A few days ago, a fellow RWA chapter member posted a movie producer's take on "high concept." It was pretty much what we've heard before: A one-sentence (or better yet, three-word) rendition of the movie/book/story/whatever. But s/he added on attributes like catchy title, gripping premise, etc.
When I asked on the chapter Yahoo! group whether high concept actually applied to us as writers, two responses came back. Both were essentially about selling -- boil the idea down to the bare bones, make sure those bones are catchy, and viola! you've got something that our soundbite obsessed society can grasp. One response, from a published author, mentioned the fact that her high concept novels were more easily "sold" internally at her publishing company (e.g., editor to marketing, marketing to sales) and enabled those novels to be released in international markets.
I'm of two minds about anything deemed "high concept." I've heard the term mentioned in reverent tones, as if an idea's being high concept will almost guarantee bestsellerdom and gigantic advances. I've also read a couple of high concept books that left me cold.
As Leslie Wainger, venerable editing goddess at Harlequin, used to say: It's all in the execution.
Can anyone recommend a high concept book that was also a great read?