Cover Images


Book Description

Do you have an idea that’s keeping you up at night or getting you up way too early in the morning?

Your idea won’t let go, and you’re starting to think it might help people understand the world better or solve a problem, so you want to share it. Somehow, it’s not enough to tell your partner or the folks at the coffee shop.

You’ve accepted the awful truth: You need to write a book—maybe what’s known as a “Big Idea” book.

The long journey from big idea to Big Idea book is a scary proposition, especially if it’s your first time. Having a couple of friends along riding shotgun will make it easier.

In What’s the Big Idea? Story Grid editors Leslie Watts and Shelley Sperry provide the map and compass you need to say yes to your writing adventure.

Inside, you’ll find a crash course explaining how to know what kind of nonfiction you’re writing. You’ll discover which scenes, characters, and other elements you must include. And you’ll learn to shape a compelling beginning, middle, and end that will enlighten your readers with a revelation they weren’t expecting.

Now pack a notebook and a snack, and take the first step . . . 

Author Photos


Author Bios

Leslie Watts is a Story Grid Certified Editor, writer, and podcaster based in Austin, Texas. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember—from her sixth-grade magazine about cats to writing practice while drafting opinions for an appellate court judge. As an editor, Leslie helps fiction and nonfiction clients write epic stories that matter. She believes writers become better storytellers through study and practice and that editors owe a duty of care to help writers with specific and supportive guidance. You can find her online at

Shelley Sperry is an editor, writer, and researcher based in Alexandria, Virginia. She used to work at National Geographic, so she thinks every book is better if it has a cool map, a dramatic landscape, or a lot of penguins. As a writer and researcher, Shelley works with nonprofit and business clients on environmental, labor, and education topics. As an editor, she specializes in nonfiction, helping authors tell true stories about the world. She agrees with Barbara Kingsolver, that “revision is where fine art begins.” You can find her online at