The Art of Writing A Book on Real Estate

The News Funnel recently spoke with Stephanie Krewson-Kelly and R. Brad Thomas about their new book The Intelligent REIT Investor: How to Build Wealth with Real Estate Investment Trusts. Our Content Manager, Lauren Cenicola, asked them some questions to learn more about the book but also understand the process of getting a book published on real estate subject matter.


Lauren: Why this book?
Stephanie: While many excellent books have been written about REITs and REIT investing, each resource presumes the reader already knows the terminology specific to REITs as well as the basics of stock investing.   The Intelligent REIT Investor is both the Rosetta stone for the industry that enables people to quickly grasp industry terms and dynamics, and a how-to book for people who want to use the book’s later chapters to actually invest in REITs.  In short, our book fills an important void that existed in the library of REIT resources.

L: What was the writing process?  How long did it take? Where did the insights and information come from?
Brad: Back in 2014, I came across Stephanie’s prior work, which was called REIT Roadmap, when I was guest lecturing at a prominent real estate school in the Mid-Atlantic.  I realized she had struck upon a great format and unique content, especially for teaching purposes.  We decided she should update and expand her original work, with me serving as advisor on some of the content, and that I would market the book.   It took a little over a year to structure our partnership with Wiley, which was completed late in the summer of 2015.
Stephanie: That’s right, Brad.  My original work was based off of my two decades on Wall Street where I analyzed REITs for top investment banks, such as Citigroup and J.P. Morgan.  During this time I realized that only the REIT-dedicated money managers really understood REITs, and that individual investors and general money managers needed a how-to manual for understanding our unique industry.  So when I retired from Wall Street, I spent a year writing my first book on REITs. Once Brad and I had our contract with Wiley completed, I spent every weekend, from September of 2015 through mid-July of this year, refreshing and expanding the content.  In addition to incorporating Brad’s valuable commentary, I worked closely with individuals from the National Association of REITs (“NAREIT”) and S&P Global Market Intelligence to refine and illustrate certain concepts.  The Intelligent REIT Investor is the helpful teaching/learning tool it is because of the team of individuals who helped me write it.

L: What are the top conclusions that you hope readers will take away from the book?
S: That they should invest in REITs primarily for dividend income, and secondarily to enjoy average annual returns of 10 to 12 percent each year.  Lastly, I hope every reader understands that REITs are approachable and, like any investment, investors need to be aware of the risks and rewards they offer.

L: Is the book available in other formats?
S & B: Yes, the book is available in Kindle and is also being translated into ‘simple Chinese.’

L: What advice would you give to someone also thinking of publishing a book on real estate?
S: A lot of books on real estate, including The Intelligent REIT Investor, already exist; but if you find a niche – be it a portion of the investing public or aspect of investing – that needs to be served through writing a new book, then, by all means, go for it!


About the Authors

Brad Thomas is the Editor of the Forbes Real Estate Investor, a monthly subscription-based newsletter. He also writes weekly for Forbes.com and Seeking Alpha where he maintains “real time” research on many publicly-listed REIT securities. 

Thomas has also been featured in Forbes Magazine, Kiplinger’s, U.S. News & World Report, Money, NPR, Institutional Investor, GlobeStreet, and Fox Business. He is ranked as the #1 analyst on Seeking Alpha in 2015 where he also has around 30,000 followers.

Thomas is the author of The Trump Factor: Unlocking the Secrets Behind the Trump Empire (Post Hill) and he is co-author of The Intelligent REIT Investor (Wiley).

Thomas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Economics from Presbyterian College.

Stephanie Krewson-Kelly is head of investor relations at Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE: OFC), a publicly traded office REIT. Her experience in the REIT industry dates back to 1994 and includes work in investment banking (1994-1997) and as a research analyst (1997-2009) in New York City at Salomon Smith Barney (which today is part of Citi Global Markets) and J.P. Morgan, followed by five years as the head of REIT research at BB&T Capital Markets in Richmond, Virginia. 

In between retiring from Wall Street and joining her current firm, Ms. Krewson-Kelly authored REIT Roadmap: An Insiders Guide to Successful Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (second edition published in 2012 under her maiden name, Krewson; now out of print). 
Prior to her career in REITs, Ms. Krewson-Kelly worked as an internal auditor for a global corporation headquartered in Paris, France. In 1992, Ms. Krewson-Kelly graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts & Sciences and Wharton School of Business, where she respectively earned her BA in English and BS in Economics. 

Ms. Krewson-Kelly also authored 4-Leaf Clovers (Cedar Tree Books, 2015), a new and original children’s book that explains why the finder of a four-leaf clover gets one wish.