Today I have something exciting to tell you guys about *bounces up and down like a kid*. Last week we talked about Going Pro and today I’d like to springboard off some of what we talked about. One of the reasons it is so vital for authors to take ourselves seriously, is it directly impacts how we operate. So long as we view what we do as “our little thing” or “a hobby” or we are “aspiring,” we are hesitant to do the activities that will truly matter. We will fail to commit.
We are just “shacking up” with our dream instead of putting a ring on it.
If we haven’t yet mentally “gone pro” often we won’t make our writing a priority. Everyone and everything comes first and if there is any time left over? Well, then we can write.
We will also fail to invest in getting better. We might buy reference books and writing guides, but we are still relying on being self-taught. Nothing wrong with starting this way, but for most of us? It will make the journey harder and longer and we will make many more mistakes that will take even MORE time to fix.
There are SO many times I wish an author would have hired me to consult on a plot before writing a 100,000 word mess that can’t be repaired. Or hired me to help create a brand before they spent three years creating something that is a train wreck.
Many new writers fail to appreciate that one conference, one class or a couple of hours of training could be the very difference in failure and success. I know I practically had to donate plasma to afford my first conference, but I met and befriended New York Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer and that one meeting changed my life…literally.
Had I not gone to that conference and connected with that expert? I would probably be
in rehab working in sales and this blog would not exist. W.A.N.A. would not exist and tens of thousands of writers who have benefited from my books and classes?
Well, who knows?
All I know is had I not met Bob, the world would never have seen my author picture on a panty liner. Okay, well Bob would probably prefer I not mention that…
Don’t Advertise, PADvertise! Get in your reader’s wallet AND her pants!
Bob actually changed my life in a number of ways. One major lesson he taught me was the value in seeking help from professionals. Many of us are trying to blaze our way to success on our own, but we really don’t have to go it all alone. He taught me to look for people who have already done what I want to do and learn from them. They already have a map, why not use it? He was a major inspiration in me creating W.A.N.A.
In writing, I hire pros all the time. I am not happy being good at what I do. I am committed to being the best.
Currently, I am taking James Patterson’s Masters Class. Since I blog about writing and teach writing and yes, I write mysteries and thrillers? Why not look to someone who has mastered what I want to do? James is a master at outlining, writing quickly, and also he is GREAT at plot twists.
So imagine my surprise when Patterson’s Master’s Class people contacted me and told me they loved my blog and asked me to share some information with you guys.
A quick caveat.
Anyone who’s followed my blog more than a minute knows I am not for sale. I will only ever promote what I love and believe in. If I think something is snake oil? Not enough money in the world for me to tie my name to it.
Truthfully, I probably would have promoted this class on my blog anyway but was wanting to finish the whole thing before putting up my thoughts.
But there is a contest and the deadline is March 22nd, so I am blogging early about it. Was also hesitant to mention the contest on my blog, because, HELLO??? I am entering and why do I want to tell you guys? 😛
And that is bad and selfish and I since really do love y’all so it would be fantastic to connect one of you in just the right way at the right time to make you a legend.
Just please remember me when you are famous.
Anyway, like me, James Patterson also has a passion for helping writers get that big break. He’d been teaching the class for a while and was so impressed with the quality of student work, that he wanted to use the class to recruit a new co-author. Then everyone wins.
Patterson fans are almost cult-like in their passion and devotion and they want a lot of stories. James is good, but hey, after 70 mega-best-selling books or so, maybe fresh blood is a good thing. This helps James keep his stories new and exciting and also uses his brand and platform to launch an unknown into the next big deal.
Personally, I just know he is going to love my idea about a dirty mall cop dealing weaponized poodles. Can Fifi, the assistant manager of the Smoothie King stop him from unleashing his poodle stockpile before Black Friday is the blackest ever?
Unleash? Get it? I already have merchandising ideas.
Those who are taking the Master’s Class can enter. And seriously, the class is $9o for 22 lessons and over three HOURS of instruction. Plus there are all kinds of hands-on assignments. You can upload samples for critique, often by James himself. I have been really impressed with the class and have learned a handful of small things that I was all *face palm* Why didn’t I think of that?
I listen to lessons often when I am doing chores.
The contest being added to this is icing on the cake. Take the class and do the assignments you would do anyway but then enter your work by March 22nd and maybe win some cash or…OMG! Co-author a book with James FREAKING Patterson. Most contests have an entry fee and they sure don’t come with 22 lessons and three HOURS of instruction from the world’s top-selling author.
Anyway, there you have it. Since the deadline is SO close, it will be a lot of work to do this, but that’s part of going pro. Learning that sometimes opportunity requires us to hustle.
I wish everyone
sudden writer’s block the best of luck!
Even if this class is not your thing, please take to heart what I said. Conferences, classes and consulting can be complete game-changers. Invest in yourself. Invest in your future and your dream?
Put a ring on it 😉 .
What are your thoughts? No Patterson bashing. I get he is not everyone’s cup of tea, but not all of us are aspiring to write for a Pulitzer. Are you guilty of not committing to your dream, just kinda dating it? Are you bad about putting money into becoming better? Maybe you feel silly or selfish? Have you put money into a class or a conference and it very literally changed EVERYTHING?
I would love to hear your stories!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of MARCH, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel.
For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.
Also if Patterson’s classes are not a good fit? Check out my THREE NEW CLASSES 😀
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OMG!!! Thank you for sharing this! I’m going to put a ring on it and dive in!!!
I’ve been in the class for almost a year now. Where I’m at right now (I’ve got 8 books out, 7 fiction and 1 non-fiction) I found the level of instruction to be more of a review of where I’m at right now, but for $99 I would most definitely recommend it to an author just starting out their journey or who only has one or two books. Even on the review portions, I found Mr. Patterson’s videos to be humorous, down-to-earth and self-effacing. He gets a lot of criticism for using ghost-writers, but unlike -many- who claim they really -do- write 12,000 words per day for the past century and don’t use ghost-writers [*n.r. cough*] he -does- list his co-author on his book covers. If your a more advanced writer, I found some of the later videos on marketing to be intriguing.
For $99 bucks, I’d say this class is a super-bargain if you’re just starting out or muddling your way through book 2. If you have more books than that, if you can afford it, it’s worth $99 bucks just to get some insight into the ultimate marketing machine.
Hi – Thanks for the insight. I’ve been trying to decide if it’s worth it – I have written seven books, and was nervous I’d spend the money and it would just be review… But since this is now my career, maybe it’s worth it…
LOL! “A dirty mall cop dealing weaponized poodles. Can Fifi, the assistant manager of the Smoothie King stop him from unleashing his poodle stockpile before Black Friday is the blackest ever?” Sounds like a plot that Dogdom might use against Catamondo – from the POV of the cats, of course… Kristen, do you plan to radicalize poodles to become a mega problem for Xander?!?
I needed some motivation today! Thank you. I started Patterson’s Master Class and have also been getting a little something here and there from each lesson. Let the competition begin!
Thank you for the recommendation. I wouldn’t have known about this project without this post. I’m very committed to my craft, and I’m working on my second and third book so I’m at that point where I need the class, but still. When one decides to invest, one must see where one puts their money. 99 is a proud sum, and a small chance at getting picked as co-author sounds too much like marketing stunt. How else does he promote this course? Why should I choose this course and not another? Why him and not another mentor? I always keep honest, and I praise where there’s praise earned, but also speak my mind when I need more information and have doubts.
If it makes you feel better, the class has been available for several months now. Only recently (last month?) did he come out with the co-author opportunity announcement. Maybe cause I’m a writer and I’m being targeted by those algorithms, but I literally can’t go online without seeing a James Patterson masterclass post. It’s been this way so long, I can’t imagine going online and not seeing his ad…
I haven’t seen it. Thanks a lot for the reply 🙂 What’s your opinion on his offer of class?
Mixed opinion. I think was Kristen says makes sense. I *want* to take it – though since I quit my job to write full time, I have to be smart with my money.
Also, I’m going to an amazing conference in Portland – the writers intensive with my hero Larry Brooks and Jennifer Blanchard in early April. So that’s my big investment for the year.
Thank you very much 🙂
I think of it this way. Most contests have a $30-$50 fee and they don’t come with 22 hours of instruction. Even just the class? $90 for 22 lessons and 3+ hours of teaching? So far I have found it to be a good deal. I treated myself early for my birthday. It isn’t exactly cheap, but a conference when everything adds up is close to or more than a grand.
Hi, how do I join this class?
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I’ve seen his class advertised for about half a year and hadn’t felt any need to take it, but I’m writing a thriller for the first time and need the help.
I was tempted by his class a few months ago and hesitated. But Saturday I spent all day in a workshop with Bob Mayer — way too much information. He is amazing. And now I see your recommendation. Thank you, Kristen.
Thank you so much for you posts on going pro (and all your blog posts for that matter). They’re exactly what I need to get my butt in gear. I spend more time reading about how to write than actually writing and it’s the last thing that gets squeezed into my day…if there’s any time left. Which there usually isn’t. Funny you should mention James Patterson’s course. I signed up for his Masterclass last year, blasted through all the videos, furiously taking notes only to find out afterwards that the videos were only part of the class. That’s the downfall of being a skimmer (it’s the ADD. Shhhhhh…). Anyway, it’s been on my mind to start the class again, this time following the directions and doing the exercises. Your enthusiasm for the course is just the shove I need to just do it. And your words of writing wisdom and encouragement are much appreciated.
I did Masterclass last fall. Enjoyed it very much, and I’m not even a Patterson fan. Lots of “me, too” stuff.
That ad keeps popping up on my facebook page. I so wanted to do it. But hey ya know wasn’t sure. So now I have to find the $$. I’m impressed I know someone who’s taking it. If I took it, might you crit my work?
I think the only thing keeping me back from pro writing is the lack of total commitment 🙁
I took Patterson’s Master Class a few months ago. I liked the info he gave (videos were great. He’s very personable, I think) and the assignments.
I have to admit, I didn’t present any of my exercises for critique because I didn’t feel I was good enough. There. I admit it. I have a huge self-doubt chip on my shoulder. I am trying to change that.
All writers have self-doubt. The trick is to do it anyway. Have you read “Bird by Bird”? Very encouraging on that score.
No, I haven’t, but I’ll look into it. Thanks Deborah. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your insights! A friend told me that it was all general info that he already knew (that person has written one book). You saying you’ve learned something from it means a lot.
Also, YOU were that person who changed EVERYTHING for me. That class in 2012 on the new self-publishing industry? – Blew my mind as the cliche phrase goes. But I don’t think I would have believed I could actually make a living off writing by self-pub or otherwise if it were not for you.
I just got the opportunity to move conferences and classes up to the top of my priority list. Thanks for pointing out this one.
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I am quite guilty of failing to commit to my writing over the years, but a lot of that has changed recently. I decided to focus on myself, my dreams, to put a ring on my writing. It’s slow going and difficult working around a full time job, but I’m getting there. After not being able to write much more than a short story here and there after the “event” seven years ago, it’s refreshing to be working on a novel again and actually *gasp* PLOTTING it.
At any rate, read Kristen’s words. She’s one smart cookie. 😉
I’ve been wavering back and forth about taking Patterson’s class. My daughter even told me about the contest and INSISTED I do it. You just catapulted me into it. Will sign up today. Thanks!
Too bad I don’t make any commission, LOL.
Patterson’s class is the first one I’ve seriously considered and I may still take it. The guy obviously has things he could teach me or he’d be at his computer thinking about taking my class. I admit that at the moment, I’m in the “I can’t afford that” group, which really does suck with the contest. I saw the contest on facebook and got so excited I startled my wife.
Sad reality is I’m not quite at a place where I truly believe in my writing enough to think the expense will be worth the reward. I know, I know. Logically I see the stupidity in that thinking. And I’m working on it.
For now, I’m just going to wish you the best of luck and hope my next Patterson purchase has your name along side his. And that he repeats the contest at a later point when I am a bit more confident in what I’m doing.
I am sharing this blog with my writer friend! Very encouraging!
Just a heads up about the Patterson contest. He does not run the contest. He is not going to end up with possession of rights to all entries. The contest owners (Masterclass) will.
The contract clauses on the use of the property by the contest owners are HORRIFIC.
I would never, ever, EVER consider entering a contest with such liberal rights distribution, not unless I was being paid an awful lot.
I addressed these concerns on the Masterclass Facebook page, as did a score or so of other writers.
We were told “sorry, we can’t change the contest rules”.
The net result:
Masterclass owns all rights to all entries. Whether they win or not.
You still have ownership of the property. But THEY also have (non-exclusive) rights. You can later publish the book, if you want.
And if it breaks out, they can sell merchandise for your book, or sell movie rights, etc.
The bottom line is this: I’d avoid this contest.
If you choose to enter, OK. But do so understanding that whatever you are tossing out there is a throw-away. I wouldn’t bother actually writing the book for whatever idea and sample you submit.
(The class itself is pretty cool, especially for novice writers. But the contest? Avoid with a capital A.)
Wow. Thank you for this. I have thought about developing just one of my many ideas and seeing if it worked out. But this is good to know so I don’t use my premium ideas if I decide to enter. THANK YOU!
But I still love the class. Most of it is stuff I already know but presented differently. The one tip I learned that I was all THIS! Was worth the $99.
The class is pretty cool. Like I said – and Anna Eriskigal mentioned in her comment: it’s a VERY GOOD DEAL for novice writers. For those who have already written a few books, it’s likely still worth taking a peek into Pattersons process. 🙂
I was talking to the Master’s Class representative and asked her about what you said here. I am thinking maybe they changed that? Because here is what Shaye wrote back. “In terms of content rights, anyone who submits work remains the owner of the work and can use it as they like. Once the winner is selected, the terms of the co-authorship are agreed upon between the winner and James Patterson. Hope that clears things up!”
What they told you is not untrue. The writer DOES still own the work; same way the writer still owns the work after they sell or give away any rights. *Ownership* only changes hands with a transfer of copyright.
Notice Shaye didn’t actually tell you “no rights are transferred”. She can’t say that, because the contest rules give them a LOT of rights. Here’s the relevant bits from the contest rules:
“and do hereby grant, to Competition Sponsor the paid-up, royalty- free, perpetual, irrevocable, sublicensable, non-exclusive right and license to (a) use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display any such content (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate all or any portion of it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed for the full term of any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights of any party that may exist in such content; and (b) use the content, including without limitation, the right and license to make, use, sell, offer for sale, and import any products and/or services which practice or embody, or are configured for use in practicing, all or any portion of the content.”
Royalty free = they pay you nothing, ever, for any use they make
irrevocable = isn’t really true; you can revoke this after 35 years in the USA
sublicensable = they can sell these rights to other people; if Masterclass ever goes out of business, these rights will be auctioned off to pay debtors
non-exclusive = you still have the rights TOO; but no major publisher will ever touch this book, because it is legally encumbered, i.e. you’ve already given away some of the rights
“create derivitive works” = they can use your outline to write a book, include the outline in a book of ideas, write a sequel to the novel you publish from the work *using your characters and world*, sell movie rights or game rights or other similar rights to derivative projects
This clause (clause 5 in the contest) is a NIGHTMARE for writers.
I told them this and asked them to change it. A lot of other writers did too. They refused.
Note that Patterson has nothing at all to do with this contest. The winner is being granted the right to work with him on a future project, which may or may not be the same one as the sample you submit and may or may not be submitted to publishers or published. So it’s not Patterson you’re giving these rights to, and not him who has control of them moving forward. It’s the company running Masterclass making what I see as an unconscionable rights grab.
Changing that one clause to be more reasonable would be simple. If they won’t do it, after many of their members protested to them publicly about it, I’m inclined to believe there is a reason they want that clause to remain.
PS: that bit I quoted is direct from the contest rules this morning. It hasn’t been changed. =(
Kevin is spot-on here. A friend recommended the competition. Delighted and impressed by the chutzpah on display in the entry rules (I’m a corporate attorney), I ran to master Google expecting warnings in flashing lights. Nope, not much out there. So I’ll echo Kevin: MasterClass itself seems well worth the fee. Competition? No. Why would a company arrogate all rights in perpetuity, as the competition company does here? This little Internet acting class production shop cannot possibly be set up to exploit these disparate rights. Perhaps it’s to ransom any rights that later prove to have some value? Whatever the thought process, it boils down to this: predation.
I’ve loved James Patterson, since forever. If I’m not mistaken he wrote a non-fiction book early on. I’ve read all the Alex Cross books and love the mystery, but also the characters, particularly Grandma and kids.
Glad you’re doing this Kristin. Its great value to learn from the best in any field. Whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction writer like I am, James Patterson is great. I would also say the same for you. I like what you write and I like who you are.
I went to my first writer’s conference late last month and LOVED it! It was an exciting experience, and I’ve already signed up for one across the states that I’d like to go to and has several big-name urban fantasy and science fiction authors. I’m so excited to go. 🙂
I’d love to be able to take James Patterson’s class. It’s an excellent opportunity. If he offers it at a later time, I will take it then. I can’t right now financially even if I wanted to.
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I’m going to ditto Kristen’s comments about the value of workshops. I attended Dennis Lehane’s Writers in Paradise conference in January. I figured workshop instructor — the fabulous and successful Laura Lippman — would be so overwhelmed by my story and seduced by my prose that she would give up her chair and let me explain to everyone how it should be done. Didn’t quite work out that way.
I learned so much. The experience was life changing. No hyperbole. I discovered what I did well and what I needed to work on. Lots of head slapping. Biggest surprise — besides how approachable and helpful Dennis Lehane turned out to be — was the interaction with other writers. I wrote about the experience in my blog: http://188.8.131.52/~dennisa9/strutting-and-bowing/.
If I’m not allowed to provide a blog link in this post, Kristen, feel free to delete it. I won’t hurt me. I know how to be abused. I’ve been to a writer’s workshop.
LOL. I really don’t mind links in the comments so long as they are salient to the point. And OMG, Lehane is my HERO! #sojealous
Hi Kristen, Although I am not entering the contest, I did take the class last year and can say I enjoyed every minute of it. I have learnt some valuable lessons, put into practice some of James’ recommendations and I think my writing has improved as a result. (I am also keeping my fingers crossed I win your critique too!)
Not only have I committed to writing but we’re married and back from the honeymoon. Over the past year I had a goal of taking one class a month from the Romance Writers of America online courses. I took a class each month except November since I did NaNo (and won!). I just returned from a Margie Lawson Immersion class in Denver, and it was well worth the $2,000 I spent on class fee, airfare, and hotel. I have invested in as much time as money in my success of being an author. I’ve seen the James Patterson class pop up on Facebook multiple times and have considered taking it. Now I’m seriously considering. Thanks!
I wanted to take up golf–hired a golf pro before ever striking a ball. Saved me a lot of grief and weed whacking.
Now I need to finish a book and bring it to market. I wish I had started with a writing consult first. I care way more about getting this done than I ever did trying to breaking 90. Kristen is GODSEND! Get her book!
I use pros to help my Jujitsu too. Saves the pointless injuries for sure! And THANK YOU! ((HUGS))
I joined last week and I’m loving it! Even with three books out and a MA in Creative Writing, I’m finding that if I watch the videos with an open mind to learning something new or different, and do the homework, it’s well worth the money! 🙂
By the way, it’s just over 3 hours, not 22 hours, for $90. 🙂 From the sales page: “22 lessons totaling 3+ hours of video from James covering everything from starting your outline to getting published.”
I know. I need to fix it. I realized that this evening when I was washing dishes and doing another lesson and went. OMG! I totally mixed that up! *head desk* I got “lessons” and “hours” convoluted in my head. Thanks for reminding me.
Can you imagine 22 HOURS of lessons?! LOL! That would be awesome! But I’ve been super excited about all the new little tricks I’ve gotten just from the first 15 lessons, despite publishing for a few years. It’s great stuff no matter what. 🙂 Thanks, Kristen!
Yeah….*hangs head* I am a bit embarrassed about my typo, but technically if you do the WRITTEN exercises too, I probably hit the time about right 😀 .
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Kristen, I subscribed to your blog a while ago – maybe two years back. Since then, this has been the second post of yours that I have read. I absolutely love your flow. I hadn’t been posting much on my own blog, much less reading the work of others – sorry. Reading this made me feel ‘together’ again – like I am back in the writing community. I’m a copywriter but I have a personal blog that I have been neglecting terribly. Yesterday, I decided that I needed to wake-up because I’m always putting others things before my writing ambitions. I wrote my first post in about two months and now I see this (perfect timing). Thank you! Those James Patterson course ads on Facebook have been haunting my newsfeed for months. I didn’t know if taking the course would be the right fit for me. Now I’m definitely looking into enrolling. Thanks again. I look forward to reading more of your posts, regularly – and ofcourse writing my own.
Welcome back! It is an easy thing to do even when you are a pro. You get “mission creep” and I think women are probably worse at doing this. Kids, family, laundry just kind of takes over and we feel selfish for writing because we enjoy it too.
Exactly! Thank you
Been a super fan of James Patterson since….EVER! And thank you Kristen for letting authors know the best investment that they can make is into their writing career. And even if you don’t win the career changing opportunity of co-authoring a James Patterson novel, to learn craft from the master craft man is an immeasurable value that will pay career long dividends. Thanks Kristen for another great and informative blog, as always, YOU ROCK!
Kristen’s pursuit of excellence is contagious. I appreciate the way she brings a steady stream of quality ideas so the willing can spread their wings. Having trained with Kristen, I take her recommendations seriously. Buy her book, take her classes, and pay attention to what she’s doing.
When I first started writing 25 years ago the internet didn’t exist and therefore no-one expected free training, ecourse with sign-up deals, or free video tutorials. I spent real money (quite a lot of it) on a correspondence course. It was a total game changer and I still use the advice of my course tutor every day. Having said that, investing in yourself doesn’t always pay off. I’ve spent money since then on courses that haven’t been that useful, and some free training I’ve accessed online has been amazing. Mostly you get what you pay for, but not always. Good luck to everyone who’s entering the contest.
Kristen: I agree with investing in oneself. I would like to hire YOU as a consultant. I don’t especially want to be involved in the public forum. If you get this message, kindly let me know . Respectfully, Dan Kaplan Naples, Florida Dkaplan4@comcast.net
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This is the second time I’ve heard about James Patterson’s Master Class! It’s now officially being added to my must take classes on writing. As you’ve said, even if you don’t read his books, you can’t deny he has a wealth of knowledge and success in writing. I don’t tend to read Stephen King but found his book “On Writing” to be a must-read for any writer. Thank you for suggesting this class!
I signed up for JP’s Master Class about a year ago, after I got a contract with a small press publisher on book 1. It’s well worth the money, you own it for life and who can’t use a review every now and again? As for winning..meh, I’ve got about a gazillion to one chance. But that’s why I’m commenting here. You can help me solidify my book concept into a best selling submission anyway. LOL!
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I entered. Dying to see who makes the final 10 cut tomorrow.
Me too *bites nails*