What’s An Elevator Pitch Anyway? (RWA 2010 Blog Series)

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If you are a writer, have you ever bumbled through your words when someone asked you what your book was about? Yeah, me too. This is where having an elevator pitch can come in handy.

An elevator pitch is a brief description of your story.

Why is it good to have one? Your ability to accurately and succinctly describe your book demonstrates that you actually know what your core story is.  It also shows your professionalism and understanding of the industry.

Get an elevator pitch down for your book, and you’ll never again have to worry that you’re making someone’s eyes glaze over when you try to sum up your 90k book in as few words as possible. This is very helpful if you plan on attending a conference or mini-conference, where the next person to ask about your book might happen to be an agent or editor (hey, you never know). 

So what should your elevator pitch contain? Well, I got this great tip from the “The Tiny Art of Elevator Pitches: How to Craft Them and How to Use Them” Workshop presented by speaker Carrie Lofty during RWA’s 2010 Conference. (This was a great workshop that covered a lot of points, so I highly recommend it to anyone considering purchasing it from RWA.)

When writing romance, you will want to cover the main parts of the story, being:

  • Hero’s arch – descriptors for your hero and what kind of person he is
  • Heroine’s arch – descriptors for your heroine and what kind of person she is
  • Romantic arch – what sort of romantic conflict is there?
  • External Conflict – what is it?

Since you want to make your pitch succinct, don’t use names for your characters. Instead use descriptors as well as their purpose in the story.

Using the above guideline, I’ll share my elevator pitch for my most recent manuscript, Demon Born:

A half-demon, inter-dimensional bounty hunter is charged with saving Earth from a zombie apocalypse, but to do so he might have to destroy the key to the apocalypse, the one woman he can’t seem to resist.

So rather than name my hero and heroine, I use their biggest defining qualities (he is a half-demon, Inter-dimensional bounty hunter, she the key to the apocalypse), and I tie the external conflict (apocalypse) to the romantic one (he is falling for a woman he may have to kill).

So what do you think, is this helpful for creating an elevator pitch? Anyone care to share one of theirs?

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6 thoughts on “What’s An Elevator Pitch Anyway? (RWA 2010 Blog Series)

    Ciara Knight said:
    November 29, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Great pitch. I like the premise of your story.

    Katalina Leon said:
    November 29, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Thank you Rosalie, this gave me something to think about!

    Julia Rachel Barrett said:
    November 29, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Great succinct blog – thanks!

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