Marketing Your Novel, On Writing

High Concept, or How to Make Your Novel ‘Buzz-able’ (Part 2)

June 5, 2012

In yesterday’s post, we explored Buzz-ability (High Concept), one of the no-cost value-adds an author can build into her work to ensure it has the kind of wide appeal that will help sustain a writing career.

As noted in the previous post, High Concept novels have the following in common: 1) They offer the reader something unique, and, 2) They appeal to a wide audience.

Following are ten examples of High Concept novels from current or recent bestseller lists:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.

Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson – Alex Cross must stop an attack on Washington, D.C., while investigating the abduction of the President’s children.*

The Paris Wife by Paula McClain – Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, tells her story

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – A novel that reflects on what it is to be human, told from the family dog’s point of view

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith – A secret journal reveals the 16th president to have been a vampire hunter.

Middle School: Get Me Out of Here – A seventh-grader creates a new life by doing things he has never done before.

The Next Always by Nora Roberts – An architect woos his childhood crush while he and his family renovate a historic hotel.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Greg Kinney – Greg Heffley is trapped with his family during a blizzard.

Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins – Parker Welles works to regain the family fortune her father lost.

Escape by Barbara Delinsky – A married lawyer packs up her life and starts over in New Hampshire.

On your next trip to your local bookstore, venture to the bestseller rack. Check out the descriptions of the top-selling books. Ask yourself: What is unique about this author’s book? What makes it Buzz-able (the kind of book that might be recommended at the water cooler)?

Note the insights you gain – and apply them to your next work!

* Book summaries above are from USA Today’s list of best-selling books.

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