Oh god, another Einstein quote:
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough
Or is it:
If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.
The sources are unclear. Suffice to say, the principle of the thing is that being able to tell someone else what you are working on as a writer is an important skill to hone.
Why? Well, I am SO glad you asked!
1) Because it makes it clear to yourself what you are doing.
2) Helps to get people interested: too many knob ends gets confusing fast
3) Allows you to talk about your work without giving away the juicy bits
4) It seriously works as an elevator pitch: if you bump into that VIP publisher/producer/funder or what have you that you’ve been searching for
Number 1 is of course the most important. By creating an elevator pitch you can save yourself from wasting effort and time on ideas and parts of your writing that do not contribute to the whole, or the intended end article.
A quick scratch around on the internet will provide you with a long line of video tutorials, articles and advice on how to craft your elevator pitch. Depending on who you are and what you are doing, it is wise to curate your own format from all this advice. But they all have a few things in common, so let’s look at that as our first step.
An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define your work and its value proposition. It needs to be succinct, while conveying important information.
To craft a great pitch, follow these steps.
* Identify your goal
What sort of book are you writing? Is it non-fiction, business advice, a novel, poetry, essays or a biography?
* Tell the story line
All stories, no matter how complicated can be distilled into very basic elements. For example: A love story (girl meets boy), a revenge story, a factual journey, solving a mystery. Drop in one or two characters. Do not tell the plot. Just the story line.
* Communicate your USP
What makes what you are writing special or unique? What is your twist, the thing that will make this person talk to you and not 10 other writers?
* Engage question
Finish off with asking a question that makes your listener respond directly to what you have just said. For example: Have you ever read a love story space detective thriller before? This forces your listener to consider the information just relayed and respond to it directly. There are therefore more likely to remember it afterwards.
Try to keep a business card or other take-away items with you (like previous books, articles you’ve written etc.), which helps the other person remember you and your work.
The Golden Rule: Cut out any information that doesn’t absolutely need to be there.
To get to work on your elevator pitch, try and state these four aspects:
1) What is your book/work?
2) What is the story?
3) What makes it unique?
4) Why should this person engage with you/it?
Try it out and watch how yours changes over time…. Hopefully!