Lesson time 07:16 min
Before publishing his first book, James was an executive at a top ad agency in New York. Find out what James learned from his time in advertising and how he used it to change the book marketing game.
Bizarrely, there is a Harvard case study on me, and I think one of things that the professors found interesting is that they could write about me the way they write about Coca Cola as a brand. I don't particularly think of myself as a brand, but they at least found that angle to be interesting. It's been written that I've changed publishing somewhat. I think what I changed was just common sense things. Like a lot of businesses, once it gets into a groove, new people come in and they don't change with the times. They just kind of keep doing what they've been doing. And in a lot of cases I just question everything. It's not necessarily that I want to change anything. [CELLO SOLO] There was always this thing you should just publish the one book every year and you publish it the same month and that became a model. And it worked for a publisher, Putnam, for a number of years, and it just became this little machine. And here was Robin Cook, and every April or whatever the month was he would publish the next novel. I said I don't really understand why that should be, and I remember going into the publisher one point I said, I want to do three novels this year, and it was like oh, I don't know about that. I said, Well, let me tell you the books. I gave him the idea for Beach House, which was a thriller set out in the Hamptons. And then I gave them an idea for a couple a book called Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, and when I went through that story the publisher actually cried when I was telling the story. And then afterward he said, OK, we want to do Beach House, but we don't want to do Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas because we don't think it's your brand. And I said, look not that I know everything about brands, but such as it is, here's what I think a brand is. A brand is a relationship between a product or in this case me and customers. It's just a relationship. I know that Crest toothpaste gets my teeth clear, or acceptably clean, or I think it does, and does a little something for my breath. So I have a relationship. I've been using it since I've been a kid, and I don't really want to think about toothpaste so much, and that's just fine. In the case of my books, I think the relationship that I have is I know that if James Patterson writes a book the pages are going to turn themselves. That's the relationship. That's the expectation. That's what I'm going to deliver. So that's my opinion about what a brand is, and the fact that I could write in different genres was kind of mind-blowing for a lot of publishers. Then the notion of oh, he's writing two books a year. Oh my god, he's writing four books a year. Oh my god, 10 books a year. If I stop writing 10 books a year at this point, a lot of people at the publishing house would have heart attacks. So we've gone from like, how can you do that? To please don't stop. [CELLO SOLO]...
James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, reveals his tricks of the trade. In his first online writing class, he guides you from the start to the finish of your book.
Salient points for me were "keep the story moving." Write each chapter as if it were the first. Dialogue must move the story forward. And most of all, outline, outline, outline. Finally, don't be afraid to break the rules.
great. very informative on the industry and how to craft your story
I love James's candor and humour. One of my main take-aways is the importance of a proper outline to guide the writing process. Normally I'd have a few scenes plotted and a general idea of where I was headed, but after trying an outline on a short story I can definitely see it's benefit.
Its really easy to listen and then comprehend what James Patterson is trying to get across. As a young writer I feel like my eyes are really opening.