James PattersonIf you haven’t already found enough ways to boost James Patterson into the Celebrity Net Worth top league and swell his $90 million p.a. income, here’s another one. Rather than read his potboilers or watch his spinoff movies, why not pony up 90 bucks to learn to write like him? Because, lucky aspirants, now you can, with the online Masterclass “James Patterson teaches writing.”

“Set out to write a best-selling book,” runs the blurb. “James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers, reveals his tricks of the trade for the very first time. In this course, he guides you through every part of the book writing process.”

Actually, there may be a trades descriptions issue there – though likely for Masterclass.com rather than Patterson himself. As any fule kno, Patterson co-writes most of his bestsellers with a slew of credited co-writers, so in fact, he’s co-author of most or all of those 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times Best Sellers. And I’m not clear on whether the class includes advice on how to engage your own co-author and get them to take second billing, but obviously that’s one of his tricks of the trade …

For those not already sold on the whole idea, here’s a Facebook page with a video all about it. Says Patterson: “Ever wonder how I beat writer’s block, stay motivated, or create characters like Alex Cross and Nana Mama? Want me to teach you how?” (By talking to your co-authors maybe? Oops, didn’t see that in the blurb …)

And if even that isn’t enough, read the laudatory quotes on the Facebook thread – all of them from (probably) real people. “I would love to take the class,” says one. “I have read all your books and am in awe of your ability to build a story. Keep ’em coming!” says another. “He is amazing , love his books. They never get boring every one of them is a page turner. His Characters live and breath,” says yet another. And, apparently without any irony whatsoever, another asks: “I always wanted to know how you can put out so many good books in such a short amount of time?

Will this master class equip you to be as rich and successful as James Patterson? Well, maybe not. But will it enable you to take a share in his success by contributing your $90 to it? Absolutely. Fine, it’s only one millionth of his annual take, but it’s how it makes you feel that matters. So go for it: You know it makes sense …


  1. One of life’s best rules is to not envy someone else’s success. It never makes you a better person. It will only eat you up inside. In most cases all your spite and venom do them no harm.

    Petersen is and alway will be a best-selling author. His existing fan base assures that and beyond doubt he knows how to write books that millions of people want to read. His success really does measure something.

    If someone gave me a scholarship to that $90 course, I’d take it and learn what I could from it. It’s certainly not a bad price. You’ll pay that much and more to take a course at a community college that’s likely to be far less helpful.

    But I’m not sure it would teach me what I want to learn. I want to portray ordinary people behaving heroically in everyday situations far out of the limelight of fame and celebrityhood. I want to create the written equivalent of this absolutely marvelous short video:

    My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer, which is based on my own, real-life experiences, was my first attempt to do that. I’m going to keep plugging away at that goal, whether it makes me rich or not. I’m certainly not going to fret over James Patterson’s success. He has his life, and I have mine.

    Besides, from what I’ve seen, he actually seems to be a quite decent guy. He’s certainly not vile like the two Clintons. He’s isn’t selling out the world, the country, or the world’s poor to enrich himself like they are. The two latter fit perfectly with the conscienceless sociopaths that Martha Stout describes in a book I am reading now, The Sociopath Next Door.

    No, James Patterson is making an honest living and must work quite hard. He gives to support libraries and bookstores. By co-branding, he helps his co-authors make a name for themselves. This course might just be what an aspiring writer needs to become a success. There is no reason to bash it.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

  2. Dr. Seuss also had co-authors, as do most when they end up with a publishing dynasty. So what? That does not mean the craft isn’t up to the same standards. Writers working with Patterson gain insight during a stage of their career. I’m sure they are paid for the privilege to work with a master.

    Patterson also pays back. He donates $$$ to schools/libraries to promote literacy. He has also grown his own writing repertoire to include fiction for under readers, which means he wants good writing to get in the hands of kids.

    Yep, he makes money, but I certainly don’t begrudge his success. I plan on signing up for this course because I recognize that he holds his readers in esteem. He maintains high quality in books with hiS name on them… Will assume the same on a course he is promoting. Go, Jim!

  3. It’s not a master class from Joe Schmoe who’s only sold a few books, it’s from probably the most popular author out there right now. If it was learn how to direct by Steven Spielberg, learn how to play team basketball by Phil Jackson, learn how to write dialogue like Tarantino, I’d sit up and take notice. I’ve read books he wrote by himself, the guy can write….and his co-authors weren’t selling millions of books until they hooked up with him under his mega-brand. It’s probably a question he gets all the time and he’s probably passionate about his craft and wants to teach. Stephen King and Lisa Gardner all have their own teachings on writings…. they eat and breathe this stuff, so I am not surprised they want to impart some of it back. You often see retired athletes or filmmakers still religiously going through games and movies because they love the art/science/craft of it. It’s a great idea.

  4. I plan to take his MasterClass, certainly. I have written 7 suspense novels published by BWL books, with modest success. I’ve also had a couple published by Zebra, NY. As well I teach creative writing with Winghill School. If I can learn from a master how to become even better at what I love to do, I’m thrilled. I’m a big James Patterson fan. He sells more books than anyone else in the world. That’s something. So I’ve no doubt he has much to teach. And at $90, the price is more than reasonable. Very excited.

  5. It’s so blatantly obvious that the author of this article is very jealous of Patterson’s success. I
    I’ll bet he is a democrat, resentful of anyone who is successful. $90 seems quite fair to me for a course like this.

  6. And it’s also not a class by a self-published writer. I just spent $150 for a writer’s conference where the classes were taught by self-published writers. I’m tired of those people giving advice on how-to write a “great” book when they can’t even sell their own books to an agent. Patterson knows what he is doing. He has published many books without co-authors (bestsellers) and understands what is required to produce a good thriller. He might teach me something that I have missed in my own novel…and that is worth $90.

    • @Arti, while I understand that you might not have received the advice you were looking for, please keep in mind that many self-published authors (myself included) never looked for an agent. My lack of an agent hasn’t stopped me from selling work directly to publishers.

  7. @Juli, my mistake, I should have said “…they can’t even sell their own books to an agent or a publisher.”

    Self-publishing is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher/To publish (a book) using the author’s own resources.


    You have sold your work to publishers. Having a publisher and not an agent doesn’t make you a self-published writer unless you use self-publishing companies like Xlibris, Lulu, Amazon, etc.

    • @Arti, I have works that are self-published through Amazon and other works which were published through a publisher. I actually self-published after selling a book to a publisher. So, no, your statement is still incorrect. I’ve chosen to do both because it was the right decision for each project, not because I was unable to sell to a publisher. I’ve proven I can sell my stuff, if I choose to.

  8. “And I’m not clear on whether the class includes advice on how to engage your own co-author and get them to take second billing…”

    It does. He’s open and explicit about it. You don’t even need to buy the course to know that; it’s in the class description. This entire uninformed rant is moot.

  9. I bought the masterclass and watched all the videos. This ‘masterclass’ is GARBAGE. You should definitely save your money. The videos contain almost no actual technique or useful information, mostly just random riffing on his life and career. You would be much better trolling the internet/reddit forums and youtube for free writing advice and simply writing on your own. SAVE YOUR MONEY…SERIOUSLY. Just because the guy is successful does not mean that this ‘masterclass’ is. Not worth it.

  10. This is one of the most jaded articles I’ve read recently. Paul Mackintosh must be a complete twit (and an envious one at that). The only two points you make are:

    1) He is deceiving people because he co-authored the books.
    2) It’s a scam because he makes money off of it.

    Neither of these make any sense. The author of this article might try taking the course. You’re a hack.

  11. @Juli, you still misunderstand me. I directed my comment to self-published writers who have NOT sold to regular publishers, and therefore cannot help me with publishing (traditionally). You, on the other hand, have proven you can sell your stuff, so the point is moot.

  12. Ok so if this isn’t worth it I am blatantly looking for something similar to hold my hand and leads me through the process because my ideas and structural plot abilities are just jelly. I need a mould man. You know Paul your writing is quite funny even though a bit bitter, use the force for good mate:)

  13. Study what you love to read or what sells, then write your own. John D. MacDonald used to “copy-type” (type out other authors’ writings) until his own muse took over. Learn to use Dragon to increase output and publish consistently on Amazon Kindle with great covers and blurbs. Keep it FUN! 🙂

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