Shawn Coyne

Wisdom from Mentors

By Shawn Coyne | 7 Comments

From www.storygrid.com, agents have mentors too.  And the great ones listen to the ones who’ve been in the foxhole longer than they have… It’s a Friday morning in the summer of 1996, around 10:15.

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How An Agent Figures Out Her Pitch to Publishers

By Shawn Coyne | 3 Comments

From www.storygrid.com…some things never change… It’s 1996.

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How Literary Agents Target Acquisitions Editors

By Shawn Coyne | 6 Comments

To follow up from the last post from www.storygrid.com, here is a description of how literary agents think about who to send a particular project at a particular publishing house… So a good agent understands how editors think…specifically, how they sort submissions.

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How Acquisitions Editors Think

By Shawn Coyne | 6 Comments

Here is an oldie but goodie from the www.storygrid.com archives.  There are many reasons the system is the way it is and you need to know just how difficult it is for acquisitions editors to balance their love of the art and the necessity of feeding the machine. Here is how editors think about and sort projects:

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Art + Commerce = Better Art

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

Here’s another post from www.storygrid.com about the relationship between an agent and her client.  And another reminder…Malcolm Gladwell has a course available from Masterclass.  I’m hearing great stuff about it! We’re deconstructing the invisible work behind media headlines like UNKNOWN WRITER GETS A MILLION DOLLARS.

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What Good Agents Know

By Shawn Coyne | 3 Comments

Let’s get back to my series about Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point from www.storygrid.com.  Once the magazine piece debuted in The New Yorker, it was smooth sailing from there on in, right?  Not exactly.  So a longform piece like Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point in the June 3, 1996 edition of The New Yorker is a slam dunk easy sell as a book project, right? It went from four thousand words in a magazine to seven figures worth of guaranteed book advance just based on its level of professionalism and readability.

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Getting in the Ring

By Shawn Coyne | 37 Comments

[We’re bringing this post back from December 23, 2011. With the launch of Steve’s new site and the launch of The War of Art Mini-Course it seemed time to revisit The War of Art’s backstory, as well as how Steve and Shawn starting working together, and the projects that followed.] At the end of the year 2000, I had it all figured out. I left my job as senior editor at Doubleday to start up a new kind of publishing house called Rugged Land Books. Rugged Land would publish a very small list of titles, twelve original books a year (one…

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Four Thousand Words for Seven Figures

By Shawn Coyne | 5 Comments

As I continue my series from www.storygrid.com in which I storygrid The Tipping Point, I’m pleased to report that the man himself, Malcolm Gladwell, is teaching a course at Master Class.  I’ll definitely be checking it out to see how his process compares to The Story Grid methodology.  My choice from the start of this series was to demonstrate how one can learn from a master without having access to the master.  So here’s more of my take as an obsessive fan piecing together this masterwork from afar. The title of this post is the kind of industry news headline…

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Storygridding 4,000 words of Big Idea Nonfiction

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

For fun, over at www.storygrid.com a while back, I storygridded Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal article from the June 3, 1996 edition of The New Yorker.  I tracked the narrative altitude in the work that I described in my post from February 2, 2018. The vertical axis moves from the “street” level perspective at the lowest elevation through the “city” vantage point up to the “national” level and then all the way to the highest “universal” level. Four specific lenses that he uses to progressively build dramatic tension.

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Narrative Altitude

By Shawn Coyne | 8 Comments

From www.storygrid.com, here is the next piece in my exploration of Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal work, The Tipping Point. For over a decade, Malcolm Gladwell understood the opportunity and potential of the tipping point idea. And by the time he arrived at The New Yorker in 1996, chances are he’d explored many of its intellectual trails—GRODZINS ’57; SCHELLING ’69, ’71, ’78; GRANOVETTER ’78, ’83; MORLEY ’84; CRANE ’89. If only in his own head, while waiting in line for take-out coffee at The Red Flame Diner on 44th Street, he’d cleared substantial tipping point terrain of his own. But his goal…

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