Three Story Method Editor Certification

“Wouldn’t a little extra money be nice right now?”

You’ve probably been asking yourself this question a lot over the last year. Seems like it’s getting harder to stay afloat, let alone get ahead.

Or, maybe your personal finances are sound, but your books feel like a black hole of investing—money in, nothing in return.

Working with clients is a great way to close the gap while helping others, but how do you even start getting clients?

You’re an author. And an author who can also edit? That’s a special breed in high demand.


The Three Story Method Editor Certification Program

Save time and money on your editing costs by learning how to use Three Story Method supercharged with the Story Rubric to transform your rough draft into a masterful story.

Gain financial stability by supplementing your current income, or by learning how to offer author services without a website, social media, a virtual assistant, or paid advertising.

Eliminate the stress of finding new clients by leveraging J. Thorn’s existing audience and industry connections.

Enjoy learning a new skill with a cohort of like-minded and supportive individuals, while getting individualized guidance from J. Thorn. Serve and connect more deeply with the TASM family.

Just For You

For now, the founding class of the Three Story Method editor certification will be offered to TASM members only. Only if there isn’t enough interest from TASM members, will I then make the offer available to those outside of our family.

$2,999 (one-time)

If you think you have no plans to start working with clients, you can justify this expense at the same price as a J. Thorn Story Diagnostic. Once you’re certified, you’ll benefit from that knowledge for every book you write, for the rest of your life.

If you are planning on working with clients, you should easily earn back your initial investment after 1-3 clients, depending on the services you decide to offer and what you charge.

Here are some comparable programs:

UC Berkley Courses

This Professional Sequence in Editing course bundle requires 4 prerequisite courses, totaling an additional $3,400, plus cost of textbooks, which brings the total to almost $7,000.

Story Grid Certification

This certification program costs $10,000 plus travel expenses for a week in Nashville. Story Grid requires annual re-certification to remain a certified editor.

Author Accelerator

This book coaching certification program costs $3,250 ($1,800 for fiction and $1,800 for non-fiction if purchased separately). Upon certification, there is an annual $600 mandatory licensing fee. Training is offered via a self-paced online course (3-5 months long), followed by three practicums (1-3 months long, each) that must be completed before applying for certification.

Your Three Story Method Certification Includes:

  • Several days of small group and individualized training sessions led by J. Thorn.
  • A customized and exclusive certification workbook.
  • A dedicated editor profile on the Three Story Method Editing Agency page (a page to be added to TheAuthorLife.com).
  • Free attendance at all future editor training sessions, for life.
  • A 30-minute, one-on-one, follow-up Zoom call with J. to discuss the next steps specific to you.
  • Access to the monthly “certified editor only” Zoom calls with J.
  • One year of free TASM membership (for editors who have not been in the Platinum mastermind).
  • Access to a private channel in the TASM Slack group just for certified editors.
  • Opportunity to work with current TASM members who will receive a 10% discount on all Three Story Method editing services.
  • Unlimited guest-posting opportunities on TheAuthorLife.com with a CTA linking to your editing profile on the agency page.
  • Highly-targeted web traffic to the agency page from the backmatter of THREE STORY METHOD, all traffic from TheAuthorLife.com, and some special partnerships with companies such as Kobo Writing Life and Author Marketing Club.
  • Opportunity to collaborate with J. Thorn on a “Three Story Method Masterwork” title in your specialized genre. You earn 80% of net profit while getting your masterwork featured on the agency page.
  • An official "Three Story Method Certified Editor" badge for you website and social media profiles.

Benefits To Your Clients

  • Free digital copy of THREE STORY METHOD.
  • Free one-year TASM membership.

NOT Part Of Your Certification

  • No revenue share on your client work – you keep 100% of whatever you charge the client.
  • No licensing fees, ever.
  • No recertification requirement, ever.

Why Three Story Method From J. Thorn

According to Joanna Penn’s most recent listener survey on The Creative Penn, only 19% of authors offer author services, which means this market is underserved and presents unlimited opportunity. I’m one of those 19%, and I can steer you around all of the obstacles I’ve encountered after earning my Story Grid certification in 2017.

THREE STORY METHOD is my most influential book with almost 200 Amazon ratings and a 4.5 star average. In other words, authors are purchasing this book and finding it helpful. Ryan at Plottr asked me to contribute a Three Story Method template to his software, based on requests from their users.

I will be marketing and promoting the Three Story Method Editing Agency as a “boutique” option, specifically targeting authors who aren’t on the “rapid release” hamster wheel, or are happy to publish a book a year while working the day job. Our agency will be for writers who want to take their time, improve their craft, and do so in a comfortable and supportive environment. Inviting clients into the TASM family (for free for the first year) is unique and valuable, and not something that other editors or agencies can offer—and this is at no cost to you, the certified editor.

I Can Help You Specialize

"Riches In The Niches"

Find your unique talent stack or angle when it comes to author services. Create an opportunity for clients that they can’t get anywhere else. Here are a few instances where I’ve helped folks find their unique value proposition:

Rachael Herron

“90 Days to Done Masterclass”

When Rachael came to me, burned out and overwhelmed with trying to pay her bills on fiction alone, I helped her develop her “90 Days to Done Masterclass,” which has allowed her to plan a permanent move to New Zealand!

Jeff Elkins

“The Dialogue Doctor”

When Jeff told me he felt financially stuck, but wasn’t ready to quit his day job, I helped him design and launch “The Dialogue Doctor.”

John Rindfleisch IX


When working with J.P. this past summer, he talked about his love for science and writing, and so I helped him create a “science fact-checking service” for post-apocalyptic and dystopian authors. He had his first client before he even had a name for the service or knew what he was going to offer.

The When, Where, & How

When: Fall of 2021, exact date TBD and dependent on facility availability.

Where: The certification will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, tentatively at the Gries Center, which is where the last Essential Gathering was held. If I can figure out how to overcome the technical hurdles of running the certification in person and virtually at the same time, I’ll consider virtual attendance.

How: In real life, possibly with a virtual option and video replays. However, the certification program is more than a long series of lectures. Most of the training will require discussion partners and small group work.

Agenda Overview (Rough Draft)

  • A Deep Dive into Three Story Method

  • Using Three Story Method with Clients

  • How to Teach…Clients

  • “NoVAn” Client Services

  • Peer to Peer Feedback and Practice

  • The Three Story Method Editor’s Mission Statement

  • Scene Analysis – The Worksheet
  • The Global Story – The Worksheet


Should I jump on this opportunity now, or wait to do it later?

This is the only time I’ll offer the certification at $2,999. Another class or session will be dependent on the success of this first one, so I can’t guarantee that there will even be another. If you are at all considering this certification, take advantage of the founder pricing and become part of the first class.

What if I have no plans of ever becoming an editor?

When I attended Story Grid certification in 2017, I had ZERO interest in doing client work. I went to learn from Shawn so I could write better stories. Four years later, I have earned back the cost of that certification twentyfold.

But even if you’re convinced that you’ll never offer client services, consider the other ways you might use your certification:

// Apply the principles on your manuscripts and improve your craft.
// With an accountability partner as a shared language.
// In a critique group to standardize feedback so that the process is not laden with emotion, jealousy, or false praise.
// For creating and hosting author presentations or workshops.
// For teaching kids how to tell stories.
// As a common language in collaborations or on writer retreats.


Am I required to take on clients? If so, how many?

Absolutely not. You don’t ever have to take on a single client. And because you could accept clients without a website, social media, a virtual assistant, or paid advertising, you can change your mind at any time.

Because you’ll get queries of interest from prospective clients, you can decide which projects you want to do.


Can I attend the certification training virtually?

I’m honestly not sure yet. There is a layer of complexity involved with combining a real event and virtual access. However, I recognize that not everyone will be able to come to Cleveland, so I’m still thinking through options.

Will you help me get clients?

Yes. Some of the initial Story Grid editors misinterpreted what Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl were offering when it came to referrals. I will make the process crystal clear:

I will no longer publicly accept clients (I might do an occasional job through a word-of-mouth referral). That means the entire sales funnel, for everything I’ve built since 2017, will be aimed at the agency page, with your editor profile prominently displayed on it.

However, I cannot make any guarantees when it comes to getting clients. Some months, I receive a dozen queries, and other months, I don’t get any. It is the nature of the business, and I want to be completely transparent in telling you that I have no control over the frequency or number of referrals you will get from my pipeline.


Is it painful to work with new or sensitive writers?

Short answer, yes. It can sometimes be challenging to work with new writers. “Sensitive writers” is really an oxymoron.

However, I’ll teach you tactics for delivering honest feedback in a supportive way, as I’ve spent my entire adult life developing that skill. No writer is as challenging or sensitive as a 13-year-old kid seeking feedback on a short story—the kind of “client” who I routinely helped as an English teacher. I promise you, I have ways of being direct without being dishonest.


Join Me On Zoom For The Q & A Session

Please join me for an informal question-and-answer session. If you cannot attend live, you can send me your questions and I’ll answer them in the session, which will be recorded.

Express Your Interest

If you are interested in the certification, please complete the survey. This is NOT a commitment on your part, so please consider taking the survey even if you’re not entirely sure this is right for you. Your responses will help me with programming logistics and desired outcomes for attendees.