An elevator pitch: the trick, the game, the overwhelming hook to grab and hold the attention of your listener is one sentence – maybe 30 seconds long and up to 20 words. It has to be irresistible, it has to be compelling.
So, what exactly is an elevator pitch?
Imagine you have a novel to sell, and by chance you meet an editor, a publisher or even a literary agent and you just know that that serendipitous opportunity will not occur again. What can you say in that brief window of time (maybe an elevator ride) to sell your novel? The aim is to make them curious enough to want to know more – to ultimately want to read your novel.
This elevator pitch is one or two powerful sentences that reveal the essence of your book and the basics of who you are. Mix that with the fulfilment of a need and you have the perfect sales pitch for your book.
How does one do this? Firstly, introduce your main character; indicate any conflicts, direction and how this will provide a true revelation. In other words your one sentence summary must convince your target that his vicarious involvement in your protagonist will lead to great satisfaction. This one sentence summary must be your ‘open sesame’. With so much competition it must be your single best tool to seduce your somewhat captive listener!
So, let’s summarise shall we? Three points are indispensable:
- Stick to a 20 word limit.
- This sentence must introduce your main character, his particular issues and the context in which this novel is set and will be resolved. For example it could be political, involve a clash of cultures or even soaring frustrated ambitions.
- Use challenging verbs which sum up action, threats, forces or risks.
So write, rewrite – again and again, refine over and over until it has the seductiveness of silk and the power of a sledgehammer. Then practice it until you can say it without flinching and with a smile on your face.
And then tell us what it is!