What does it take to write a world-changing nonfiction book?

The most expansive, science-based instruction on writing a nonfiction book based on the Story Grid methodology.


You have a great idea for a book...

You know it will change people’s lives.

The difficulty is turning that idea into a book.

You’ve been thinking about this book idea for a long time. It’s been on your mind. You talk to people about it. You share it with people.

Maybe you’ve tried to start writing about it in a blog post or an article. Or maybe you’ve imagined yourself giving a killer TED Talk that breaks the Internet.

You know it needs to be a book, but you keep getting stuck.

You’ve read amazing books that have changed your life. You’ve also read books that were a waste of your time.

How do you craft a book in such a way that people will finish the book and tell their friends about it?

How do you get from your great idea to a finished book that will change people's lives?

You know it's time to get down to work, but the prospect of writing a whole book is daunting.

No, it's downright scary.

You know how to type. You know how to string words into sentences into paragraphs. But every time you start working on this book, or even thinking about working on this book, you get stuck.

You feel like you're staring at a 20,000-foot climb, and you don't even have the right boots on.

If you’re going to climb a mountain, you need equipment, training, and a guide. This is where Story Grid comes in.

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I got out of school, but I haven’t written anything. Story Grid is the chance to grab onto a process and a structure—and also a community of people who are doing the same thing.

— James Pier

Train with an expert who can show you the ropes.

Shawn Coyne is the creator and founder of Story Grid. He has worked in the publishing industry for 30 years, including 25 as an editor at Big Five publishing houses, an independent publisher, and a literary agent—both at a major Hollywood talent agency and at his own agency, Genre Management, Inc. His projects have grossed more than $150 million in North America alone.

Shawn Coyne

In early 2015, he published The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know, and later that year started the Story Grid Podcast with writer and book marketing expert, Tim Grahl.

Here is a partial list of authors whose works he has either acquired, edited, published or represented:

James Bamford, John Brenkus, James Lee Burke, Barbara Bush, Dick Butkus, Harlan Coben, Nellie Connally, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Ben Crenshaw, Catherine Crier, Brett Favre, David Feherty, John Feinstein, Tyler Florence, Jim Gant, Col. David H. Hackworth, Jamie Harrison, Mo Hayder, William Hjortsberg, Stephen Graham Jones, Jon Krakauer, David Leadbetter, Alan Lomax, David Mamet, Troon McAllister, Robert McKee, Matthew Modine, Bill Murray, Joe Namath, John J. Nance, Jack Olsen, Scott Patterson, Steven Pressfield, Matthew Quirk, Anita Raghavan, Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell, Jerry Rice, Giora Romm, Tim Rosaforte, William Safire, Dava Sobel, Michael Thomas, Nick Tosches, Ann Scott Tyson, Minette Walters, Betty White, Randy Wayne White, Steven White and Don Winslow.


Join Big Idea Nonfiction today!

$1297 or $127/mo

What does "Big Idea" mean?

A Big Idea book brings together the best elements of many types of nonfiction, from academic writing to “how-to” books to memoirs.

Getting people to think differently and embrace new ideas isn’t easy. But nothing worthwhile is easy.

Shawn’s Story Grid system for nonfiction can help you shape your ideas, prepare micro- and macro-scale plans, and then take the steps to complete your journey.

The breadth of Shawn’s knowledge and what he has studied is staggering, and he’s able to put it all together. . . . This is invaluable. It’s revolutionary.

Sally Driscoll

What you'll learn inside of Big Idea Nonfiction...


The Big Picture

Where do stories come from? What common traits to fiction and nonfiction stories share—and how do they differ? How do great stories help people survive and thrive in the world?


Story Spine

How can a strong story spine anchor the beginning, middle, and end of your book and keep readers emotionally involved?


Human Needs

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs provides a framework for understanding how different kinds, or genres, of stories work.


Understanding Genre

Each story type, or genre, sets up readers’ expectations. If you don’t understand your genre, you’ll never meet those expectations and readers will walk away confused and disappointed.


The Five Commandments of Storytelling

Every Big Idea book needs to abide by some storytelling essentials in order to grab and hold an audience.


Units of Story

Shawn shares his Russian doll theory of story structure.


Foolscap Global Story Grid

According to historian and novelist Norm Stahl, “God made a legal-sized piece of yellow foolscap paper just long enough to outline an entire project." That’s how Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, starts every book. You should too.


The Story Grid Spreadsheet

Shawn will introduce you to the scene-by-scene micro-analysis tool that is at the heart of his methodology.


How to Build Your Own Story Grid

Learn how to plan your readers’ experience on the micro and macro levels with a powerful visual tool.

What do other students think?

This seminar is for any writer at any level in their career.

I’m coming away with not only techniques, which is what I came looking for, but I’m actually having insights and breakthroughs. . . . The benefit of this workshop for my reader is that they’re going to be hooked into the idea that I’m writing about earlier and also be transformed by the reading of the book, rather than just coming away with information. . . . It’s also strangely and unexpectedly transforming me as a person as well!

— Darren Rowse, author, speaker, and founder of

Here's how this works:


Join the Big Idea Nonfiction Seminar by clicking here.


Get immediate access to the seminar so you can jump in and get started right away.


Go through the extensive 63 lessons, 20+ hours of training from Shawn Coyne.


Implement the ideas to write the best story you've ever created!


Join Big Idea Nonfiction today!

$1297 or $127/mo

Before [the seminar], I could see that things didn’t work, but I had absolutely no way of articulating why they didn’t work. Now if I’m working with a client and I need to articulate to them why something’s not working . . . I now have the language to do that.

Kelly Exeter, author and editor, Flying Solo online business community


A's for your Q's

How long do I have access to the seminar?

You have forever access that never expires. You'll be able to log in at any time to access the material and come back long into the future for a refresh.

What resources are included in the seminar?

There are 63 lessons and over 20 hours of training all professionally recorded. Along with the video training, we include multiple infographics Shawn created for the training, his full slide deck, and access to the Story Grid Masterwork Guide to The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell along with a copy of our book What's the Big Idea? Nonfiction Condensed.

What is your refund policy?

You have 30 days to review the material. If you feel like it is not a good fit for you, simply email [email protected] and let us know why and we will immediately issue a refund.

I'm a Guild member. How do I get my discount?

If you are a member of the Story Grid Guild, you get a 20% discount on all of our training. Simply log in to your account before checking out and the discount will automatically be applied.

Is this seminar a good fit for me?

This seminar is for anyone that wants to write a nonfiction book (or help others do the same). Shawn Coyne dives deep into how you can apply the Story Grid principles to writing your own world-changing book.

Are there subtitles?

Yes, the entire program has subtitles in the videos.


Join Big Idea Nonfiction today!

$1297 or $127/mo