The first time I heard about an elevator pitch I chuckled. It sounded absolutely crazy to me. For those who don’t know about an elevator pitch, allow me to break it down as only I can.
The premise: imagine coming to work early on a Monday morning. You hit the elevator button, the doors open and you get in. Right behind you running at full speed, clearly in a hurry, is the CEO of your company whom you’ve never met and who could not pick you out of a line up if his/her life depended on it. You press the buttons to your respective floors. You go to the 8th, he/she goes to the 14th. Let’s say there are 15 seconds or less between the lobby and the 8th floor.
Your choices: do you stand there and awkwardly wait until you hear the ding of the elevator signaling that you’ve reached your floor, or do you use those seconds to make yourself memorable in the mind of your CEO?
The elevator pitch method suggests that the latter should always be your choice. Making yourself memorable in the minds of others may ensure advancements. You never know the difference that one person can make in your life.
As authors, our mindset should always be that we are standing in that elevator with a reader, publisher, literary agent, or anybody else we can sell our book to. We have 15 seconds or less to get them to fall head-over-heels in love with our book.
Why, then, did I chuckle when I heard about the elevator pitch? Because it requires condensing something that took months or even years to write in just 15 seconds. Impossible! How can all the intricate parts of the plot or the different aspects of characters be summarized in 15 seconds? It probably took longer than 15 seconds to even come up with a name for one of those characters.
So how can one create the perfect elevator pitch? I haven’t come up with the right formula. But I do know that a person’s eyes tend to glaze over when you go past that allotted 15 second timeframe. After a couple of trials and errors, I think I found my 15 second elevator pitch. It goes a little something like this (one moment as I clear my throat): A Few Good Friends is the story of four best friends whose journey for happiness leads them to find the power of true friendship. Joanna, Jessica, Victoria, and Nicole lead separate lives, but together they are able to overcome self-doubt, betrayal, broken marriages, and abuse.
Did you time that? Did I make my 15 second mark? Most importantly, did I pique your interest? Don’t worry, I won’t take offense if I didn’t. Remember the best elevator pitch comes from trial and error. After practicing it different ways in front of multiple audiences you learn which words work and which words fall flat. So, grab your stopwatch, a thesaurus, a few good friends (get it?) and practice until you come up with the perfect elevator pitch that will knock their socks off. Best of luck to you.
Helpful Tips: While there are no specific equations to create an elevator pitch, because it’s different depending on the author and genre, here are some tips that may prove useful.
- Short and to the point -Don’t ramble
- Peek audience interest
- Let them know what they can get from reading your book, why they would want to read your book e.g. “My book will remind you what being in love is like”
- Find a good hook – whether it be funny, compelling, shocking. This can even be a quote from your book
- One Sentence synopsis of the book