DON’T MISS OUT ON THE GIVEAWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST! And remember all orders of Paper Hearts made before November 15 from Malaprops will come with a special gift–more details below!
|You can win a journal with this cover!|
I wrote Paper Hearts for the writer I used to be. The questions I used to have plagued me when I was starting this career path. How do I get to the end? What’s the proper way to structure a novel–is there even a proper way? How do I make my book stand out from all the other ones on sub?
Now, fifteen years, eleven unpublished books, three New York Times bestsellers, one self published book, and countless hours working on craft and working with other professionals, I think I finally have the answers that I needed way back then.
Unfortunately, I can’t travel back in time.
But what I can do is try to help others. I’ve been compiling articles on the things I’ve learned about writing, publishing, and marketing for years, first informally on blog posts, then more collectively on Wattpad. After hitting 100000 reads, I realized that I should take Paper Hearts more seriously…and that I had not one book, but three.
Fully revised and expanded, the Paper Hearts series will feature three volumes, one each on writing, publishing, and marketing. Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice will be out on November 1, with the other two following in December and January.
Your enemy is the blank page. When it comes to writing, there’s no wrong way to get words on paper. But it’s not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won’t make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.
Practical Advice Meets Real Experience
With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:
- How to Develop Character, Plot, and World
- What Common Advice You Should Ignore
- What Advice Actually Helps
- How to Develop a Novel
- The Basics of Grammar, Style, and Tone
- Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
- How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
- How to Deal with Failure
- And much more!
BONUS! More than 25 “What to do if” scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a New York Times Bestselling author who’s written more than 2 million words of fiction.
Remember: if you pre-order the print copy from my local indie bookstore, Malaprops, you’ll also get a chapbook of the best writing advice from 12 beloved and bestselling YA authors included in your order for free!
What is “high concept?”
First, what high concept is not: It’s not “high.” This is the thing that throws people off the most. Most people think that “high concept” means something that’s very literary, artistic, and not commercial—and the exact opposite is true.
High concept is something that has immediate commercial appeal. Typically, the means
- You can sum up a high concept idea in a sentence or two.
- It has obvious appeal to the masses—it’s a concept that most people can get with just a sentence.
High concept is hugely important because it’s easy to sell. If you’re querying, a high concept pitch is arguably one of the best things you can have to make your query stand out. If you’re published, a high concept pitch is the hook you use to advertise your book, the way you describe it to hand sell it, the sentence you use on your swag. If you want to commercially sell your work, having a high concept pitch is one of the best things you can use. Examples of high concept include:
- A boarding school with wizards
- An arena where teens have to fight to the death
- A vampire that falls in love with a mortal
It’s obvious what books I’m talking about, isn’t it? High concept sells. If you can sum up your book in one simple phrase or sentence, one that has appeal to a lot of people, then you’re making your book very easy to sell. People tend to like the familiar, and they like the concepts they can easily grasp, the stories they know will appeal to them. Also, books sell best by word of mouth, and word of mouth works best when the speaker can easily sum up the book.
The quickest, easiest way for me to sell my debut book, Across the Universe, to a stranger is simply to describe it as “a murder mystery in space.” Five words. Not even a complete sentence. But those five words are a powerful selling point.
When summing up high concept, you’re looking to give the familiar, then give the twist. Everyone knows what a murder mystery is like, but the fact that it takes place in space gives it a twist. “A boarding school”—a familiar concept many people know and like. “With wizards”—a twist to the story. The typical reader can take the familiar they already know, see the twist that will flesh it into a whole story, and that makes them want to read it.
About the Author: Beth Revis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe trilogy, as well as The Body Electric, Paper Hearts, and the forthcoming A World Without You. She lives in the Appalachian mountains with her boys: one husband, one son, and two very large dogs.