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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Writing the Elevator Pitch to Promote Your Book

When preparing to promote a book, one of the key elements you need to create is the Elevator Pitch, sometimes known as the High Concept Pitch. This is 1-2 sentence(s) that indicates the hero and heroine’s goal and their conflict in reaching that goal. When done well, it works.

The traditional idea of this concept is that you only have someone's attention for the short amount of time that you might be enclosed in an elevator ride with them. Their attention is gone the moment they step off that elevator. 

Fast forward to today and transpose that concept to online promotions. Sometimes we only have a title and enough space for a follow-up sentence in Google and Yahoo search result listings, including Goodreads, LifeWay, Christian Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble search result listings. Your High Concept will be floating on the screen in a sea of pages with numerous other High Concept Pitches and you need to do your best to make sure it stands out in the murky waters of the Internet.

Therefore, you will want to write it in such a way that you not only have it memorized so you can speak it to editors and agents at writing conferences and potential readers at book signings, but also so that it will transform on the web anywhere at any time in any format in case the RSS feed or link is picked up by others.

Think of a movie description you might see in the TV Guide and read a few examples.

For pitching a story to editors and agents, your Elevator Pitch should include the word count, genre/subgenre, location setting, time period if it is an historical, hero and heroine's goals, and the danger or obstacle to achieving their goals.

For exampleI've written a 100,000 word novel in 1477 Scotland. A warrior agrees to protect and restore an ancient castle, but a local lass wants him and his warriors to leave before they discover a secret that could destroy her future and her entire village, but as she comes to know him, her heart changes and the danger continues to grow.

Here is a blog post that further details the difference between the Elevator Pitch and High Concept Pitch using the movie, Pretty Woman.

Elevator PitchA no-nonsense businessman hires a hooker to be his date for a week and then falls in love with her, but has to give up his heartless business practices to win her.

High ConceptPretty Woman meets Die Hard on a cruise ship.

Our advice would be to write several of these pitches, have them marked for various uses, as well as a paragraph blurb for the back cover or for descriptions that allows more space. Then as you promote your book launch, you'll have these various concepts that you can quickly copy and paste into responses for promotional material for reviewers, bloggers, interviews, speeches, etc.


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