For the second time, Patterson will pick a student from his MasterClass to be his co-author.

"There are a lot of people who have the talent, but haven’t been shown the door to walk through."James Patterson

James has been so impressed by the quality of students in his MasterClass that he wants to help you walk through the door. He’s done this once before. Last year, he picked one of his students, Kecia Bal, to become his co-author. Together, they wrote The Dolls. In June 2017, James will pick another student to co-author a book with someone who can become a bestselling thriller or mystery writer.

The Competition

The James Patterson Co-Author Competition is back as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any writer, published or not. It is only open to students in James’ MasterClass.

Each stage of the competition is designed to help you craft and pitch a novel. The submission period opens February 1, 2017 at 9am PST. Submissions close March 1, 2017 at 11:59 PST.

The Class

James teaches you how to create characters, write dialogue, and keep readers turning the page with 22 video lessons and exercises. He reveals his tricks of the trade and guides you through every part of the book-writing process. Resources in the class will help you craft your co-author submission.


While the ultimate prize is to become James Patterson’s co-author, MasterClass is also awarding cash prizes for the semifinalists and finalists.

10 Competition Semifinalists

Semifinalists will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize based on their book hook and sample chapter.

3 Competition Finalists

James will select 3 students out of the 10 semifinalists to submit outlines for their book ideas. Finalists will be awarded a $2,500 cash prize.

1 Winner

One student will earn the opportunity to co-author a book with James. In addition, MasterClass will award a $5,000 cash prize.

How To Enter

Come up with a great idea that you think could be the next best-selling mystery or thriller. Then submit a two-sentence hook and sample chapter for your story idea.

Your submission should have mass market appeal and resonate with James’ writing style. It should have a gripping hook. For example, think Rosemary’s Baby’s hook: a woman finds herself pregnant with the devil. Immediately, the reader thinks “this is going to be cool.” The book should also feature characters we care about. We either love them or hate them, but we’re not indifferent towards them. And finally, the story should be fast-paced with every chapter moving the plot and characters forward. Imagine your story unfolding scene by scene like a movie.

To enter, you will need to submit 2 things:

Two-sentence hook for your story (100 word maximum)

Write a two-sentence book hook for the idea you wrote about that grabs the reader’s attention and leaves them wanting more. James believes that one of the most important parts of a book is an excellent hook. In Honeymoon, the hook would be a woman bigamist engaged to two successful men turns out to be a black widow. When an FBI agent is put on her case, she begins to seduce him as well. In Zoo, all of a sudden animal attacks are popping up all over the world and there seems to be a connection. In your hook, answer the question: why won’t readers be able to put your book down?

Step 2: Sample chapter (1,000 word maximum)

Give us a taste of one scene from your story by writing one sample chapter. Think of your sample chapter as a single scene from a movie that turns on a movie projector in the reader’s mind. James is well-known for his fast-paced chapters. You too should keep it thrilling and snappy. Students of James’ class will have access to James’ sample chapter, Chapter 6 from Honeymoon.


  • February 1, 2017Submissions open at 9 am PST
  • March 1, 2017Submissions due by 11:59 pm PST
  • April 6, 201710 semifinalists announced
  • April 13, 20173 Finalists selected to write outlines
  • May 5, 2017First draft of finalist outlines due for James’ review
  • May 19, 2017Finalists’ final outlines due
  • May 31, 2017Winner notified
  • June 2017Winner announced

Submission Criteria

Your entry into this competition should be in English, original, written entirely by you, and crafted specifically for the purpose of entering this competition. Applications are restricted to students of the James Patterson Writing Class.

Visit Co-Author Writing Competition FAQs for more information.

Meet The Winners

"I think this is the beginning of a second writing life for me."Kecia Bal

Kecia is a journalist from Somerset, Pennsylvania. She has been writing stories since she was able to draw pictures and always dreamed of being a published author. Her book written with James will be coming out in Summer of 2017.

Kecia isn’t the only winner. Two other students got literary agents after becoming finalists.

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