In Praise of Your Elevator Pitch

Elevator doorsOne of the finest ways to use 10 minutes in a busy week is to master the elevator pitch — that is, one sentence that encapsulates your story and intrigues the listener. You can’t figure this one out too soon.  Even if you’re on page one, with no thought of pitching to an agent or writing a blurb for your ebook for another six months, a pitch sentence will be as useful to you in your growing career as a quality pocket knife on a wilderness camping trip. Here’s why.

  • You need to be ready with your elevator pitch when relatives, friends and co-workers ask you exactly what an agent, editor, or Amazon reader is going to ask: “What’s your book about?”
  • You will need your elevator pitch to put on your author page and for your blurb if you decide to go with indie publishing.
  • You will need your elevator pitch for your query letter if you decide to go the traditional publishing route.
  • But the person who most needs to hear your elevator pitch while you’re still writing your book is you.  If you’ve got that gripping sentence in mind, it’s going to keep you on track and can save hundreds of hours that might be spent writing pages that you’ll throw out and revising chapters that go nowhere.

The best book I’ve read on building pitch lines is Blake Snyders’s Save the Cat, a favourite professional read. Here are two of his examples:

  • A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists – Die Hard.
  • A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend – Pretty Woman.

There are few better ways to use 10 minutes than to write out and polish your elevator pitch.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing day for you.

Cheers, Mel

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2 thoughts on “In Praise of Your Elevator Pitch

  1. I agree. One-sentence summaries are indispensable. In 2012, I published my paranormal romance, The Vampire Girl Next Door. Here’s the one-sentence description I used for business cards and to answer people who asked what it was about: Mark falls in love with Sylvia, the beautiful, but quirky girl next door, not realizing that she’s a vampire who killed his last neighbor.
    Now that my sequel is coming out, I’ll need another one-sentence description for the new novel

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