Review of John T Reed's How to Write, Publish, & Sell Your Own How-To Book

I recently read John T Reed’s How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Own How-To Book.

His website is not pretty, but his writing is great. I suspect he can only get away with such a non-pretty looking site design because he was well established long before the web, & he does not use words like non-pretty. He would just say disgustingly ugly or something like that.

Onto the book review:

  • He says to sell a book you need market for the idea (although it is hard to test the absolute demand) and a desire or interest in the topic. You also need enough credibility or experience with the topic to write a book on it, and an anger toward the books on the market in said topic…either they are dated, biased, or incomplete.

  • Many people are bad writers because they water down their voice.
  • John says you do not need much skill to write how to books, so long as you can write like you would talk.
  • He talks about writing making you a member of the press and talking to people as member of press…don’t be afraid to try to contact the right people.
  • He goes in exceptional depth about why it is best to sell books direct via your own website (sell a branded product instead of competing against yourself as a commodity in an unneeded arbitrary long supply chain).
  • He goes into great depth about customer service and why he stopped accommodating problem customers. One area I do not fully agree with him on is that he says higher prices lead to more complaints, which seems to be an inverse of my experience thusfar.

His book is only 128 pages, but is fairly information dense. He whinges on about a few things, but most of it is great useful information from many years of experience. Well worth it's cost of about $35 after shipping.


  • Presents an overly simplistic view of how search engines work based on his own experience. He had about 20 years writing experience building up his personal brand before he took to the web. He also has many shady guru review / hate articles on his site which act as great link bait to improve the overall authority of his website. His site is well established, as is his reader base, so his experiences probably are not going to match Joe average publisher if they are new to the publishing process. He would do well to also research or also mention [cough] books on SEO.

  • He states search is his primary means of driving new sales, and openly admits that he has little understanding of how search engines work (a claim which may have something to do with an associated lawsuit for him outranking someone for their name in Google). While normally rather in depth information he states rather lacking stuff in this area.
  • He fails to mention pay per click marketing at all, which is huge for how to book publishing, and may even prove useful to find the right topics to write on or how much demand there is for a topic BEFORE you even write the first word. If he is recommending that search drives the bulk of your sales surely he should mention how to research market volume?
  • He does not mention the social aspects of the web, and probably does not realize that link popularity from his review articles helps pull up his site rankings for other terms as well. Those review articles also drive sales as well. I only found out about his name because his Rich Dad Poor Dad review was mentioned in a WebmasterWorld thread. I like John's writings well though, and I bet he would sell 2 or 3 times as many books as he does if he also ran an associated whingeblog. He has the perfect writing style to pull it off.
  • While his blunt this-is-me language probably helps convey his message well and is the voice of his writing you can’t help but be offended by at least one thing if you read through a whole book of his. He makes fun of the Spanish language, the French, and presumes guilt on the part of all people in jail, which is either a strong display of ignorance or arrogance. I suppose I can’t fault him for his voice, but I think sometimes he goes over the top with it to get his point across. His points are in many cases valid though. For example, he is not a fan of special consideration customers. I have grown that way too, as most of the people who ask me to special accomidate them are the people who never pay, bounce checks, or reverse charge. There is no reason to give people better customer service for being bad customers.
  • He also has a rather plain website, which can work. He also mentions that some people may need more graphics, but I think most people could not pull off a site as "non pretty" as his unless their writing is of an exceptional caliber. Put another way, I think I would only have about 5 to 10% of my current income if I created my website around his design and structure

In spite of the negatives I just mentioned I still think his book is a great book. If you add his book to a web savvy person with a deep interest in a topic you should be able to do really well.

Published: August 18, 2005 by Aaron Wall in book reviews


April 4, 2007 - 2:01pm

I just happened to find these postings on John T. Reed. It is funny because I just posted about his guru rating link in response to the recent e-Book Crusade website as a good example of how to go after and expose the e-Book charlatans and Internet Marketing scammers. I find his guru reviews to be very ethical as opposed to what the e-Book crusader wanted to do: post the verbatim publications of others for download free of charge - which is lazy and unethical (if not illegal).

I have only read some of Reed's real estate books which are pretty good - very honest and informative unlike a lot of other books and programs in real estate...that tell you anybody can become rich in real estate easily (usually with no money). He writes books and web content about a myriad of subjects. I was almost going to say that you have to appreciate real estate with all its false prophets to really appreciate where he's coming from...but you don't. The web, with parked domains and so-called marketing gurus is like real estate 2.0!

Beyond the marketing value his list provides to his website, these reviews are useful in-depth research of the claims and the REAL facts in other real estate/finance guru's books, infomercials, and their personal lives (specifically their actual wealth, business dealings, etc.). Because there is so much research and hard facts behind each review, I find them a highly credible and valuable source of information as a consumer.

John...or Jack as he is called is a total cowboy and does things his own way. I'm sure he gets a major thrill over having probably one of the least attractive sites on the web and making money. I guarantee he could make a lot more if he cleaned up his site a little and invested in a proactive search marketing campaign with some PPC ads. I just don't think he'd go for that. His site, like his books, have a few bugs/typos - but he's proven that you can be successful at self-publishing. You just have to know what you're talking about.

He has a lot of books, so at $30 have to spend a good chunk of change to get all his books on a particular subject. Some of his books are short, some are pretty long. I believe he's charging to value. I would agree that a lower price would cause fewer complaints, but I don't think he charges low prices - you can go on Amazon and buy probably thousands of real estate books cheaper. I just think he means that you should charge a fair price. I'd be pretty upset if I paid as much for his books as I did for your book, Aaron...but yours was much bigger and price appropriately...and very good with updated content.

March 27, 2006 - 7:00am

Reed is so negative when he others doing better than he is, specifically is selling books on how to's. Thats why I refuse to read or give positive referrals to read his stuff.

August 19, 2005 - 5:41am

I enjoyed your review of Reed's book, even though I haven't read that one yet. I have 3 of his books on real estate investing though, and his book on how to be successful, and I agree 100% that he sticks to his voice. I get the impression that he's a very sincere and honest writer.

September 8, 2006 - 5:35pm

To "Observer"

Why should Reed take down his guru pages? Are they incorrect, misleading, etc.?

Those pages are the best marketing he has. After I read them I saw his link for books and thought "Damn, if he's this thorough researching shit for FREE, imagine how good his paid material must be. After buying it, I was not dissapointed. The guru pages should stay.

July 20, 2006 - 6:40pm

I think John is a to the point writer who makes sure to help his customer get a full veiw of what he is stating, if you understand it right off go on to the next topic. I enjoyed your review however I thought you were doing a review about his book? And not his web page. I know there is lots of people who post bad untruths of Mr Reed, this being said it does not mean to say there right. In my view andd thinking I really enjoy and trust Mr Reed.

September 3, 2006 - 5:33am

I truly enjoy reading reviews about authors I have read. I have read many of the "Gurus" John T Reed has discraced if you will, as well as a few of John's books and review on his site. What is important is to "research" without emotion. What I see in the negative comments here is a lack of ballance and objectivity, for which we all must have to truly form an educated opinion. For example -Panda on- openly admits to not reading any of John T Reed's books, then bashes him anyway. This is truly an ignorant point of view and purely based on emotion. The bottom line is that success is measured realitive to the individual and if we are to judge anyone, it is our responsibility to base our arguments on facts. What is great about John T. Reed is the fact that he is an open book, pun intended, and his credibility is bomb proof. He has debated against some of these so-called "Gurus" on 60 minutes and if anyone watched these debates, regardless of his negative tone, they cannot dispute his fact based analysis. Open your eyes dreamers and educate yourselves before you submit your "opinions" about anyone. John T Reed openly admits his weakness and furthermore openly admits he is selling books to make a living. This is not the argument. The argument is whether or not these other "Gurus" are selling good advice or not. Think about it. Defending those John has discredited shows that you have invested a lot of time and perhaps a lot of money in your "Dreamland" that was painted by these "Gurus". If these so-called "How to" books have inspired you, that is great. I have learned early to ask myself the question: "Has this book told me 'how to do anything'". The answer is in the content in the books. Please respond openly or privately if you are offended by this posting. I love to debate.

September 13, 2006 - 2:40pm

Hi Guys.

PLs Help me out . i need to know the Seo guys reponsibilty & what is his responsibility ,functions.

I required the Text Matter to plss help me out form this problem.

Best Regards

August 8, 2006 - 5:49am

Bad mouth others just to sell his books I see? If his books are so good, I'd like to see him take down all his 'guru' bashing and let's see how many books he sells then.

But of course he won't take it down. He's got books to sell and a family to feed!

And ONLY 12 DEALS??? Come on...

Janice Arcaro
November 17, 2006 - 10:32pm

Enjoyed reading your comments. Have wondered what people thought of his "don't bother me" attitude on the site. Can you tell me what a "whingeblog" is.

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