salesmanship psychology in me, unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Now, I'm significantly more confident with my copywriting and consulting. (Oddly enough, it's given me more confidence in my personal life too.)

I see why John and his team charge premium prices - the value in coaching someone to fundamentally change their attitude, confidence, and writing abilities is truly priceless, considering the doors it opens in life and business.

Just the other day I sent a proposal off for over $20,000 without batting an eye or second guessing my value. The bottom line is confidence sells and the SWS is the best investment I've made to build the kind of confidence that's real and based on my skills.

P.S. I got the $20,000 job!!

Lisa WagnerLisa WagnerRugChick.com

Tripled Response!

"You know that new 'hook' you insisted I try in my sales pitch? It TRIPLED response! This translates into several hundred thousand dollars in sales over the coming year. You are on my Christmas gift list for life, dude."

Frank KernFrank Kern

"When John talks about changing your life, he's not kidding around."

"Just before the famous StomperNet launch, everything was in doubt. We cornered John for advice, and in just a few minutes he provided such clarity that the fog melted away... and I was finally able to write the pitch that made Internet marketing history, with record results.

That's twice he's helped me -- long ago, when I was broke, clueless and desperate, I somehow found John's 'Kick Ass' course... and halfway through, a calm confidence came over me. I told my wife that everything was going to be all right, because this really made sense. When John talks about changing your life, he's not kidding around."

[Full Disclosure: We received this quote from Frank before he was "the Frank Kern", the well-known marketing expert. I had yet to meet him when he first bought and read my course. We are now colleagues and recommend each other's materials.]

Before the SWS, I THOUGHT my copywriting was pretty dang good...

In reality, my copy was lackluster, WAAAY overwritten, and often sloppy.

The SWS quickly changed all of that.

After 8 intense weeks of John Carlton tearing my copy to shreds, I discovered how to write tight, persuasive copy -- which reads like a fast ride down a roller-coaster -- and finally obliterated the "copy wrecking" head-trash that had been holding me back.

Mentoring under John Carlton has been a total game-changer for me. Behind his grizzled exterior, and tough-lovin' advice, John really gives a damn about ensuring the writers in his SWS make genuine breakthroughs.

If you're serious about kicking up your copy-chops to the next level... faster than you could imagine was even possible... I think you'd be CRAZY not to jump at the chance to work with John in his Simple Writing System.

Perry MarshallPerry MarshallBestselling author of Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords and Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising

"John's input on my website increased my flow of sales leads by 50%. Also, his advice to trash my sales letter and start fresh (with very specific instructions on how to do it) DOUBLED my sales conversion rate! He was right -- this gets exciting, fast."

Amanda FoxcroftAmanda FoxcroftAmandaFoxcroft.com

Simple Writing System, and John Carlton's ferocious coaching, has been the best copywriting education investment I've ever made.

Before, I knew of the parts of the sales letter, but didn't know how to make each element sing with persuasion. Now, I know how to dig deeper into the minds of my prospects, how to use empathy, and how to assemble and write a great sales letter.

I'm grateful for the Simple Writing System and John's coaching because I wouldn't have known how to fully execute all these principles on my own. I now have a reliable system I can use again and again to consistently turn out amazing copy. Thank you!

Joe PolishJoe PolishPiranha Marketing, co-host of iLoveMarketing podcast

"Phenomenal content. Of all the marketing, advertising and copywriting experts I pay attention to, John Carlton is by far the most articulate and passionate and knowledgeable (and funny). I get more value just from your hilarious, ballsy stories alone than from the serious efforts of most other gurus. Man, you've helped my advertising get wicked-good."

[Full Disclosure: Joe has been a trusted colleague for many years.]

Bernadette DoyleBernadette DoyleClientMagnets.com

"THANKS! I got a quick ROI on this and my bullet writing is transformed forever. Very happy student here. Apart from the excellent content, you structured it so I actually worked through and applied the content. It's so easy to let books and programs gather dust - you made this really usable and I've benefited as a result."

Peter IppolitoPeter IppolitoSan Salvador - CuponClub.net

We have top a "Daily Deal" site in El Salvador and Guatemala that sells big discount coupons for restaurants, hair salons, mechanics, hotels, etc.

Inspired by what Carton teaches about "One-Two Punch Bullets" in the SWS, last week we split-test the bullets we've been using on three of our offers.

The results were wild. All 3 resulted in a statistically significant increase in sales.

Argentinian Sausage Sandwiches: 12% increase over the control

Hotel and Spa Day: 28% increase over the control

Weight Loss Treatment: 85% increase over the control

We didn't change anything else. Just the 4-5 bullets near the top of the page.

Goes to show that copy REALLY matters.

Craig ClemensCraig ClemensNew York, NY


Thanks For Giving Me A Better Life

"Since 2005, your simple writing strategies have earned me and my clients millions. It all began when Eben Pagan shoved a copy of your course into my hands and said "Study every word and then write me some copy!" I was hooked, and got my hands on everything you produced.

My career as a copywriter has flourished since then, because you helped me understand the psychology behind a great sales message. In fact, just last month I booked a project that brought me a fat $15,000 (plus 5% of the gross sales in royalties)... and it took me just one week of work.

The beauty of writing sales copy is that it's not the writing that brings in the money... it's the knowledge of what to write about to get people to buy. And there is no one on earth who knows this -- and can teach it so you "get it" quickly -- better than John Carlton. Thanks, John, for giving me a better life."

April MorelockIndiana

"Two months ago I had little hope of making it in this business. Now, after taking John's specific advice, I'm quitting my day job and doing this full time."

Harlan KilsteinHarlan KilsteinTheDogingtonPost.com

Million-Dollar Advice

"John's first critique of my copy was a shock -- I thought I was pretty darned good, but he told me to rip it up and start over from scratch, using his specific advice.

I'm glad I had the sense to listen -- my first year, with John's advice stinging in my ears, I earned over $350,000. And this year, I'm bringing in a cool million."

Disclosure: Harlan's arguably John Carlton's most tenacious and successful student. He's one of the Simple Writing System's top coaches.

Robert PierceRobert PiercePresident, Tactical Response Solutions, TRSDirect.com

"John has created millions in profit for us. We pitted his ads and letters against big-city ad agencies, PR firms, and writers with lots of awards... and John slaughtered them all. He consistently hits 'home runs' for us -- 20-to-1 return in profit is not unusual. He has saved our butts on several occasions.

Kevin RogersKevin RogersCopyChief.com

I was a former dead-broke comedian with a few sales letters under my belt when I discovered Carlton's teaching. John's coaching and the SWS are responsible for millions of dollars in revenue to my business. Even more crucial is the CONFIDENCE I gained as a salesman in print. SWS is like injecting persuasion into your brain and feeling it shoot from your fingertips.

Ernie SvensonErnie SvensonSmallFirmBootcamp.com

"To be honest, even though I have massive respect for John Carlton and everything he does, I was hesitant about signing up because I was afraid I'd be somehow disappointed.

But, after having run the gauntlet I can say... The SWS course was everything I secretly hoped it would be: practical, hands-on, inspiring, challenging, enlightening, thoroughly enjoyable, and definitely profitable.

Thank you SO much for offering this exceptional course, and for making it so convenient to learn copywriting from the best in the biz."

Tom VenutoTom VenutoBurnTheFatFeedTheMuscle.com

50% More Orders

My average order is 50% higher (and more) since I adopted your idea. I love your outlook, and your advice cracks me up while bringing in the results."

Evelyn ByrneEvelyn ByrneOwner, Market iMprint

"SWS is the first course I’ve completed without the fear of 'what to do next'.

I now have a road map to help me write copy that sells.

You know that saying... 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!'

That to me is the essence of the SWS Coaching Program!"

Stacey MorgensternStacey MorgensternHolisticMBA.com

"John promises a lot in the SWS. You get 200%. I don't even know how to calculate the ROI on this one. I am only half way through the course and one specific tactic I've used this week has generated at least $2,000 in passive revenue - and that was the FIRST time I tried it!"

David DeutschDavid DeutschWorld-class freelancer with controls for Boardroom, Phillips Publishing and other major league mailers... and a frequent Simple Writing System Instructor

Million Dollar Confession

Early in my career, I had the good fortune to discover John Carlton -- and he deserves much of the credit for my success as a freelancer. I hereby confess that many of the ideas behind the million-dollar controls I've written can be directly traced to what I learned or stole from John."

Craig WoolvenCraig WoolvenSydney, Australia

"Your Simple Writing System has instantly turbo-charged my sales letters. $11,000 of new business in 48 hours using just a few of your wickedly effective sales strategies.

John, your Simple Writing System is my step-by-step blueprint for writing killer, kick-ass sales letters. At last, a simple step-by-step system that pulls together all the elements of writing sizzling, money-in-the-bank sales letters.

The videos explain exactly what to do... the workbook is chock-a-block-full of real world examples and my personal tutor made sure I nailed every exercise. Your red-hot team of million dollar writing tutors delivered the personal attention needed to catapult my writing skills to a whole new level.

I now know what to say and exactly how to write it. Powerful, laser targeted sales copy at my fingertips using your step-by step process. Absolutely awesome -- thanks John."

Sean QuinnSean Quinn

"In Northern Ireland, bricks and mortar businesses are beginning to realize they need to evolve. So I'm writing their sales and marketing funnels, from opt-in video scripts, free reports, direct response letters, to posts and emails for nurturing campaigns.

Good copy and sales funnels are a whole new concept to almost all of them, which gives me an endless stream of prospects.

At last it's paying off.

The Simple Writing System Coaching (and persistence) has given me the advantage over other copywriters, but I keep cool, and stay modest.

What I've learned from you means I know how to can help clients in almost any industry.

My thanks to you and John."

Chris HaddadChris Haddad"Mr. Moneyfingers"

"Hi. As I write this I'm richer than I ever thought I'd be, happier than I have any right to be . . . and have somehow become one of those "famous" copywriters who gets talked about on message boards, who's building a information business of my own that should hit 7-figures next year, and who's every letter and sales video gets mercilessly ripped off.

And it’s all John Carlton's fault."

[Disclosure: Chris's business did hit 7-figures. He's been a trusted associate for many years as well as a Simple Writing System instructor.]

Victor ChengVictor ChengTaipei, Taiwan

When I started the SWS Coaching Program, I was a copywriting rookie.

At first look, the 18-steps program layout did not seem all that "simple."

However, once I got into it, I quickly understood why the program is structured the way it is. It made me focus on "one step at a time."

I trusted the system and followed my coach's guidance. Eight weeks later, I graduated with my new "killer" communication and persuasion skills.

Communication is always going to be the skill we use most often. The SWS program taught me the secrets of effective communication. I'll use that every day in business and life.

The testimonials and case studies on this page are, to the best of our ability to determine, all true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return. These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact us or offer to share their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, we have no way to determine what typical or average results have been. Many people do not implement anything we teach them. We can't make anyone follow our advice, and we obviously can't promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it's helped the folks on this page achieve. The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual's success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate the results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.

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