The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise That Sells — Dec.13 Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Critique

The idea’s the thing. If you build your story around a unique and compelling idea, your odds of selling it increase dramatically. Often, a perfectly good project will go unsold because the premise on which it is based is too predictable, commonplace, or over-published. Whether you’re writing a novel or a short story, a screenplay or a memoir, you need to find a way to set your story apart from the competition — and the competition is tougher than ever in today’s marketplace.

But in this one-of-a-kind boot camp, you will learn the ins and outs of high-concept, as literary agent, author, and content strategist Paula Munier reveals how you can transform your story idea from “same old same old” to “high-concept hit.” It’s all part of the all-new Agent One-on-One Boot Camp called “The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise That Sells” Boot Camp (with a limited number of seats!). It starts at the end of the day, Dec. 13, 2013. More details below. Don’t forget that at least 4 literary agents have signed clients after reading their work as part of a WD webinar or boot camp.


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  • What high-concept really means.
  • The secrets behind today’s high-concept bestsellers.
  • Brainstorming techniques designed to produce unique story ideas.
  • Specific storytelling tools to refine your story ideas.
  • What a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is and why you need one.
  • How to hone your USP into a compelling high-concept logline to hook agents, editors, and readers.
  • The publishing industry’s clamor for “the same but different” — and how you can capitalize on it.
  • Writing the all-important set-up scene, which outlines your high-concept premise.
  • More tricks and tips to help you fulfill the promise of your high-concept idea — from Page 1 to The End.


After the webinar, you can submit your set-up scene — up to 2000 words! — for review by Paula or one of her sister agents from Talcott Notch Literary. They’ll provide feedback on your story idea, and help you determine if it’s strong and compelling enough to attract an audience. They’ll also offer suggestions on your set-up scene that will help you dramatize your high-concept premise to best advantage.

Sign up for the Agent One-on-One Boot Camp here.

Here’s how it works:

On Dec. 13, you will gain access to a special 60-minute online tutorial presented by literary agent Paula Munier. This tutorial will provide guidance on creating a high-concept novel that’s founded on an excellent and engaging premise.

After listening to the presentation, attendees will spend the next two days revising materials as necessary. On Sunday, Dec. 15, you’ll have one day in which to log onto the blackboard and ask your assigned agent critiquer questions related to revising your materials. The agents will be available from 1-3 p.m. (EST). No later than Monday, Dec. 16, you will submit your work for critique. This writing sample can be any scene from your novel — up to 2,000 words in length.

The agents will spend up to 15 days reviewing all assigned pages, than provide feedback on the pages and offer any suggestions to help you improve upon them. The agents reserve the right to request more materials if they feel a strong connection to the work and want to read more.


Friday, Dec. 13th: Online Tutorial

Sunday, Dec. 15th: Agent Blackboard Q&A 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EST)

Monday, Dec. 16th: Submit work for critique

Tuesday, Dec. 31st: Agent Critiques Due

Only registered students can access the blackboards. You’ll also be able to ask questions of your fellow students. Feel free to share your work and gain support from your peers. Please note that any one of the agents may ask for additional pages if the initial submission shows serious promise.

In addition to feedback from agents, attendees will also receive:

— Download of “Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Literary Agent,” an on-demand webinar by Chuck Sambuchino

— 1-year subscription to the literary agent database

Sign up for the Agent One-on-One Boot Camp here.

About the Agents:

Senior Literary Agent and Content Strategist at Talcott Notch Literary Services, Paula Munier boasts broad experience creating and marketing exceptional content in all formats across all markets for such media giants as Disney, Gannett, Greenspun Media Group, and Quayside. Her specialties include mystery/thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, middle grade, YA, New Adult, SF/fantasy, memoir, and nonfiction. Paula is very involved with the mystery community, having served four terms as President of the New England chapter of Mystery Writers of America as well as on the MWA board. (She’s currently VP of that organization.) She’s also served as both co-chair and Agents and Editors chair on the New England Crime Bake committee for seven years and counting.

Gina Panettieri is President of Talcott Notch Literary Services, and has worked as an agent for more than 20 years. She currently represents approximately 45 clients and works in both fiction and nonfiction, including parenting, business and career, memoir, health, finance, relationship advice, history, cookbooks and popular science. Some of her clients include Nancy Holzner, author of the new Deadtown urban fantasy series from Berkley/Ace Science Fiction which debuted Christmas 2009, Annabella Bloom, author of the new Wild and Wanton edition romance hybrid classics Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights (Adams Media 2010), Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of the bestselling and multi-award winning adoption book, The Connected Child (McGraw-Hill), and Ron Franscell, author of the ForeWord Magazine True Crime Book of the Year, Fall (published in paperback by St. Martin’s Press as The Darkest Night) as well as Delivered from Evil (Fair Winds Press, 2011).


Sign up for the Agent One-on-One Boot Camp here.

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