Simple tips for writing an elevator pitch
Updated: Nov 6, 2019
If you’re writing a book, you need to have an elevator pitch prepared for when someone asks you about your work.
An elevator pitch is a short description of a book. Mostly, you need this tool to tell agents and editors about your book. But it’s good to have in general in case someone asks you what you’re writing. You don't want to drone on for ten minutes about your plot and characters and setting. It’s imperative that you can explain the concept of the book in just a sentence or two.
The term elevator pitch comes from the short amount of time you’d have to pitch your book while riding an elevator, which would be 20 to 30 seconds.
So, remember: keep it short. If you can’t explain the story in one sentence, you can’t say it in a full-length book either.
I attended a speaker’s seminar and learned that 75% of the people leaving a speech or sermon have no idea what was communicated. What’s worse is that 50% of speakers cannot articulate, in a simple sentence, the objective of their talk. Doesn't that sound crazy? As a professional, you've got to be ready to tell folks what you've written and say it in an intriguing way so others will be interested.
Elements an elevator pitch should include:
A character or two
Their choice, conflict, or goal
What’s at stake (may be implied)
Action that will get them to the goal
Setting (if important)
Keep it simple. One plot line, one or two characters.
Use the strongest nouns, verbs and adjectives.
Make the conflict clear, but you don’t have to give the solution
The delivery of your elevator pitch is as important as the information you're giving. When you have the opportunity to speak to someone about your work, deliver your pitch with confidence and authority. After all, you’re the expert on your book, speak as if you are. Also, if you are uniquely qualified to write your book, say that. For instance, if your main character is a cheerleading coach and you've coached competitive cheer teams, explain that you have insider knowledge of the position. Does your book meet a specific need? If so, explain what that need is and how your book fills that need.
Another thing—practice, practice, practice. Knowing your pitch and being confident of your delivery will make it easier when you need to perform it at a moment's notice. And, relax and have fun telling people about the magnificent characters and story world you have created. If you enjoy giving your pitch, your audience will enjoy hearing it.
Write on, friends!