Shawn Coyne

Glove Before Stick

By Shawn Coyne | 25 Comments

From the archives, via September 16, 2011. Fifteen years ago, I worked at St. Martin’s Press. It was (and still is) one of the big six publishing players. If ever there is a sitcom about book publishing, it should be set in the 1990s at St. Martin’s Press. What a cast of characters… Anyway, the head of the company was a man named Thomas McCormack, a real autocrat with more than a few eccentricities. Every day, Tom would order a tuna fish sandwich and a small cup of Vanilla ice cream from the ancient delicatessen across the street (http://www.eisenbergsnyc.com/). He…

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Art and Polarity

By Shawn Coyne | 45 Comments

From the archives, via June 20, 2012. The other day I overhead this conversation: Man #1: “I ran into Frank Smith (not his real name) at the beach yesterday…” Man #2: “Isn’t that the guy who cheated on his wife, got a DWI, and said all of those nasty things about Jill’s daughter in law?” Man #1: “…Well…yes…but I try not to judge.” I run into this “I don’t judge” stuff a lot and it infuriates me on many levels. But as this is a blog about what it takes to create art, I’ll just address why this “moral position”…

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Cheat Sheet

By Shawn Coyne | 37 Comments

(From the archives: This one is brought to you straight from December 18, 2015) Not that long ago I asked an acquaintance to cut an hour out of his day so that I could “run something by him.” It’s important to point out that this acquaintance had a laundry list of accomplishments parallel to my own ambitions. He was a bestselling writer, a bestselling publisher, and a world-renowned speaker paid big bucks for the very hour I asked of him. He is someone any of us would put in our top five of inwardly powerful people who’d figured out the…

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George Peper, Bill Murray and Broderick Crawford

By Shawn Coyne | 16 Comments

[This is another one from the archives, this time from January 6, 2012. A classic story.] For quite a while now (almost two years), Steve Pressfield and I have been tossing drafts of one of his manuscripts back and forth.  It’s just about ready to share. I think we’re on draft nine or ten, not sure. I bet Steve knows how many we’ve burned through, but he doesn’t bitch about it. He’s a pro. Anyway, in a few months we’ll have a lot more to say about that book. For now I only bring it up because the concept of…

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Stories Are About Change

By Shawn Coyne | 25 Comments

(Today’s post is pulled from the archives, from August 9, 2013, just about this time five years ago.) In his wonderful book The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves, psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz tells the story of Marissa Panigrosso, who worked on the 98th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. She recalled that when the first plane hit the North Tower on September 11, 2001, a wave of hot air came through her glass windows as intense as opening a pizza oven.

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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 | 5 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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