Author Blog Challenge: Day 1 – The Pitch

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?

penusLong 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….



Hated it.

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:

  1. An elevator pitch is a two-way conversation. Keep it short, know your audience, and allow them to speak.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!



3 thoughts on “Author Blog Challenge: Day 1 – The Pitch

  1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who struggles with pitches! I like the idea of the pitch being a two way conversation. I suppose if the person you are talking to is interested, they will ask for more information about your book.

    Liked by 1 person

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