Thursday, April 17, 2008

Impress Editors and Agents with your High Concept Pitch

Now that conference season is upon us, it's time to dust off your high concept pitches and wow the agents and editors at your appointments. But what exactly is a high concept pitch?

Simply put, a high concept pitch is a one or two sentence description of your book. At first glance, it may seem impossible to shrink your 100,000 word novel down to two sentences, but it can be done.

What makes your book unique? What will capture the editor's interest? There's your starting point. Next, use active and sensory language to make your pitch sizzle. Give the editor the smallest taste of your plot and characters and leave him wanting more. Now isn't the time to give away the farm. That's what a synopsis is for. A high concept pitch should inform and excite. A high concept pitch should be the bare essence of your story, the seed from which all plot points and characterizations grow. Leave the editor thinking, "Wow! That sounds unique! That will appeal to a large audience! I wonder what happens next?"

For a more detailed discussion of high concept pitches, see The Greenhouse on TWRP website. For now, here are some pitches for three well known romance novels. See if you can guess what they are and post your answers as a comment.

1. Recently reunited with her husband after World War II, an army nurse travels back in time to 18th century Scotland where she’s forced to marry a young and noble Scottish warrior.

2. To escape a marriage arranged by her father, a beautiful and spoiled young woman weds a condemned prisoner who later shows up as a bondslave on her father’s 18th century Caribbean estate.

3. A reluctant vampire king agrees to protect the half human daughter of a slain brother.

Helen Andrew
Cactus Rose
American Rose


Marianne Arkins said...

The first is Outlander, the last is the first JR Ward book (can't remember the name, but know it's on my keeper shelf). Don't know the second one, and am too lazy to Google it! LOL...

Helen said...

You're right, Marianne! Thanks for responding. The title of the J.R. Ward book is Dark Lover, also on my keeper shelf :). The second one is from the 70s, but is still in print today. That's all the hint I'll give for now...

Helen said...

It's been a few weeks, so here are the answers to my high concept pitches:

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

2. Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

3. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward.

All three are keepers, and good examples of the wide variety of romance novels available today. Good luck to all of you with your high concept pitches!