Indie Publishing Business Rants Self Publishing

Ryan Deiss’s Number One Book System: Scam Or Just Incompetent?

Now – fair disclosure – I haven’t seen Ryan Deiss’s Number One Book System, that’s because it’s not live yet. But I’ve seen his pre-launch hype machine in action all over Facebook – so I took a longer look. 

Who’s Ryan Deiss?

His name rang vague bells in my head, I don’t think I’ve lost any money to him in the past, but it appears that he managed to annoy Aaron Wall (SEO Book) and of course the robot was not impressed either: the ‘Droid calls Ryan Deiss a Scammer

But hey maybe he’s found his calling, maybe he’s got really good at e-book publishing – or as he likes to call it the Kindle Publishing Revolution So I bought his book, it’s free on Amazon for 5 days,  and read it. The book is being promoted free to his list, and some VERY keen affiliates as a 5-day give away – during the 5 days before the Number One Book System going live. Clever idea – it means the book can give a very, very clear idea to potential customers about what they are going to get in the course. The book, is free, the course will not be, price not yet disclosed but I bet it’s four figures and ends in a “7”. 

Kindle Publishing Revolution Review

Unfortunately, by any objective measure, i.e. from someone who is not an affiliate looking for 40% or so of the price for signing you up on their review, the Kindle Publishing Revolution  fails at so many levels it’s hard to keep it short, but we could start with – the book doesn’t deliver on the title, subtitle or blurb. Deiss  points out that eBooks, particularly erotic fiction has exploded, and then spends a long time suggesting that writing a book is the perfect way to launch your public speaking or coaching career (what this has to do with the Kindle Revolution is beyond me – you’d be much better off with printed books to give away at live gigs).

However if you want to know how to use a free book on Kindle to promote an over-priced product costing a lot and probably under-delivering then I suggest you sign up for all his lists and watch what he DOES rather than listen to what he SAYS. 

In the Kindle Publishing Revolution we have a step by step how to upload your book via KDP without actually discussing formatting or cover design. Some of the information is plain wrong (cover image size, implying that uploaded public domain books is a good idea, suggesting that  DRM  is difficult to understand) 

The worst part is actually the section on marketing. There’s nothing new here: use keywords in your title/blurb, use authorcentral get a blog and start a facebook page (and this guy is supposed to be a marketer!).  He talks about free Kindle book sites without actually ever mentioning the decision of putting your book in Select or not! Never mind whether you should only use Amazon for distribution or whether you should go broader. 

And no point does he actually talk about finding your audience or connecting to them.  Nor does he mention that the best way to sell books is the have multiple books in a niche, nor, and this did surprise me, did he mention books as a way to grow your customer list. Maybe he’s leaving that for the Number One Book System course – after all you can’t give away the good ideas for free can you!  Particularly as you are not showing much evidence of having any. 

Number One Book System – Review Deiss’s Books Before You Buy 

The scary part though is the book is just part of a launch, a hook into his soon to be launched Number One Book System.  The other part of the hook is that Deiss is publicly disclosing how, he hopes, to give away 10,000 copies of another book. Now to me it’s obvious if you flash a book all over the Internet Marketing forums as a case study, plus prime all your affiliates, plus you’re a “name” in Internet Marketing, then obviously a lot of IMers are going to download your book out of curiosity. But maybe I need to say it, because it does seem that some people are fairly naive. 

So I’m not directly linking to the example book here, but you can find if you take 2 seconds, I’m just saying, think before you download. 

So let’s review this show-case book – this book which is supposed to persuade me that Ryan knows how to create a GOOD BOOK i.e good cover, well-written, good formatting.  – a point he emphasizes a lot. Because you know we wouldn’t want to spam Amazon – like an evil Internet Marketer would! 

So this is supposed to be the show case part that will make you really impressed by the guy’s track record and ability with eBook publishing. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

Cover Design 

So let’s talk about what  goes to make a great book, at least on Amazon. First you need an eye-catching cover – something that can be read as a tiny thumbnail . In fact his Kindle Publishing Revolution book has a great cover, the book he’s using as a case study – not so much. Hard to read, title doesn’t stand out, sub-title illegible, doesn’t stand out in the category listing at all. 

A Good Book 

What is a good book? Most marketers seem to think that a good book is a “long” book and most of those define long as 10,000 words. Most author’s would call a long book at 150,000 plus, a normal novel runs to around 80,000. A 10,000 word piece of fiction is called a short story. 

I actually don’t think the length is the issue – though if it’s less than about 50k words you better be making that clear to purchasers in the blurb. 

What’s critical though – is that you need to deliver on the promises made in the title/sub-title and blurb. In this book’s case something called: Vertical Gardening and Container Gardening Ideas for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Small Vertical Places Outdoors and Indoors should provide the following: 

  • specific information on vertical gardening
  • specific information on container gardening
  • information on growing vegetables and herbs in those settings 
  • information about both outdoor and indoor growing of vegetables and herbs in containers and vertical areas. 

What I don’t expect from a book delivering on those promises is: 

  • a long discussion about why home-grown vegetables are better than shop-bought
  • how to hoe (I’m no expert but you can’t hoe containers!) 
  • a discussion on general gardening techniques except where they pertain to verticals or containers and how.
  • absolutely nothing about container gardening or indoor gardening 
  • general introduction to garden gear which has nothing to do with vertical and container gardening including general soil testing.

Formatting Of The Book 

Okay, I have a simple check list to look for when I check a book’s formatting: table of contents available on menu bar? indents? bullets? 

Is there any formatting used that doesn’t work well on eBook readers – like tables? All of those are fails in this Ryan Deiss’s book as you can see below. 

Why the newspaper displaying today’s date- 23 August – you may ask? Well because Deiss claimed that my review of his book was a jack up or paid, nope you don’t need to pay me to get my honest opinion! He also says he’s corrected all the formatting issues. Well he hasn’t, and if there were even more formatting issues than this originally he needs to hire some better staff, or hell, learn how to do it himself! 

Is the Table of Contents live on the Kinde’s menu bar?


Are there inadvertent indents throughout the book making the sub-title look odd?


Are the bullets incorrectly indented?


Tables are illegible in Kindles- this is at maximum magnification, and there are pages of it

Summary Why I’m Ranting Again

Because I see every hallmark off an over-hyped launch of an over-priced light-weight product, which will do well for Deiss and his main affiliates because a lot of people are still looking for short-cuts and for for the moment, the mood is that Kindle books are that short cut.

 They are not. Can you make money with them, yes you can. Will the Number One Book System teach you how to – I sincerely doubt it. How can I possibly say that? How can I review a product and call it a scam without having seen it? Because some people’s track records speak for themselves.

49 replies on “Ryan Deiss’s Number One Book System: Scam Or Just Incompetent?”

Well said, Lis. I’ve had to format a Kindle book before, and it just takes an extra bit of work and effort. But surely someone who “specializes” in Kindle books would invest that time to avoid looking like a fraud. This is a fail all the way around. Thanks for the heads up.

Yeah it’s really not rocket science, I think that’s what got me fired up enough to write 1240 words on the subject – its the pure arrogance that any old shite will sell so long as I promote it correctly.

Don’t mince words, Lis, tell us how you really feel. 🙂

There is so much crap being peddled these days to people looking for the quick fix that I’m starting to get a bellyache. I have no problem with the software they peddle (if they peddle software), but the instructions on what to do with it is where they go wrong, almost every time.

Oh yeah I know RT, I don’t like to piss people off you know! I doubt this one even includes software, but hell I could be wrong, but really would you buy anything from someone who can’t even pay for a decent book to be written or formatted?

Here we go again! Backlinks peoples – they still work, and we need to get the news out. If you’ve ever been robbed by an online marketer, get the news out about Lissies review! Think SBI Scam! lol.

LOL hey its old times week – haven’t seen you for ages Milker! Oh yeah site authority for certain terms seems to be un-impeded despite recent Google changes, if you follow my drift

Nicely put Lis.
I have yet to dabble in the Kindle arena, so I have no clue whether his bullshitery is just that. However, I trust your word on this one because I have heard of this asshat and still get spammed with his junk from some thing I signed up for a couple of years ago. Yea, he’s a jack of all trades – as long as there’s a dollar for him to take from knowledgeable people looking for fast results.
It appears that he quickly throws stuff together (no editing, spell check, etc.) too, and that alone sets off the “get rich quick scheme” alarm in my head!
Links, shares, etc., will be coming from my end forthwith 😉


The only real value you can get from Ryan Deiss is to watch how he sells his own products. He is very good at selling and notorious for delivering a crappy product.

In my experience he always over-sells and under delivers. He will make you think you are buying a shiny new, blazing fast, ultra mint red Ferrari when in fact he is going to give you a piece of crap rust bucket from some junkyard that won’t even get you to the grocery store.

I have followed his launches for some time now. It is always a really hyped product that turns out to be crap when you really look at it.

God help the people who get on his list. People who opt in for anything of his are nuts.

Yeah that was my impresssion Dan- I’m watching his emails with interest – but not in order to buy anything!

Oh it was your comment he mentioned in his video? Wow.

His website and intial book looks so sleek so I had high hopes of a proper experiement type thing, along the lines of Pat Flynn with his niche website success.

I downloaded the vertical gardening book before I got to the part in his video where he asked his followers not to download it for fear of distorting the results. lol.

He does mention that someone else wrote the book but why on earth would they rush the uploading process, especially for a public demonstration? Weird.

I look forward to hearing how much his course will actually cost.

One other thing – I do not own a kindle, (I downloaded Amazon’s PC reader). Does the formating look different? On some of the pages of the gardening book the first line indents and on others it doesn’t. Is this down to the different platforms or incorrect formatting by the author?

Yeah I don’t have a problem with ghostwriting at all, I can certainly be done ethically and add value to the reader. So I too am bewildered why Deiss, with so much cash to hand, would stuff this part up so much.

Yes Kindle’s display quite differently – the images show my Kindle Keyboard which is still a current model, and things can look quite different on that than say the Fire. The PC reader is different again. The only way to have a good idea of the variations is to download the Kindle Previewer software from Amazon (free) – it allows you to see all the variations. BTW that also is something else that Deiss has missed in his book.

I saw that and signed up too, and was similarly dismayed by both his book, and his example gardening book.

The thing about Kindle books is that you can’t sell crap. People will leave bad reviews, and they will also demand refunds.

Although the price is much lower with Kindle books, the quality has to be almost as high as a real, edited book like you would buy in a bookstore. Because that is what people are comparing it to in their heads when they buy on Amazon.

My Kindle book is also in the gardening segment, so I found it completely odd that he would choose August to launch that book and expect a large number of people to buy it. Guess what, the gardening season is over in the USA and Europe! Gardening is seasonal, so you’re going to see sales in March through June, and not so many during other parts of the year.

The IM hype machine and big list method of making money can’t really work as well with Amazon, because you can’t hide your bad reviews and pretend that your material isn’t garbage, if it really is.

You have to actually write something of value for the Kindle, or you are doomed to crappy sales, refunds, bad reviews and failure, in my opinion. And writing something good that people want to read is just the START. Because even having a quality book doesn’t guarantee sales, without a good title, cover, and all of the other things you have mentioned here.

PS I noticed that you never approved a previous comment on an older Kindle post of yours with a link to someone else’s blog post that I used to figure out how to promote my own Kindle book. I just want to mention that I am a real person, and I really did find that blog post useful, and I wasn’t just shilling for that blog. I read that blog, just like I read yours. (Don’t feel like you need to approve it now, because I could care less if you link to that guy’s blog post or not.)

Oh good point about the US gardening season – must say it hadn’t occurred to me either! I don’t recall the previous comment – sometimes Askimet eats comments and I don’t always check the spam list because I have so many of them.

I just “bought” this guy’s book. With so much stuff apparently left out, I’m wondering what exactly he wrote about! He’s not exactly making it a secret that he’s using this book as a leader into his product.

Which, I might mention, is teetering along the edge of Amazon’s TOS. Don’t sell products that exist simply for promotion. If he fails to deliver real value in this book, he’s breaking his own admonition not to spam Amazon for your own gain.

Expect a review of my own in the not-too-distant future. 😉

On that note, am I the only one sick to death of being accused of leaving reviews in return for money? Anyone would think that getting paid as a book reviewer was the next big money maker! O_O

…… *rubs chin* ……

I kid, I kid.

On another point, check out this dude’s author list:

At what point should I be convinced that this “Joe Marshall” is an expert on container gardening?

Pen Names 101, peoples!

I must admit it crossed my mind as well Belinda -they already have some sort of approved reviewer at Amazon – you see reviewers tagged as being in the Vine program – I don’t know what it is – but it’s not available to us foreigners!

I think reviewers gain that status when they publish A LOT of reviews, with LOTS of those reviews getting tagged as helpful.

I don’t think they get paid. It’s just a status perk.

How different is it though to all the paid book reviews in the Sunday Paper though? Publishers have been doing it for years. The thing that blew me away was the throwaway on the last page 600k books to be self-published in 2014! BTW you need to add your gravatar to that email addy

Thanks for the heads up on this one Lis. I’m so sick of these scammers. Hopefully you’ll help people avoid wasting their hard earned cash on the course.

Just wrote a review two days ago on the kindle publishing revolution book.

The review is now number 2 most helpful and in the “front page”. Now there’s two 1 star review and a 2 star review on the front. This will warn the newbies off this awful book.

I noticed that Ryan – yeah there are not too many books I’ve seen with such bad reviews in positions #1, 2,3

the Number 1 Book System has gone live!

The price?

3 payments of $97.

I think I’ll stick to for now.

Hi Lissie,

The robot posted a link to your review. Ryan Deiss is basically a front-man for convicted felon Perry Belcher. Deiss does all the talking, but the whois info for The Number One Book System website lists Belcher as the owner.

Thanks for the head’s up I noticed the connection with Belcher, when I was researching Deiss, hadn’t acutally realised that Belcher owned the website OUCH

There is an old adage which describes Deiss impeccably – “Jack of all trades and master of none” 🙂

Hi Lis, thank you for an in-depth and insightful critique of this system – and saving me USD$250.

[…] subtitle or blurb. Here's her full analysis and debunking of Ryan-Belcher's prelaunch hype: Ryan Deiss’s Number One Book System: Scam Or Just Incompetent? | Passive Income Online: Lis So… And ends beautifully with: How can I review a product and call it a scam without having seen […]

Well they do offer a money-back guarantee – I don’t like your chances – but worth ago – and I’m happy to publicize it if they don’t honour the guarantee

I got a number of emails purporting to be from Brian Tracy, implying that he is partnering with Deiss AND giving out his own publishing ebook free for those subscribing to Deiss’s company.
I emailed and got a response from Tracy’s support team saying that Yes, he is indeed associated with Deiss.
I then asked if Tracy or his team *personally* checked out Deiss’s claims of 3000 members? I’m talking about random spot checking to see if they exist or know about all this. I got no answer.
Tracy is, of course, well-known to the world of self-help works. I don’t believe he would be party to a scam. He has too much legitimate work out there.
Could Deiss have hacked into Tracy’s mail?
I’m still curious about why Deiss is closing his company. Did he have problems with Amazon? Confidentiality issues would prevent Amazon from telling, but to me, at any rate, that’s the Big Question.
I should add that I asked Deiss directly about this, but received no answer to my email.

“Partnering” means that he’s sold Deiss the opportunity to mail to Tracey’s list – it’s not the first time Tracey has supported scams (see a comment where someone was sold this vanity publishing scam by Brian Tracy)

Deiss is not closing his company -he’s pretending to close his company in order to force people off the fence and to sign up – in case they miss out 🙂 . In a few weeks/months he will either – reopen because of the demand, or create a new product which will be very, very similar.

I am currently writing a play based on Milton’s “Paradise Lost” but with a number of new twists to it. Is there a book or system or group that really could help me find the proper market for my play once it is done to my satisfaction?

I noticed that both of his free Kindle books, at least the versions I downloaded, have very small type compared to all my other Kindle books. When pointing it out in an email, asking how he will fix it and also how users can update it without a repurchase, some outsourcer answered that they will consider my suggestions.

He kept sending more promo emails and I told him that I don’t believe he has the knowledge to teach me how to do it, that his support isn’t reliable and that I believe his purchase numbers rely solely on his heavy paid internet marketing affiliate campaign. Never got a reply.

I came accross Ryan Deiss in my early internet income generation endeavors a couple of years back. I didn’t sign on to any of his programs but did sign on with his ‘newsletter’.

The issue with this is I got no gain from any of his emails that came daily for over a year. Each one full of promise, heavy on fluff and little of much apart from getting into special inclusions for a limited time. Meaning hurry up and buy another useless program.

I am glad I remain skeptical enough to not rush out and buy without doing due diligence first. Never saw value in reading his stuff anyway and closed down an email address full of his emails.

It seems to me that if he is using ebooks as another form of marketing then he is looking towards a new audience as websites and email lists can only be sold so much.

Well, Bob Bly has just written a 50 page ebook about marketing ebooks. I believe it sells for about $20. As is usual with him, there is a 90 day money back guarantee if you don’t like it. Bly happens to be an honest chap. You can actually talk with him by phone if you have a problem!
Bly also mentions a few folks whose ideas about marketing ebooks might be helpful (in addition to him). Deiss is not mentioned.
best always,

Hey I managed to find and impartial review website for the No1 Book System product
posted by ….. erm … Ryan Deiss.

He is a TOTAL scammer. I actually jumped into this product – and paid way too much for it. I tried to cancel the recurring membership but no one would return my calls or emails from his supposed “support desk” — yes, I tried 3 calls and 4 emails with ZERO response.

After month #3, I had to call my bank to have my card cancelled in order to stop the recurring payments.

STAY AWAY from Ryan Deiss!

Have you noticed the review over on the AZ uk site?
“I am an avid gardener and have dozens of gardening books. Some I find invaluable, some I rarely consult. I read this book because I have an interest in urban gardening, hydroponics and container gardening.
So will “Vertical Gardening and Container Gardening” be one of the books I consult again and again? Sorry, no.
The book runs to about 72 pages; but are they relevant? There are sections explaining the health benefits, and there is a lot about composting, however I found it very sketchy on solid information relating to the title. I may be being unfair, but it seems there is a lot that is simply not relevant to the subject. We are advised to “Use … an old push lawnmowers if possible”. Apart from a grammatical problem, the author did not explain how to use a push lawnmower on a vertical or container garden. A diagram or photograph would have helped here.
In the composting section there is this advice:
“Personal Items
You may want to bury these items deep in your compost pile to keep prying eyes from seeing your unmentionables
Cardboard tampon applicators
Latex condoms”
Fine, but haven’t I read that somewhere else? Yes, there is an article entitled “75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn’t” by Colleen Vanderlinden, on the howstuffworks website, which says:
“Personal Items
It might be a good idea to bury these items in your pile. Just sayin’.
37. Cardboard tampon applicators
38. Latex condoms”.
It seems much of Colleen’s article appears in this book verbatim.
So how much of this book is available elesewhere? I identified small portions apparently written by Derek Fell, the author of a very popular book on the topic, and material which also appears word for word on vegetable-gardening-online, momtastic, thevegetablegarden, empowernetwork, howstuffworks and sparkpeople. I have no idea who is copying from whom, you must make your own mind up.
For a last comment, we are advised to “stand to prune the hedges next.” Apart from there being no explanation or illustration concerning how to plant hedges in a vertical or container garden, this whole section can largely be read in an article on the American Institute for Cancer Research’s website from May 2005 entitled “Reap the Benefits of Gardening”.
The description says “This is a GREAT little 100 page guide and I’m sure your (sic) going to love it.” For my own part, I can’t claim that I loved it. “

That is a truly beautiful review 🙂 – that’s the thing real people respond to books -and they are a lot harder to fool than Google’s algorithms!

Thanks for the head’s up. This popped up in John Kremer’s Book Marketing email newsletter (probably a paid ad), so I googled “Ryan Deiss Scam” and found this post.

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