Imagine this: You’re in the elevator with the producer of your favorite show. The program you’ve been trying to get on for years. What would you say to this person? Would you comment on the weather? Perhaps lament about the price of gas? Or would you take the opportunity to pitch your story as you glide up three floors? Now, this might not actually ever happen but it’s still a good idea to be prepared. That’s what I call your elevator pitch.
So, how do you get to your elevator pitch? How do you refine your topic down in such a way that it grabs the attention of someone in a matter of a few seconds? Getting to the heart of your story is the first part to this. The “heart” of your story is what everything else is built around. A couple of weeks ago, I taught a class on writer focus. The single objective of this class was to pare down a story until it was so refined, and so focused that a 250 page book could be described in one minute. To some, this type of manuscript refinement might seem unrealistic and counter intuitive to everything they’ve ever learned about writing. But whether you are querying literary agents or trying to get into the media, you’ll need to know your elevator pitch.
But an elevator pitch doesn’t just serve you in the media, having a refined focus of your book is a necessity to a tight manuscript. If your book is unfocused, you’ll find yourself struggling to finish it, chapters won’t follow a particular order and the general objective of the book won’t be met.
So… how do you get to your elevator pitch? Start by focusing on the core of your book. What’s the one thread that carries through your manuscript, the one topic or story that everything else circles around? If your response to that is: “Well there are actually five things that go on in this book.” I’d say that’s fine, but keep in mind that without that one thing, the rest of the book wouldn’t exist. Another way to get to this “core” is to ask yourself (or have someone help you with this) “what are the benefits to the reader” or “what will my reader learn?” That is the answer to your question. That is the core of your book.
Again, your reader will probably walk away from your tome with many other benefits, but there is one that is paramount over all others. That’s your focus, that’s what your book is about.
So let creativity and your muse be your guide but always remember to focus, focus, focus!
About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed the ranks at Amazon.com to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: No More Rejections. Get Published Today! was released in July of 2002 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.booksbypen.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ã 2004 Penny C. Sansevieri