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...

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.

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!

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!"

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.]

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."

Lorrie MorganLorrie MorganRedHotCopy.com

"When my copywriting business was operating in the red, I bit the bullet and invested in John's stuff. Know what? I started making money. Lots of it. The subtle tweaks and step-by-step system I learned from John shot conversion rates through the roof. And I confidently raised my fees by 60% because of everything I learned from him... and my fees continue to rise."

[Disclosure: Lorrie has turned into such a successful copywriter and consultant that she's become a frequent Simple Writing System's Coach.]

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.]

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."

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."

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.

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.

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."

Karen AlisonKaren Alisonremedywise.com

Was the SWS a life-changing experience? You better believe it!

Unlike some students in my SWS class, I was not an experienced marketer or sales copywriter. I had written three or four websites, but the two existing ones were not converting and I was at a loss as to how to make them generate income. I wrote good articles, judging by the comments and emails we received, and we had created a useful product, but we weren’t selling.

As I worked through the lessons of the SWS, with John’s probing guidance, all that changed. I learned about the different elements that have to be part of a sales message – long or short – and my writing style began to change. I began to choose words differently and work harder to find compelling language.

More importantly, my thinking changed. I began to think like a marketer who is communicating valuable information to persuade my prospect into buying, instead of an ignoramus blindly hoping to capture a few sales.

John has a saying. "If you have a good product, shame on you if you don’t do everything possible to get it to the people who need it."

That puts a whole different perspective on things, doesn’t it? The SWS makes it clear that it’s your responsibility to reach out to your prospect successfully, and shows you exactly how to do that.

The course is structured in bite-sized steps to lead you through the process of creating an effective sales message, so you have a chance to think through and work with each crucial aspect. At each step, John’s incisive "tough love" feedback showed me where I could improve, when I needed to work harder to really get the lesson, and when I was actually writing well!

I also learned enormously from reading the other students’ posts and the input they received from our coach. The synergy of working in the classroom structure was so powerful, I know it has moved me forward by a quantum leap. My brain is bursting now with new ideas for products and sales messages that I can feature on our sites.

Finally, I understand the process of creating a sales message, so I know what I'm doing instead of fumbling around in the dark, hoping to luck into a good result.

When you are able to rely on tested sales concepts assembled by a pro from his many years of highly-successful copywriting, you have an unfair advantage you won’t find anywhere else. I know... I’ve looked. I've taken courses with some of the most prominent internet marketers and there is nothing with the clarity, simplicity, and focus of the SWS out there. Nothing.

This level of instruction – making the copywriting process 'simple' for the student - can only be achieved by a master writer who has spent years honing his chops to the point where he can teach you exactly how to put your own powerful, dollar-pulling sales message together.

If you have to pick just one resource for learning copy, The Simple Writing System is it.

I read all the copy books, yet I was still frozen by performance anxiety every time I sat down to write.

Now that I'm better at research and understanding my avatar, writing is so much easier and faster. The research lessons alone were worth the price, because they got me inside the prospect's brain in a way no other book or course was able to.

I appreciate how you guys broke down the entire writing process step by step.

Good writing isn't a fluke, it's a formula. (And I don't mean those B.S. formulas you see out there for how to write a sales page).

The SWS taught me the nuts and bolts of crafting a killer sales argument are deeper than just hooks and headlines. And good luck finding material out there that explains all of this in a way practical and down to earth like it's done in the SWS.

Definitely glad I chose the private coaching option, too. Colin gives the best insights, took the SWS lessons to another level, and gently redirected me when I missed something. At least 80% of the value I got from SWS came from the private coaching. My only regret is that I didn't find you years earlier.

Caleb O’DowdCaleb O’DowdFlorida

Pure Gold

"I've written pieces that have pulled in millions of dollars. Yet, when I sit down to write copy, I pull out my swipe file of John Carlton's stuff, and study it like my life depended on it. He is one of the few true experts in advertising. Pure gold."

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.

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.

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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.]

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."

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."

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."

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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