Thursday, August 8, 2013

Creating an Elevator Pitch

Creating a solid elevator pitch:

1.  Keep your pitch clear and concise, without jargon or words that are too complex.  Keep it simple.  

Example: "I am the author of 'Shark Shorts, a collection of short stories about sharks that goes beyond 
the ordinary.  If you're a fan of Discovery Channel's 'Shark Week' then you'll love my story.  But you'll 
also love it if you like stories that are out of the ordinary."

2.  A question in your pitch is usually good.  It allows the listener to interact with you and shows that you're 
not just reciting lines.  However, keep the questions close-ended (with only two options for answers, such as 
yes-and-no questions).

Example: "Have you ever wondered what it would be like if there was a 'Headless Hammerhead?'  (Wait for 
answer - maybe the answer would be a question such as, 'How would you know it's a Hammerhead?' - which 
would be a really good sign because it shows interest)  You can then go into your pitch, "Well, I wrote a book
of 'Shark Shorts' and one of the stories explores the possibility of a shark that haunts the ocean as the 'Headless 
Hammerhead'.  Hi, my name's Giovanni.  Here's my card."

3.  Stand out.  If your story is a mystery, don't start with, "I wrote a mystery..." - that's a sure way for the person 
to just tune you out.  Start with something that sets your story apart.  

Example: "Did you know you could make clothes out
of spider silk?  Yeah, It's stronger than Kevlar (the stuff used to make bullet-proof vests), and it can even stop bullets. 
I wrote a mystery in which a serial killer uses a spider silk robe when he attack his victims, and it's what gets him caught.
I'm Giovanni, the story is 'The Wistful Heads', and here's my card."

4.  Always be ready to answer questions without rambling.  If someone has to cut your pitch short, you're dead.  "Oh, how many
books have you written?"  "Well, I have one that's a psychological thriller titled 'Separation Anxiety', one that's a collection of
short stories titled '8:51 On the Blinking Clock and Other Stories', one that's a mystery..."  terrible.  remember that the person you're 
pitching will not remember even one title you spew out at him or her.  

A better response: "I have five books in various genres.  What do you like to read?"  "Horror"  "Ok, I have that.  Here's my card, my
name's Giovanni.  You can see all my books on my website."

The key is to practice your elevator pitch so that you do not fumble or ramble.  Recite it to a tape recorder.  Play it back and see what 
needs to be changed.  Recite it to people.  Get feedback.  Take a written version to a critique group.  Have a teacher review it.  But 
most importantly, have fun learning this technique.