Writing Time, Part 31. The Elevator Pitch Line: 10 Minutes’ Work to Save Hours of Revisions

Elevator doors

One of the finest ways to use 10 minutes in the week is to master the elevator pitch: that is, one sentence that encapsulates your story and intrigues the listener. You can’t figure this one out too soon. Even if you’re on Page One, with no thought of pitching to an agent or writing a blurb for your ebook for another six months, it will be as useful to you in your growing career as a quality pocket knife on a wilderness camping trip.

  • You need to be ready with your elevator pitch when relatives, friends and co-workers ask you exactly what an agent, editor, or Amazon reader is going to ask: “What’s your book about?”
  • You will need your elevator pitch to put on your author page and for your blurb if you decide to go with indie publishing.
  • You will need your elevator pitch for your query letter if you decide to go the traditional publishing route.
  • But the person who most needs to hear your elevator pitch while you’re still writing your book is you. If you’ve got that gripping sentence in mind, it’s going to keep you on track and can save hundreds of hours that might be spent writing pages that you’ll throw out and revising chapters that go nowhere.

The best book I’ve read on building pitch lines is Blake Snyders’s Save the Cat, a favourite professional read. Here are two of his examples:

  • A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorists – Die Hard.
  • A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend – Pretty Woman.

There are few better ways to use 10 minutes than to write out and polish your elevator pitch.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing day for you. Cheers Mel


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