Write an "Elevator Pitch" in 3 Easy Steps
Pin the image to bookmark this page.
I recently taught a writer’s workshop for a local college which was about 80% inspiration and 20% “teaching.” I don’t have all the how-to answers when it comes to writing and publishing, and to be honest, I’m not sure any of us do. What I endeavor to share is evidence of how this kind of stuff works in the real world so that you are inspired to just. keep. going.
Writing is 10% celebrating milestones (release days, cover reveals, signings) and 90% perseverance in the face of doubt and fear.
Side note: Persistence.
Keep going when you want to stop.
Keep writing when you don’t feel like it.
Stand up for the story you wrote.
Know when it’s best to compromise a little for the sake of the world reading what you wrote.
If you give up, you are done. (As in Game Over.)
I don’t want you to be done.
As I was writing my sixty minute workshop not knowing if anyone would show up (you did, and I thank you!), I thought… Um, maybe I should TEACH something. But what?
I mentioned this to my husband, who is brilliant in many ways and as fate would have it, brilliant in a completely different way than I am. He sees things simply. Maybe because this is my career, or maybe because my brain is more creative and his is analytical.
Our conversation when something like this:
Me: I want people to participate, to take something with them when they go.
John: Like what?
Me: I don’t know. How to do an elevator pitch or something.
John: That’s perfect. Do that.
Me: Well, I do it almost by instinct now. How do I show someone how to do it?
John: Easy. Just say, “Do these three things.”
Do these three things.
What is an elevator pitch?
It’s a short way to present your book to someone that won't bore them to tears. Its name is derived from the idea that you should be able to tell someone about your book in the time it takes to ride on an elevator with them. As you can imagine, it doesn’t leave much room for long-winded intros where you attempt to summarize. If I ask you what your book’s about and you start with “So, there’s this guy in my novel who…” you probably need an elevator pitch.
Write down the most interesting thing about your character.
Are they an alien?
Do they have amnesia?
Like in One Night, White Lies, is your heroine pretending to be someone she’s not when the hero doesn’t recognize her?
What problem are they about to encounter?
Is there a hurricane?
Were they just fired?
Or, back to my own book, Is that hero about to realize he’s taken his best friend’s younger sister to his hotel room without knowing who she was?
The hook that leaves them wanting more. The now-what…
What situation have your characters gotten themselves into that makes your reader crave to know what happens next?
In One Night, White Lies, my Elevator Pitch could be:
Reid Singleton doesn’t recognize his best friend’s little sister until after they’ve shared a hot night between the sheets. Now he must choose: keep pursuing her in secret, or play it safe and try and forget the best sex he’s ever had...
OR, I could tell it from Drew’s point of view.
Drew Fleming lied to her older brother’s best friend in order to woo him into bed. Now that the jig is up! But she makes a deal with him—if they continue what they’re doing a little longer she’ll take their secret to the grave…
Now it’s your turn
Grab your current work in progress and go through these three steps in a notebook or download the attached PDF I've created for you. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Feel like sharing? I’d love to see it. Leave your elevator pitch in the comments!