Definition of High Concept

While looking at agents and publishers, you might come across the term high-concept.

A high-concept novel has a plotline (and possibly thematic elements) that can be summed up in a single line. It’s going to have a broad appeal (read: mainstream or commercial) and will offer something unique.

So it’s a tricky interplay of immediately recognizable, familiar enough in terms of a specific, clear market, while also being unique enough to spark interest with a broad number of readers.

If you need help with your tagline (that tricky single sentence that pitches your book, high-concept or not), feel free to visit Writer’s Resource’s website for information on assistance with your tagline.


1 thought on “Definition of High Concept

  1. judith fein

    Hi.”HIgh concept” comes from Hollywood. Ideas for films are pitched by writers, producers, directors in one line. So, for example, you may say: “The film is Sex in the City meets Fifty Shades of Gray,” or “A man wakes up in the morning and finds that he has turned into a giant cockroach.” It’s reductive, silly, annoying, trite, imitative…but it is a shorthand that helps people visualize quickly what you are talking about. And then, if someone is interested, you are ready with more details of plot, character, etc. The same is now true for books. You give an elevator pitch, a quick summary of the book. And, hopefully, you hook your listener/reader, who wants to know more.



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