Chapter 17 of 22 from James Patterson

Getting Published


Author of 76 best-sellers and holder of the Guinness World Record for the first person to sell over 1 million eBooks, James knows a thing or two about getting published. In this lesson he shares what he's learned.

Topics include: Publishing The Thomas Berryman Number • Find the right agent • Send query letters • Don’t give up • Enjoy the victories

Author of 76 best-sellers and holder of the Guinness World Record for the first person to sell over 1 million eBooks, James knows a thing or two about getting published. In this lesson he shares what he's learned.

Topics include: Publishing The Thomas Berryman Number • Find the right agent • Send query letters • Don’t give up • Enjoy the victories

James Patterson

James Patterson Teaches Writing

James teaches you how to create characters, write dialogue, and keep readers turning the page.

Learn More


Set out to write a best-selling book

James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, 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.

22 lessons totaling 3+ hours of video from James covering everything from starting your outline to getting published.

Each video lesson is paired with notes, reading materials, and assignments to make sure you get the most out of your class.

Submit your rough drafts and assignments for feedback from other students taking the class (and possibly James himself!).


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Submitting one's work for critique by someone is inevitable if the goal is to become published. James's opening words are very encouraging.

I thoroughly enjoyed the class. The two lessons on outlining were more than worth the price of admission.

An amazing, eye opening, funny, honest and genuine look into writing today. From the perspective of a great writer. Thank you for the experience!!

Thank you James Patterson for sharing your gifts. What an epic series! I learned not to give up or given in to my discouragement. So much of this process is about the daily tasks, the minutia. I am a writer, I'm ready to be a paid writer.



Have a high school classmate, Green Bret Steve Yedniak "HARD TO FORGET." Has published his own books.

Dee D.

I have learned a great deal so far from Mr. Patterson. Just wanted to know if anyone here have any thoughts on self publishing whether it be on Amazon, Book Baby or with any other self publishing company. Have anyone here have done it and what's your success. Thanks.

Shayne O.

Hello, I have written a 1 page letter to Mr John Publisher introducing him to my book. Basically a very short tag line, a condensed raw idea, my target audience, other books with a similar name or in a similar genre, a blurb on my book and how it closely relates to a current well known book now movie with a similar theme, thank yous and salutations. I have included a separately titled half page biography that would need to be fine tuned drastically for a book bio. I have looked up the publishing houses for other books in a similar genre. I have also started an online course to assist me with setting up a website and understanding how to generate traffic and business on one`s own web page. I did enjoy this lesson very much. Thank you James.

Margot B.

Fourteen years ago a flood of ideas came forth from my mind. The ideas came so fast and furiously and, at odd hours, that I abandoned the keyboard and took to recording them. After two months, the deluge stopped and I set out to transcribe the recordings. I ended up with over 300 pages of repetitive soapbox sermons, inspired insights on human potential and criticism of the reductionistic ideas that so many colleagues swear by. It took me twelve years to figure out how to put it all together and finally I was ready to seek a publisher. I went on and compiled a list of the publishers who published books in my genre--spiritual approaches to psychology. Every submission took an entire day's work. My publisher of preference never responded to my query. Another publisher sent me a one-line email with not even so much as a greeting, "You realize you'll have to do all your own marketing." I received an apologetic email from the third publisher ten days after sending in my query. "We apologize for taking so long to respond to your query. We will be presenting your query at our upcoming monthly meeting next Monday and will reply shortly." Well, that was promising, but I didn't hold my breath. The following Monday, I received a contract! The publisher didn't even ask to read a sample chapter! For the next three days, I was in a state of euphoria. I was, as James described, floating above the ground. This was the most exciting news of my life so far. The book came out a year later and is still selling quite well. Please read my response to Dennis Fleming on book marketing below. We work hard, we owe it to ourselves to persevere with our writing, publishing and, marketing our work.

Rolla D.

Persistence - - don't take rejections personally - go to conferences on how to publish. All good, sound pieces of advice. Then in the more bleak moments of despair, I listen to these talks, read the comments - all meaningful . Periodically at the library I must admit I go to the shelf and find 'where my book would be.' Then I go back and rewrite.

Miles T.

I think the best solution today is hybrid publishing. First, you self-publish your work online, and if your book becomes popular, you contact a publishing house to make your book sell further. Maybe they might find your book online and ask you to let them publish it.

Jeremy A.

I know the "six inches off the sidewalk" feeling. When somebody who was neither family nor friend bought one of my novels, it made my day.

Yazz B.

Some great tips, not only from James but also from lots of you writers out there. Thank you so much for all your insights. Now i realize that hard work and persistence does not stop at writing the novel.

Kathleen B.

I'm just finished my book and have loved this class. I've been drafting a query letter and it has taken many faces in the process. I have honed it down to hopefully be a hook that might catch the eye of an agent. I would love feedback on such to get your ideas. Here it is - In Re-Souled, Jasper Dooley deserved to die; had to die. His death would free his demented soul to reconnect with a new body wreaking havoc for yet another lifetime, but on a grander scale. All his soul had to do was overcome the individual’s free will, the unwanted meddling of a gifted psychic, and Ray. Ray had experienced many lives before. And Ray, too, had an agenda and wanted his next life to be special. It would have been; if only Jasper Dooley did not have to die. Thanks


Can you imagine getting a letter from James Patterson and NOT writing him back?!!! Unbelievable.


I've been through the pain of trying to get an agent, trying to get a publisher, trying to get a good editor, so I know what you're going through, and the best thing I can tell you is one word, which is "persistence." And just be prepared and don't take it personally. My first book turned down by 31 publishers. You're going to get a lot of rejection here, and a lot of it may have nothing to do with your book. [CELLO SOLO] The first novel that I wrote was The Thomas Berryman Number, and I sent it out to a few agents and publishers myself. I got back some rejections, form notices, half-page whatever. A couple of publishers, one publisher, William Morris actually, held it for quite awhile. And I'm like, oh my god, oh my god, William Morris is going to publish it. Then they rejected it. And at that point I just happened to read a little piece in The New York Times Book Review about an agent who was taking on young writers. So I sent it over to that agent and like two days later I get a phone call, and I'm like, I can't believe this agent's turned it down that quickly and the agent actually said, no, no. I want to handle you. And this may happen to you. The agent said, "This is a terrific book. We're going to sell it. You've done a great job. But there are some changes that should be made." And he said, "I have an editor who I work with sometimes who's really good at working with young writers, Jay Acton, and let me send it over to Jay and see if Jay wants to work with you." OK, so I go over and meet Jay Acton. A nice guy, a smart guy. He has some thoughts. I go back and rewrite for a month or so. We submit it back to Jay. Jay rejects it. I'm heartbroken. The agent says, "Don't worry. This book is in great shape now. We're going to sell it." They got like four offers within the week for The Thomas Berryman Number. Then I went in and this actually was so much fun. Little, Brown wanted it the most. In those days Little, Brown was still in Boston, and I went up on Beacon Hill and went to their offices. And I'm sitting in this room filled with all the books they've published in there's Catcher in the Rye, and there's Herman Wouk, Youngblood Hawke, and all this stuff. And the fire's burning in a fireplace. It's real old-time stuff. And it was the best. I mean I'll never forget being in that office and thinking, oh my god, they're going to publish my damn book. [CELLO SOLO] You need to reach out. You need to reach out to mentors. Just trying to get some contacts. Contacts are really important. Introductions are important. If you can get introduced to an editor or publishing executive or an agent somehow, or any kind of an introduction, it helps. A former professor, a writing teacher, writer friends with published books, media executives, lawyers in the space. Those are all useful in terms of you're j...