Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Million Dollar Idea

I've written over a hundred short stories, and twenty-eight novels.

Like most writers, I tend to think my work is pretty good. It sells well, and I get a lot of compliments from peers and fans. I think I can tell a good story, and I liberally use humor, violence, action, conflict, and sex.

That said, out of over two million words written, I've only had a few of what I call "million dollar ideas."

I remember reading somewhere, or hearing in in some writing class, that every book's premise should be able to be distilled down to one sentence. A punchy, memorable sentence that makes readers instantly think: I gotta read that.

Some famous examples include:

Little girl is possessed by demon.

Shark attacks New Yorkers.

Scientists clone dinosaurs.

Boy discovers he is a wizard.

Vampires in modern day Maine.

Virgin falls in love with billionaire sadist.

You get the point. A million dollar idea is a succinct hook that hints at the premise and engages the imagination.

My thriller WHISKEY SOUR is not a million dollar idea.

Female cop hunts serial killer who is hunting her. 

It's practically a cliche. We've all seen it, many times. In the case of my book, it is both scary and funny--something not many serial killer books are (I came out before Dexter). And I'd like to think there are a lot of fun scenes and twists to make it worth reading. But it just doesn't make people get excited like "scientists clone dinosaurs."

If I had to be brutally honest and sift through my oeuvre, I think I've only had three ideas that are larger than life. I haven't made a million bucks on any of them, yet. But when I thought them up, I got very excited by them, and I think they are the easiest to pitch:

Government gives serial killers special ops training.

That's my hook for AFRAID. Instead of training soldiers to be killers, why not train killers to be soldiers? And then, release them accidentally on a small, isolated Wisconsin town. Scares and mayhem ensue.

AFRAID has sold well (and is selling much better now that I have the rights back) and I've sold a few movie options but nothing has ever come of it.

I liked this idea of mine even more:

Cop is trapped in a house with a killer, and surrounded by snipers.

I'm crazy about this idea, and the book is spawned, FUZZY NAVEL. Written in real time, Jack Daniels is fighting with her nemesis who has taken her and everyone she loves hostage, and she can't get away because her house is surrounded by gunmen. Scares and mayhem ensue.

I've always thought the best parts of thriller novels is when the main character is in danger. I wrote FUZZY NAVEL where the main character can't get away from danger, no matter what she does. Being stuck in the house with a serial killer would be bad. Being surrounded by snipers would be bad. Both of them at the same time is, in my mind, a million dollar idea.

But the best idea I ever had is the one I never sold:

US government has Satan in underground laboratory.

I pitched this as "Jurassic Park meets The Exorcist." A bunch of scientists are studying the devil--ten feet tall, red, horns, hooves--who was discovered in a coma while they were digging the Panama Canal in 1903. Since then, he's been secretly studied by the best minds in the world in a fortified prison in New Mexico. The book begins with Satan waking up.

My agent tried to sell this to NY publishing on three separate occasions. And I wrote it to be as commercial as possible. It has a bunch of cool monsters, quirky supporting characters, romance, humor, scares, and what's at stake is nothing less than the destruction of the world. I imagined huge Hollywood deals and toy action figures and a parking lot named after the book at Universal Studios.

But no one offered me a contract. The best idea I think I've ever had, and no one wanted it.

So I wound up self-publishing ORIGIN, and have sold over 100,000 copies of it. Currently it has 286 four and five star reviews.

It isn't my bestselling book, but it is the one that gets the most requests for a sequel. People seem to dig it. So much so that a sequel, SECOND COMING, is in the works.

ORIGIN is free on Amazon Kindle from today until March 4. Please download a copy and tell others to as well. And feel free to share your million dollar ideas in the comments section of this blog.


Bob said...

Agree- no new ideas. It comes in the execution. The Satan in prison one reminds me immediately of Cabin in the Woods, which was a hoot, if you haven't seen it.

I always love it when someone at a writers conference or workshop says they won't tell anyone what their book is about because someone will steal it. As if they invented it.

I like a six figure idea. A bunch of them, which is what you've got here.

Ellen M. Gregg said...

Now you've got me thinking about a punchy one-sentence description of my WIP. Which is a good thing. I'm not sure it's a million-dollar idea, but I'm leaning toward it being a half-million-dollar idea. ;-)

I'm going to download Origin, and will even read it - in spite of the fact that such books (now) scare the wits out of me because of a number of things I won't go into here.

Thanks much for all you do, Joe.

Anonymous said...

I read Origins when you were still a legacy writer. I enjoyed it then ( a free download from you ).

Small update on Amazon Italy. Trip Wire has moved above your books in a few categories. Not saying much, but it makes me feel good about it. The fact that I sold a book there. Joe, good on you.

J Randall

Jude Hardin said...

The ghost of an aborted fetus seeks revenge

JA Konrath said...

I wrote a story called The Bag eight years ago about an aborted fetus seeking revenge. :)

Anonymous said...

My idea,

Girl falls in love with vampire and werewolf at the same time.

Think it will sell?

Jude Hardin said...

I wrote a story called The Bag eight years ago about an aborted fetus seeking revenge.

Cool. Is it published anywhere?

Shaun Horton said...

VR game turns people into real zombies.

Of my whole list of ideas, that's the only one I can really boil down to a single sentence, and I feel that even that needs more explanation. Dunno if that means I'm not thinking hard enough, my stories are too complicated, or they just are one of those million dollar ideas.

Anonymous said...

My million dollar idea is this: Slave tries to regain his lost love held by a different slaveowner. Actually, that's a terrible idea, but I bet I can fool people into thinking it's a good one...

William J. Thomas said...

I also read Origin years ago when you offered it for free on your web site as a PDF. Loved the idea, couldn't put the book down (well, tear my eyes from the screen I should say...). I agree it should be HUGE!

Anonymous said...

Wrote a book called THE ICE GORILLA in which a research team goes in search of a creature and the ice shelf they are on breaks away, trapping everything on an island of isolation as it floats into unknown waters.

Thx for the great article Joe.

JA Konrath said...

Girl falls in love with vampire and werewolf at the same time. Think it will sell?

I think it has a shot.

JA Konrath said...

Cool. Is it published anywhere?

It was originally in an analogy called Cold Flesh. I think I made $20.

JA Konrath said...

Slave tries to regain his lost love held by a different slaveowner.

Sounds like an Academy Award winner.

V. J. Chambers said...

My best idea ever?

Clarice Starling falls in love with Hannibal Lecter. Only they're both werewolves.

It's only sold about fifty copies thus far. I'm not sure everyone else agrees it's my best idea ever. Who cares? I had the time of my life writing that thing. I might even write a sequel that no one wants. Because that's what makes self-publishing so freaking awesome. :)

(Oh, you did think that sounded interesting? Really?

Veronica - Eloheim said...

I was just reading the Passive Voice newsletter which had a story about James Patterson's formula for creating page turning books (and making a shit load of money doing it).

This post felt "page turner" to me. It's brilliant.

What a great way to promo your freebie.

I wish that your books didn't scare the crap out of me because I really do like your writing. After the scene in the big rig with the girl and the two serial killers, I'm not even downloading your horror for free! Talk about an image that I can't forget......! It still gives me the willies.

I guess I will wait for the third Timecaster book. Scifi is way more my thing.

Deb Larson said...

I have a werewolf series where He is in league with the Almighty. His job is to find and destroy evil. It's funny/scary, quirky and fast paced.
Still no takers!
I'm not giving up though.
DL Larson

Dorothy Ross MacIver said...

What do you mean no new ideas! Mine is - there's this Beauty and this Beast - aw, hell..........
Dorothy MacIver (soon to be blogger, checking yours out to see how it's supposed to be done):)

Aimlesswriter said...

Awesome! Can't wait to read!

Kriley said...

Scientists learn to separate the human soul from the human body resulting in primal killing machines.

Sharper13x said...

I read Origin. Very high concept indeed.

Here’s mine.

Everyone in the world really has lived many times before. Very few remember their past lives. This is not an accident. It’s a conspiracy. Always has been.

The truth is hidden somewhere in Los Angeles. Right where she left it… long before she was even born.

\"The Da Vinci Code\" meets “The Matrix\"

Sharper13x said...

BTW, what’s the over/under on most comments ever?

JA Konrath said...

BTW, what’s the over/under on most comments ever?

What do you mean?

Most I've had is 600+. But I used to be controversial...

Joshua Simcox said...

High concept storytelling really lights my lamp, but a great idea is the easiest part of the process. Stories live and die by how well they're executed. A great concept in and of itself is useless.

And that's probably why "Whiskey Sour" sold while "Origin" didn't. Not that "Origin" is bad. It isn't. But it's also the work of a developing writer that had just a little more growing to do. It's a fun read, but it lacks the polish and finesse of similar genre novels of its era, like, say, Preston and Child's "Relic".

By comparison, "Whiskey Sour" has a shopworn concept, but a stronger execution. It's the work of a Konrath that had a better handle on his craft.


Merrill Heath said...

VJ Chambers: I might even write a sequel that no one wants. Because that's what makes self-publishing so freaking awesome. :)

That's hilarious!

Unknown said...

I disagree a little with those who say there are no new ideas. There's more truth to this statement in genre fiction, where the search for absolute originality usually only leads to a ridiculous plot. The trick here is to spin an old story in a new and exciting way.

I think literary fiction allows more room for new ideas because readers of it don't demand the same plot devices over and over again, as they do with genre. There have been some outcries even here though, such as when Graham Swift won the Booker in 1996 with Last Orders. Many people pointed out this was identical to Faulkner's As I lay Dying (I think 1930). Swift called his work "an echo" of the Faulkner book.

Back to genre, if originality is possible at all then it's either through being ridiculous or having very original characters. I have a few of those "million dollar sentences" that are close to being original, but I know I reached them by riffing on other more well-known books.

But, an end note... if we had been having this discussion in 1992, we wouldn't have had to wait long for Crichton to disprove the hypothesis with the publication of Jurassic Park in 1993, so perhaps there are new ideas out there waiting to be discovered.

Anonymous said...

A couple of concepts ...

Unsinkable boat sinks.

Shark eats people.

Some kind of an alien thing pops out of a man's chest.

Sharper13x said...

"What do you mean?”

I mean I think there will be a lot of comments on this post.

But you’re right, I should have said "what are the odds of most comments ever?” or “What’s the over/under on number of comments.”

I mismatched my gambling references.

Unknown said...

I'm almost embarrassed to admit my best selling book summarized in one line is
"Grumpy bear falls for an overly perky bunny."

PS. Your one line hook on Origin is fantastic. Now I'll have to read it lol

Ripley King said...

A boy must traverse two universes to save one soul. - Love Dark

Judas Iscariot, two-thousand-years cursed to walk among us for his betrayal of the Christ, is
about to get his second chance. - And Jesus Wept

Twenty short stories linked together as a novel, and all to answer one question. - Burnt Offerings

Five deliciously dark stories, plus two bonus stories! - 5

A man seeks revenge.
Another aspires to rule the world.
A Dark Warrior appears on Earth.
Just where did that little demon dolly come from?
A young girl prays for death, becoming more than she bargained for.

What would you do for immortality?
Living toys quest their owner.

A fun yet explicit romp through the magical world of Sexland. - Alice in Sexland

This child's blood, once shed, will open the gates of Hell. - Lonely Hero Thing

Suzan Harden said...

Amish vampire and bionic zombie solve murders.

(And yes, I know how it sounds.)

Lisa said...

Teenage girl in alternate Victorian era builds a man.

It's kind of a steampunk Frankenstein.
The Soul Schematic
I downloaded Origin and read the sentence to my 18-year-old daughter and asked her if she would read that. "Hell yeah, I would." So she downloaded it too and thinks Konrath is the most awesome name ever. Like Conrad but all angry and stuff. Thought you'd like that!

Lawrence West said...

Here's mine: Blackbeard learns he's not the only monster in the Caribbean.

Werewolves of the Caribbean by Lawrence West

Werewolves of the Caribbean

Ripley King said...

I made "5" permafree at Smashwords.

Three Hoodies Save the World said...

Thank you for the freebie. I'll try to think of a punchy line to make you write the next one.

Jude Hardin said...

A psychotic billionaire stages a real life version of a super-violent video game.


Ashley Farley said...

A brother, his sister, and her psycho college roommate.

David L. Shutter said...

Most I've had is 600+. But I used to be controversial...

Well, with all the shifts and changes in publishing this last year so many of your predictions, theories and philosophies have been proven right.

It's like there's a void now that was once filled with indie hating, anon-pinheads.

Sad. I miss them in a way.

Rob Cornell said...

This one has NEVER been done:

Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl.

I call it: Romance.

I'll start shopping for yachts now.

But seriously, here's a real one:

His daughter murdered; his son the prime suspect. RED RUN by Rob Cornell. In stores now! :)

Actually, my favorite is from a reader review of my novel DARKER THINGS: "Imagine if James Patterson wrote about vampires..."

Scarlet Darkwood said...

Interesting concept to the 50-word elevator pitch for a novel--basically you're suggesting we create a headline for our work. Neat idea. I like it.

Darlene Underdahl said...

Got it already, OK, now it’s been pushed to the top of my TPR list.

For better or for worse, I’m full of original ideas.

I love Jack Daniels, Herb and Harry.

Darlene Underdahl said...

Erm, TBR... TPR gets a little strange, but could be correct.

Anonymous said...

Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again.

The above was an actual small-town newspaper TV listing years back for "The Wizard of Oz". You can Google it.


Max Vance said...

I bought "Origin," and it was a compelling read. The ending cries out for a sequel.

My high concept --a porn star quits the industry and decides to become a school teacher, while trying to hide his past. Available as "With My Clothes On."

Jude Hardin said...

I think I made $20.

I've made a little more than that on UNBORN, but it's not quite the million dollar idea I thought it was going to be.

Then again, like you always say, ebooks are forever. A film producer could read it tomorrow and email my agent with an offer.

A guy can dream, right?

Eric Christopherson said...

I self-pubbed this one just today (temporary book cover, half completed book description, but hey, it's live): Fortress of Ephemera

One sentence premise: The protagonist fights killers while trapped inside the mansion of a wealthy hoarder.

Really like the Origin premise, Joe. Had one of those wish I'd thought of it reactions.

Anonymous said...

Joe, the story's fun and I'm enjoying it, but you need to send it (back) to the copy editor. There are homophone typos and formatting problems (especially with apostrophes) and misplaced italics. I wouldn't have said anything but there are a LOT of problems with the text. I wouldn't want it to put anyone off buying your other works.

In other news, I'd definitely buy the sequel, especially one written by a more mature writer (than you were then). I'll keep an eye out for it.

Thanks for your blog!

Anonymous said...

Figures you would make Origin free less than two weeks after I bought it...

It was a good read though. Definitely worth the $3.99!

France Forever 24/7 said...

Hmmm, a oneliner for my book, Solitary Desire? Well, how about "A story of a woman driven by the overwhelming desire to be who and where she was meant to be."
Here's the trailer video for it:

John Mellies said...

After a global awakening, the human race stops sinning and an out-of-work satan takes a job as a barista at the downtown Starbucks.


A man attempts to type the captcha to prove he is not a robot, discovers he is a robot.

Rob Cornell said...

A man attempts to type the captcha to prove he is not a robot, discovers he is a robot.

Now, I would buy that! That's a character I can relate to. :)

Merrill Heath said...

A man and his wife take their dream vacation of a train trip across Europe only to discover there's a serial killer on board who is preying on passengers as well as residents in the villages where they stop.

Jude Hardin said...

A man attempts to type the captcha to prove he is not a robot, discovers he is a robot.

Best one yet!

Anonymous said...

Awsome idea about the devil in new mexico. I normorally write and read fantasy fiction, but I love a good story and will read anything from sci fi to westerns. I'm hooked on his idea of devil in captivity! I'll download and read soon.


Kim Batchelor said...

I write for kids: Contemporary re-imagining of Peter Pan. I thought it was gold, but apparently, it was immediately rejected by agents because of the success of Peter and the Starcatchers, which is NOT contemporary. One agent did point out that she wanted to see a Peter Pan with no magic and no flying (but is that what children want?) and pointed out that there was a contemporary MOVIE done--Hook in the 1990s. Go figure.

Downloaded Origin and am looking forward to read it.

Anonymous said...

Underground drag queen strip club falls prey to office politics.

crw said...

One sentence, hmm...
Lord of the Flies with Teachers. - I'm considering writing this.
Teenage ghost looks for dead dad. - I've written this.
Schoolgirl orphan discovers she is from a time when dragons flew. - I'm editing this.
It's quite easy to come up with these but I'll keep a couple more to myself because they have got me inspired for my next book. Great idea Joe thanks.

Jude Hardin said...

The Zombie, a serial killer who saws the tops of his victims’ heads off, scoops out their brains, and reassembles their skulls with Krazy Glue, terrorizes Key West, Florida.


Merrill Heath said...

Jude, why would The Zombie do such a thing? Is there a reason for it other than the shock value?

Jude Hardin said...

Jude, why would The Zombie do such a thing? Is there a reason for it other than the shock value?

Yes. Some serial killers like to keep mementos from their victims. There's another reason, but you'll have to read the book to find out what it is. ;)

Suzy said...

I'm beginning to think my million dollar idea is to marry for money and give up writing.

Anonymous said...

Agents and legacy publishers are equivalent to what active managers are to mutual finds - they attribute any successful outcome to skill, rather than luck or randomness (just invest in index funds!). It is delusional to think with any certainty that one knows what a broad swath of the public will like and buy - "quality" or what people find interesting and appealing is just too subjective in writing books. One can only form a hypothesis and test it. Working as a writer, just be very prolific and persistent - never give up.

Rick Schworer said...

God and Satan, through satellite states, battle for control of the Earth.

Thy KINGDOM Come: The Promise of the King

So far it's managed to stay on three bestseller lists!

Gary Ponzo said...

There's this gigantic ship which is thought to be unsinkable and it hits an iceberg and sinks on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic.

H.L. Pauff said...

US government has Satan in underground laboratory.

That is badass. I'm hooked from that one sentence.

Unknown said...

Average middle age woman goes on journey of sexual self-discovery.

(With new covers per Joe's advice.)

Not a million dollar idea. YET.


Jude Hardin said...

A Christian militia group plans to usher in Armageddon by detonating a pair of suitcase nukes along the San Andreas Fault.


And it's on sale right now for $2.99!

Anonymous said...

With her trust fund spigot locked tight after some seriously bad press, Paris Hilton has to prove her worth to the family by working her way up from maid to manager at the downtown Paris Hilton.

Unknown said...

> After a global awakening, the human race stops sinning and an out-of-work satan takes a job as a barista at the downtown Starbucks.

That might have great appeal, but not particularly to me. Although an atheist, I am a great believer in existence sin of sin, such as using Herradura Tequila Anejo in a margarita. Maybe that would make a plot: a bartender alters peoples' lives by using the wrong liquor in customers' drinks at crisis points in their lives.

> A man attempts to type the captcha to prove he is not a robot, discovers he is a robot.

I love that one.

> Jude, why would The Zombie do such a thing? Is there a reason for it other than the shock value?

It's sort of like the joke "Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the armadillo it is possible."

Of course, the Zombie is doing it to show off his enhanced manual dexterity.


Coolkayaker1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coolkayaker1 said...

Million dollar idea: Prolific and successful Ebook author's titles are swallowed up on the sales charts by the endless rubbish written by every Tom, Dick and Harry that he, himself, coached into self publishing.

S.W. Vaughn said...

Your cover is blinking at me...

Now I have to download the book to MAKE IT STOP!

...thanks for that. :P

S.W. Vaughn said...

I see we're all pitching our one-sentences here, too.

Can I use the title of my favorite Amazon review?

Blood, Brutality, and Beat-Downs--A Graphic and Violent Descent Into New York's Criminal Underbelly.

He said it better than I could. :-)

Jude Hardin said...

Joe: With your successes from the BookBub listings, I'm assuming you've changed your position on paid advertising. Do you think it would be worth the $1150 they charge for a mystery/thriller that's priced at $2 or more?

Jude Hardin said...

This was among the offerings in BookBub's email for this morning:

Homeless and depressed, Michael Fox is on the verge of suicide when a billionaire surgeon offers him two million dollars for his right arm — little does he know the doctor intends to replace his entire body with harvested donor parts, turning him into The Jigsaw Man

Million dollar idea, or too ridiculous for words?

I don't know, but I'm going to read it and find out.


Anita said...

Good point but to a degree a cliche or similar concept isn't so bad because a reader can connect with it. Taking the cliche on an unexpected ride can still be a half million dollar idea. ;)

So excite to hear about Second Coming. Honestly I didn't think I was into that type of read until I read Origins. I'm totally inspired!!!

John Mellies said...

Homeless and depressed, Michael Fox is on the verge of suicide when a billionaire surgeon offers him two million dollars for his right arm — little does he know the doctor intends to replace his entire body with harvested donor parts, turning him into The Jigsaw Man

Looks like he'll never get to make Back to the Future 4.

Kiana Davenport said...

Joe, Thank you, thank you, MAHALO! for the sequel to ORIGIN. I've been bugging you for two years for a sequel. Its one of my favorite books of yours.

(Though I could do without the blinking eyes)

Keep marketing it along with the sequel. It will keep growing in readership, and will be HUGE!

Imua! press on! Wishing you continued success. Kiana

Meb Bryant said...

Joe said:
"Most I've had is 600+. But I used to be controversial..."

Made me laugh, Joe. Thanks!

Rob said...

I had an idea like that that just struck me one day for my second book:

What if wore a Jacket that was possessed by a serial killer? What would you do when you can’t take it off?

Anonymous said...

@Jude, yes Joe is going to change his position on paid advertising.

However, Bookbub is not a traditional 'banner ad' type service, obviously. They are charging authors a fee to promote their books to an email list of double opt-in subscribers. Direct marketing like this has been around for ages, especially through the US Mail.

After repeated Bookbub campaigns, for both free and paid books, my conversion rate to sales has been around 2% - and with a mystery/thriller subscriber list of over 300,000 names, I would say yes it's worth it for you to try.

Now conventional direct email campaigns are much more expensive, typically $60-$80 for 1,000 emails or so - but these are highly selected as you can drill down to females who get all of their books digitally from ages 25-50 who prefer romance (for example). And the provider handles the actual mass email, so you only get to use that list once.

Some companies sell email addresses for much cheaper, but they are junk. Services in the price range I mentioned above actually get their addresses from Amazon, B&N, etc. - but I believe Bookbub ran their own ads to build their subscriber base.

Jude Hardin said...

After repeated Bookbub campaigns, for both free and paid books, my conversion rate to sales has been around 2%

I'm interested in the stats on paid books >$2. The ad would cost $1150. Let's say I'm making $1 for every book sold. I would need to sell 1,150 more books than I would have sold without the ad, just to break even.

BookBub's own stats say that the average number of books sold per ad is 1,930, with a range of 210 to 6,080. So, with 360,000 mystery and thriller subscribers, 2% (7,200) would be wildly optimistic.

If I could hit the average, it would be worth it to pay for the ad. But, with a $1,050 investment, it's quite a gamble.

Nicole Ellen Love said...

Just downloaded "Origin". I love occult ideas like that.

My idea? The fallen angel, Cleopatra, tries to manipulate the course of humanity's history through guile and seduction.

"Sins of Fall" certainly isn't a million dollar idea though. In fact, it hasn't sold a single copy yet, despite having a fairly successful free promotion. Maybe that says something about my quality of writing?

Anonymous said...

@Jude, I don't know how Bookbub tracks their sales, but I count mine until my book gets back to the baseline - a period of several days or more.

My last $0.99 cost $400 and I sold more than 7,000 additional copies over baseline. Therefore I made $2100 and that doesn't factor in my other 10 books that all ticked up in sales. This is the 3rd time I've used the service with similar results.

Of course I am an indie and keep all the spoils, no agent etc. Also, I've not yet tried the $1,150 option, but I intend to do so.

In the 3 months I've used Bookbub and Select (plus a new release) I've had revenues avg $13k per month, vs $8k before.

Now Joe used the Bub for his free books, which eliminates Nook subscribers, I did that too the first time - but once I went to a non-free book, my profits more than doubled.

Jude, I went to #3 OVERALL at Nook for nearly a week (where I had been at 5,000+). Just do it, baby. Then I kicked my price back up to $3.99 and still made a killing.

Jude Hardin said...

Just do it, baby.

I want to, but right now my only self-published books are a novella and a short story, and BookBub only accepts full-length books for their listings. All my novels are through publishers, and I don't think I would make enough from the increased sales to warrant the expense.

I'll probably self-publish a novel in the next few months, and I'll give it a try then.

Steve Pantazis said...

I'm in the process of trying to sell my own million-dollar idea to literary agents: A scientist helps a resistance organization fight an artificial intelligence that has convinced the world it is God. The novel is called Godnet. At the rate I'm going with getting a book deal, the technology will catch up with my premise. Maybe I should have had the Devil as the inspiration for the AI.


Marc R. Soto said...

Here's mine:

"A mosquito infects an eight years old boy with vampirism"

Actually, I should rewrite it as:

"Mosquitoes can transmit vampirism" which is a far stronger idea, I think.

If anyone's curious about it, you can find it here:

Marc R. Soto said...

BTW, Konrath, that was my first comment in your blog.

Big fan!

Yep, you have some fans in Spain too :)

Daniel R. Robichaud said...

1950s era toughguy facing a vampire serial killer in the 1980s.

Maybe not such a great one, but it was the genesis of my Cave and the Vamp series of ebook novellas (under the C. C. Blake pseudonym), which seem to be doing well.

K. R. Cox said...

Love drives man to bring back wife from death -

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

This one really stood out, for me me at least:

Cop is trapped in a house with a killer, and surrounded by snipers.

Unknown said...

I am trying this for a fantasy trilogy I have reissued in ebook form for a friend. We are making The Door to Ambermere B007VIE3U2 available free March 14-18 and just paid for the Ebookbooster campaign. Hopefully it will spur some sales of the remaining books in the trilogy. Will keep you posted.

David Darracott said...

The White House launches a terror campaign against American citizens

Anonymous said...

@David Darracott who said...
"The White House launches a terror campaign against American citizens"

That's not fiction, it's reality - It's called "0bama."

Daniel said...

I thought the title of my first book published was a million dollar idea. Aimed at kids, mainly boys.


The sequel, STORIES GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU EVEN SICKER, is all but one story done.

But a title doesn't sell a book, I found out. Maybe if I had targeted an audience that actually reads.

Merril Heath said...

Man dresses up as dead mother and kills resident at hotel.

Michael Cain said...

Girl slatted to be sacrificed to save the world, turns the tables on her would be murderer...but then has to save the world herself.

And she's turning into a dragon.

Anonymous said...

What is the "million dollar idea" for Les Miserables?

That book is too complex and even if you could break it down to a single sentence it would probably sound boring at face value.

I think the "million dollar idea" is also known as the "high concept idea" and it is useless unless you are pitching to traditional publishers or hollywood.

Indie authors need good writing not catchy concepts.