Another year, another challenge. First off, thanks to Laura for organizing this, and for subsequently reminding me that I should be blogging on my own site. *ahem* Anyway… on with the good stuff.
Today’s prompt is this:
Having a hook is one of the keys to successfully marketing your book. What is your 30-second elevator pitch? And whom would you most like to give it to?
Long ago, I worked up an elevator pitch for my book. It was an exercise in writing a few lines on a scratch pad, vigorously scribbling through them, and then writing something like “as if” or “what the actual hell?” next to it. Over. And over. And over.
I mean really… I’d written a WHOLE NOVEL… how hard could a 50-word summary really be?
After much rolling of the eyes and gnashing of the teeth, I finally came up with something I loved. I took it to the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. I got up in front of a panel of top literary agents. I delivered my PERFECT pitch. And they all, unanimously….
I had gone first in the panel, and listened intently to the next dozen or so who went. Then inspiration struck, and I started scribbling furiously. One of the agents kept looking over at me. At the end of the panel, she said, “Ok, we have time for one more, and I want it to be the girl who went first… because I know you’ve reworked it based on what you’re seeing here, and I’m super curious to know what you’ve come up with.”
So I got up and read my revised pitch.
They didn’t hate it. In fact, they said it was much improved. It still needed work. It needed *something* to set it apart.
I kept toying with it and tinkering and playing. In fact, I still edit and change it. But what it comes down to is this:
“In Rising, you’ll find out what you get when you cross a no-nonsense federal agent, the death of a US Senator, and a demon turf war.”
It gets reworded, rearranged, and redirected based on the audience, but those words are always in there. Sometimes I add that it’s “Jim Butcher meets James Patterson.” Sometimes I add in that it’s available in paperback and on all digital formats. Sometimes I mention that it got a 5-star review from Reader’s Favorite. And sometimes I talk about my fabulous small press publisher, Ravensong Digital Publishing.
Throughout the entire process, I learned some extremely valuable, key concepts when it comes to pitching:
- An elevator pitch is a two-way conversation. Keep it short, know your audience, and allow them to speak.
- Don’t be so married to your pitch that you can’t change it up. Again, it’s not about your book… it’s about who you are pitching your book to!
- If they’re not interested, know the pitches for your friends’ books. If you can’t sell yourself, sell a friend. They’ll thank you for it later!