November 23, 2018– I remember it like it was yesterday. I was having a lunch meeting with an up and coming author that I was about to sign on to my publishing house, when the waitress stopped by our table, “How is everything? What are you guys working on?”
I said, “We are discussing his book.” The waitress said, “Oh wow! Tell me about it!” That’s when things went to hell in a handbag.
The author then proceeded to tell the waitress almost every damn thing about his book from the complexity of the characters to the interwoven plot that had several twists and turns and was going to be a series. I watched politely as the waitress’ eyes glazed over and the potential author hammered the last nail into the coffin of his would be deal. He kept blabbing and going around in circles trying to prove to the waitress and perhaps to me that he was some kind of literary genius that was only resurrected once in a lifetime. It was way too much and the deal died that day on the spot. The meeting dragged on as he continued to talk about his work and I was grateful when it was finally over.
He was a good enough writer, but he definitely lacked the thing that most authors do…the conciseness of a perfectly perfected elevator pitch. After all, if this author said all this to a waitress, I was willing to bet the business that he would be even worse with prospective readers! Don’t make the same mistake that he did, when someone asks about your book, tell them about it in 1-2 sentences. Here’s what you need to know:
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Don’t forget the hook.
That’s it. It’s that easy. No more and no less. If someone were to ask me about my middle-grade novel, The Old Farmer’s Treasure in the elevator up to the sixth floor of Tiffany’s here’s what I would say, ” Imagine that you’re thirteen years old and you’ve found a deadly secret that your family has been hiding for years. You can have riches beyond your wildest dreams; all you have to do is follow the clues in a life-threatening race against time.” Short, sweet, and hooked. I guarantee if you follow those rules, that people will want to know more. That’s when you can expand on the information that you give them, not too much, but just enough.
Practice your elevator pitch for your book, you never know when you’ll be stuck inside with a reader or someone who can change your fate.