Creating an Elevator Pitch

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Note: Sorry, this is a re-post because I had to delete my original. For some reason, it alone was being attacked by spammers 🙁 

The ACFW conference is “write” around the corner, so I am prepping by working on my elevator pitch. Last conference, I focused on pitching to agents, but this conference, I am focusing on pitching to editors. This will be my second conference, but the very first conference where I am already represented by an agency! So, I’m pretty excited.

I have to admit that for me, the most stressful part of attending a writer’s conference is pitching. I get tongue-tied and can have the tendency to be quiet in large groups, so to avoid that from happening, I’ve been doing some research on some of the best pitch practices and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from my research and from my own experience.

Preparing for the pitch:

Now that you have a polished, completed manuscript, you are ready to start pitching, but where to start? Writing a 90k novel was hard work, but writing a 30 second elevator pitch to cover 90k words? Daunting. The only way to survive and thrive is to prepare and practice, practice, practice! When you are sitting down to write out your elevator pitch, there are a few key elements to note:

Plot. Go back to your outline or synopsis and find your climaxes, the points in the story that the character is faced with a choice. Make note of those points and jot down how it moves the story along.

Character. Who is your hero/heroine? Present the problem and what’s the repercussion will be of your hero/heroine’s choice.

Setting. When and where does the story take place? Do they live in the rich part of town? The poor side?

Theme. I’ve read on literary agents’ blogs that it is more important to focus on the story than the theme; however, I think it is very important to prepare for any questions that the editor may ask.

One sentence. If you could only describe your entire novel in one sentence, what would it be?

Time to edit. Now that you have the key elements to your story, it’s time to boil it down to 30 seconds. I find that it sometimes helps me to start off with my “back cover copy” blurb and work in these elements and then, edit it down.

Don’t worry about giving every detail. The elevator pitch is there to engage the editor/agent, to make them want more. If they are interested, they will ask to see you for an appointment, or they may ask you some questions on the spot.

Research the agent/editor and be prepared to answer questions such as: Is this a series? If it is a series, be prepared to give another elevator pitch about your next book.

Practice. Say it out loud. Get used to the feel of the words. You don’t have to memorize it, but get very familiar with it to the point you can ad lib details to fit each editor/agents questions.

Good luck with creating your elevator pitches! Happy writing!

Do you have any suggestions on preparing an elevator pitch?

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About Grace Hitchcock

Grace Hitchcock's first novella, The Widow of St. Charles Avenue, released in Barbour Publishing’s The Second Chance Brides Collection August 2017. Her second novella will release in Barbour Publishing’s The Southern Belle Brides Collection in 2018. She has a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace is a Louisiana Southerner living in Colorado with her husband, Dakota, and newborn son.

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