The Coaching Program that Takes Writers from Struggle to Success

Next Class Starts October 30, 2021

Special Offer Enrollment Ends October 18th or when the class fills up!


Payment Plan: Make 4 payments of $103 instead




Want to know a giant secret about writing that no one has ever told you before?


Here it is:  The difference between a struggling writer and a successful author often has little to do with talent or luck.


It's something else.  Something very, very big.


For the first time ever, that "something" has been distilled into a program that you can start using right away to build your own writing success story.


Welcome to Writer's Secret Sauce: The Recipe for Going Pro

What are people saying?

Watch what some Secret Saucers have to say about The Recipe for Going Pro:

We gave some professional, successful, published authors a sneak peek at The Recipe for Going Pro. Here's what they told us:

The Writer's Secret Sauce is a road map to becoming the cook, er, I mean the writer you've always wanted to be.


I wish I had this when I first began.


Great information about identifying YOUR audience. 


Great information on "hooking a reader" into a book. 


Awesome secret sauce tips for budding writers, such as understanding commercial hooks in your writing. 


These deep dives into honing your craft, developing communication skills, and learning to view yourself as a business partner with your editor are incredibly helpful. 


Author of 25+ Children's Books

The new writer’s course that Dani Alcorn and Laura Backes have cooked up is simply superb!


I would have LOVED to have a course like this when I was starting out as a writer.


In fact, established writers will find great tips and tricks for marketing, branding, and how to keep their career going in these special recipe lessons, too. Chock full of all of the ingredients that make a successful writing career, Dani and Laura really address some of the concerns that writers have such as, building success from the ground up, developing skills and the ever important (and often ignored), thinking like a business person.  


I HIGHLY recommend this course to all writers, regardless of level. This is one workshop that will give you the confidence you need to stay the path and succeed as a writer!


Award-winning children’s author and Children’s Book Insider Subscriber for 15+ years

This program pushes past a lot of the usual topics and into the real 201 and 301 of it all


encouraging writers to take a look at what they've learned from others along the way and (here's the secret sauce), filter it through their own best practices, proclivities, tastes, and strengths. It's exactly the kind of self-examination I encourage my own students to take on if they want to really get where they're going as creatives in the business of publishing.


New York Times bestselling coauthor of James Patterson’s Middle School series

Have you ever looked at a successful author and thought:

“Why isn't that me?”


Or, even worse, have you looked at that author and said to yourself,

“That will never be me, why even bother?”

Stop.  Right.  Now.

The writing career you deserve – the career you were meant to have – is right here, within your grasp.


You just need to master the one thing that makes all the difference.


You need your own Secret Sauce, a mix of habits, attitudes, actions, and mindset that the most successful authors on the planet have in abundance.


And now, you can have it too. Because, for the first time, someone will actually teach you how to create your personal Writer's Secret Sauce — from scratch!.

Introducing the coaching program that will change the trajectory of your writing career – and your life.​

It's the missing piece of writing success that no one's taught you.


Until now.

Writer's Secret Sauce: The Recipe for Going Pro​

is an all-new 12-week coaching program for aspiring writers combining video lessons and live weekly calls with personal attention from two renowned writing educators.


The program is the creation of Dani Alcorn (Writing Academy) & Laura Backes (Children's Book Insider/Writing Blueprints). They bring a combined four decades of serving the writing community to this project.

Dani Alcorn

Owner / COO Writing Academy

Dani Alcorn is the owner and Chief Operating Officer of Writing Academy, an online school and community for aspiring authors. 


She teaches genre-based fiction, screenwriting, and non-fiction workshops that empower students to understand the complete process: from idea, to writing, to publication, to marketing.


She also works one-on-one with students as a creative coach & editor and has helped dozens of clients edit and publish their manuscripts. 


Dani trained as a screenwriter at Northwestern University (graduating Summa Cum Laude and with departmental distinction). She is the author of three screenplays, a young adult novel, and Structure Your Screenplay: A Screenwriting Master Class (coming soon). 

Laura Backes

Founder Children's Book Insider / Writing Blueprints

Laura Backes is publisher of Children's Book Insider, The Children's Writing Monthly (founded in 1990), co-founder of, host of the weekly Kidlit Distancing Social webcast and co-creator of, featuring step-by-step courses about writing children's books.


She also wrote Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read (Random House), and was technical editor of Writing Children's Books for Dummies (Wiley).


In 2016 Laura co-founded the Picture Book Summit online writing conference.



We strongly believe that, by learning - and adopting - the habits, attitudes and mindsets of top authors, any writer can dramatically increase his or her chances of success.

Writer's Secret Sauce is the first program that identifies these intangibles, breaks them down and makes them accessible to every writer.

No matter where you are on your writing journey, developing your Secret Sauce will turbocharge your career. You'll break the habits and patterns that have been holding you back, and see the world from a new perch:

As a professional author, not a frustrated amateur.

It's a shift that will have a profound impact.



Over a six-week period of video lessons and live group coaching calls with Dani and Laura, here's what you'll accomplish:

Every Week You'll Get:

Video Lesson

Watch an info-packed video lesson introducing you to new secret sauce ingredients and techniques.

Group Coaching Call

Join Dani and Laura on a live, group coaching call every week to ask questions and refine your recipe for success.

Fillable Worksheets

Weekly worksheets walk you through applying secret sauce concepts to your own writing career.

  WEEK 1  

What is the Recipe for Going Pro?

Discover what separates frustrated amateurs from successful authors.

This video introduces the concept of "Secret Sauce" and lays the foundation for the lessons to follow.

Lesson Highlights

The Secret Sauce Ingredients

The essential ingredients for success fall into three main categories: mindset, attitude, and craft. Every successful author starts with these same essential ingredients, but the way they mix those ingredients is unique to them. Where all the elements intersect is the Secret Sauce. Successful authors spend most of their time at this intersection.

You are the CEO of your career

Success is an active pursuit, not a passive accident. You can make the decision to go out and acquire the skills that move you closer to success, or you can sit back and just hope it happens.

Types of Professional Authors

Professional authors fall into one of four categories: Part-Time, Career, Specialist, & Celebrity. No one category is inherently better than another. It’s not a hierarchy, there aren’t necessarily stages your career has to go through. The Mission-Driven author is a subtype that can apply to any category.

  WEEK 2  

Defining Success on Your Terms

Discover what separates frustrated amateurs from successful authors.

This video puts authors in control of what success means to them. Successful authors often struggle to feel successful because they're using someone else's definition of "success."

Lesson Highlights

Limiting Beliefs

This lesson busts limiting beliefs about the "quintessential writer's lifestyle" and success being exclusive to publishing with the "Big 4." We flip these limiting beliefs into realistic and actionable beliefs.

Defining Your Metrics of Success

Authors should define what success looks like for every project. Success looks different for everyone and the bars can grow and change as their career progresses.

Erroneous Archetypes

Writers who define themselves by an erroneous writer archetype run into problems. We bust these archetypes and break down how they limit your opportunities for success.

  WEEK 3  

Developing Your Hierarchy of Skills: The Foundation

Successful authors build their craft skills from the bottom up.

Authors with Secret Sauce approach learning their craft in a unique way. This lesson teaches you HOW to assess your skill gaps like a professional author and WHAT to do to address them.

Lesson Highlights

Assessing Skill Gaps

Each new project may require a slightly different set of skills, which is why it is important to assess your skill gaps before every project.

Building from the Bottom

Secret Sauce authors don't get sidetracked by the "sexy" parts of writing but put in the time to master the foundational skills.

  WEEK 4  

Developing Your Hierarchy of Skills: The Basics & Spice

Successful authors learn their craft skills proactively.

Once authors with Secret Sauce identify the gaps in their craft skills, they work to improve them in a targeted way that gives them the most bang for their buck.

Lesson Highlights

Mastering Craft

Secret Sauce authors systematically assess the basic skills needed for each project they undertake.

Vetting Experts

Writers with Secret Sauce ask the right questions to make sure they're learning from the right expert at the right time.


You should neither waste money on expensive opportunities you're not ready for OR waste money on less expensive opportunities that won't take you to the next level.

  WEEK 5  

Thinking Like a Business Person

No matter what career path you choose, you will be a business person.

Publishing is a business and that's OK!  Aspiring writers often shrink away from the business aspects of the industry but they needn't fear them.

Lesson Highlights

You Deserve to Get Paid

Making money from your art does NOT devalue it. In fact, it allows you to make more art.


However, there are times when it can be advantageous to work for free. We break down WHAT opportunities may be worth pursing and WHEN it's worth pursing them. 

Make Friends with "Good Enough"

You may find yourself trapped in the never-ending pursuit of "perfection."


We teach you how to make friends with "good enough" so you can move on to your next project.

Marketing is NOT Sleazy

Marketing is part of being a 21st-century author, but don't let this deter you from pursing your dreams of being an author.


Secret Sauce authors have learned to view marketing in a way that lets them feel good about connecting with readers.

Vital Topic!

The Secret Sauce Mindset Code

Successful authors approach their writing and business according to a specific set of attitudes, beliefs, and actions.


You'll learn the 10 Business Mindset Codes vital to your success as an author.

  WEEK 6  

What You Bring to the Table

Successful authors are NOT successful because they're perfect..

You are human. That means you're made up of a mix of positive and negative characteristics. Learning how to align your skills with your goals and keep your negative traits at bay is how you achieve success.

Lesson Highlights


Secret Sauce authors make choices that align with who they are as a person when working on their manuscripts and setting up their businesses. This leads to a career that feels like fun and not work

Introverts vs. Extroverts

It doesn't matter if you're an introvert or an extrovert, there's a way for you to connect authentically with your readers

Resilience & Persistence

How you respond to events, both positive and negative, is vital to your success. This involves both internal attitudes and external actions.

  WEEK 7  

Ask Us Anything

Congratulations, you're a secret sauce author!

Put everything you've learned over the past six weeks together and gather your questions for an extended Ask Us Anything session.


Extended Coaching Call

Dani and Laura will be open to any questions you have about any of the material they've covered over the past six weeks.


As long as you've got questions, they'll have answers :-)

  WEEKS 8-12  

Accountability Groups

Commit to putting what you've learned into practice.

You'll be broken into small groups of Secret Saucers (matched by interest, experience, and goals), and given a custom curriculum to jump-start your accountability group.


Accountability Group

An accountability group is different than a critique group. Rather than discussing the actual work you produce, you instead focus on supporting each other through the process of producing it.


We've even put together a custom curriculum of discussion topics and goal-setting exercises to help you get started!

Free Trial of Inked Voices

Inked Voices is a platform built for online writers critique groups. It's a place for writers who want a community of support and learning while sweating in the trenches of drafting, revising, and rewriting.


The founder, Brooke McIntyre, is a special friend of Writer's Secret Sauce and she works diligently to help writers find or create the critique group that's the best fit for them.


Time to Over Deliver!

Surprise! The Recipe for Going Pro doesn't just end after the 12 weeks are up.


You'll apply the Secret Sauce Principles you learn to every step of your career going forward and we'll be there to set you up for a lifetime of success.

Here's everything you get after class is over:

Lifetime Access to Secret Sauce Discussion Group

You'll have lifetime access to ALL the course materials (videos, worksheets, coaching session replays, etc.), including a special discussion board for Secret Sauce alums to connect with one another, ask questions, and provide support. 

Access to ALL Future Coaching Replays

Your learning will never end as long as you're a part of the Secret Sauce community. Through the Alumni portal, you'll have access to every coaching replay for all future cohorts of The Recipe for Going Pro!


Dani and Laura are constantly finding new resources to share with the Secret Saucers, so you'll always be up to date with the lastest info.


Become the Successful Author You Were Meant to Be.

Reserve your spot in The Recipe for Going Pro.

Class Starts October 30

This coaching program will take your writing career from struggle to success.



100% Privacy. We Will Never Spam You!

Is this Coaching Program Right for You?

We hope that by now you've seen the tremendous benefit The Recipe for Going Pro has to offer writers at all levels. But if you're still deciding whether you're ready...


  • Know they deserve more

  • Are willing to honestly assess their current situation

  • Will make necessary changes - no matter how difficult

  • Will invest in themselves & their careers

  • Are ready to move past self-doubt & fear to break the habits, attitudes, and mindsets that are holding them back


  • Are already world-famous bestselling authors :-)

  • Aren't all that serious about their writing

  • Don't believe they are good enough - and are unwilling to challenge that attitude

Money Back Guarantee

We're confident you're going to LOVE The Recipe for Going Pro. But, if you don't, you can cancel your membership any time before the first coaching call and get a full refund.

Dani Alcorn

Head Chef, Writer's Secret Sauce

Laura Backes

Head Chef, Writer's Secret Sauce


Here are answers to some commonly asked questions!

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