Your Book's Elevator Pitch - article

One savvy author skill is the ability to deliver your book’s elevator pitch. Every author needs to be able to showcase their book in about 30 to 60 seconds, which is the traditional length of an elevator ride. The elevator pitch is part hook and part summary. The length of a book pitch can vary, depending on who the author is speaking to – i.e. a literary agent, potential reader, or studio executive. If time is limited, a quick pitch should encapsulate the high concept of a book project. The pitch needs to set an author’s project apart from all others. It needs to show relevance and passion. It needs to create irresistible need when exposed to the target audience. And, the elements of a fiction novel pitch will differ greatly from a pitch for a nonfiction book. No problem, right? Don’t worry. You wrote a book. You can do this.

Who is the elevator pitch for?

First this pitch is a helpful networking tool. Many conferences feature live pitch sessions where authors, on their search for publication, pitch their books to agents and editors. It’s important to stand out to land a publishing contract. But there’s more. The elevator pitch also comes into play when you create a press release announcing the publication of your book. Finally, that elevator pitch will help at cocktail parties; you will always be ready to share it with potential book buyers.

Here’s something to think about. Do you ever wonder why books that can’t hold a candle to yours get published? It was all about the pitch. Your ability to create a fabulous pitch could be the difference between a publishing contract and a book hidden away in a drawer. Nobody wants that. So how do you craft this important pitch? Here are some tips to help you.

Take a lesson from Hollywood.

First start with hook. Take a lesson from Hollywood. Comparing your work can be effective, but always put a new twist on the comparison, like Moby Dick crossed with Star Wars. You may choose a high concept hook like, “a post-apocalyptic story of zombie infestation and a Vegas showgirl with an axe to grind”. Note how voice is slid in there too. Another kind of hook is the challenging question like: “If you found out God lived next door, what would you do? Yet, another kind of pitch sets up an interesting scenario like: “cowboys versus aliens.”

Create a powerful hook and follow that up with a quick dazzling summary of your book. This summary should reveal your main character, their major dilemma and the epic conflict they will have to go through. You should also reveal your genre and setting and close with something that reveals your passion for your book, like why you wrote it, what inspired you, or who will be drawn to your story. Skip this part if your answers are “I really like books so I wrote one. “I was inspired by grandchildren.” “Or anyone who can read will like my story.” No. No. No!

Finally, when you’ve crafted a strong pitch, practice it “live” with your friends until it consistently lights up the eyes of the hearers. Done? Fantastic, you are ready to step to the front of the pitch line!

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