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In this episode we’re going to talk about the legendary elevator pitch … and how to create one that does exactly what an elevator pitch should do. Talking Points:
- What is an elevator pitch?
- Sentence – High concept, the hook
- Paragraph – Radio Pitch / Back cover copy …
- Page – Short Synopsis
- Why do you need one?
- Pitching to readers
- Pitching to influencers (taste makers, editors, agents)
- The Subway pitch (especially at conferences) – a few quick stories
- An example, James’ first novel, Rooms:
- Don’t put every worm on the hook
- This is SHOW BUSINESS! Leave the audience wanting more!
- Log lines
- Using the “What if?” motif works well for many writers
- What if you were given a chair and told it was made by Jesus Christ. Would you believe them?
- Practice. Then practice more. Then practice more.
- Twitter –
- You’ll use your elevator pitch forever
- Send us your elevator pitches and we’ll do a show that comments on them.
Okay, I have a novella coming out in June. The story revolves around a fifteen year old boy who is struggling with the divorce of his parents and a bully down the street. He keeps agression locked up, but in the end finds hope and freedom through Christ. My pitch is-
“My Friend Louie” is the story of a Bi-Polar fifteen year old boy and his baseball bat….
The worst example I heard, when I asked an author what her book was about:
“It starts with a prologue, and it’s a fantasy and there’s this boy…”
And that was it.
She needs to listen to this podcast.
My elevator pitch:
In this warm and humorous story of mothers, daughters and absent fathers, young Honey Barkin leaves her unconventional family determined to live an independent life, but a few careless choices later finds herself all too alone on the gritty streets of Los Angeles.
If they want to hear more:
Armed with misguided confidence she goes from a lusty schoolmate crush to a seemingly exciting and adult affair with a middle-aged man, then drifts into a precarious foothold in a Silver Lake hipster household. Each is fun while it lasts but when things go awry, she doggedly tries to muddle along, counting on others to help her, without realizing just how dark life can become. With each setback she becomes ever more vulnerable to the consequences of her misguided choices. Finally unable to turn to anyone for help – her friends and family kept at arm’s length, and she and her mother estranged by their secrets – she finds within herself what she needs to survive, discovering her own ingenuity and strength just when she has nearly lost everything.
And when I want to give a VERY short description of the kind of writing this book is:
A coming of age novel written for adults
One of the difficulties of writing this is that the compelling event of the book is the last third when this girl ends up homeless. But many readers have exclaimed that they didn’t see that coming and it had a lot of emotional impact, so I haven’t wanted to have a spoiler in the description.
A candidate for the US Senate learns she doesn’t need special powers to do the right thing.
My elevator pitch for “Replacement Gorilla”
Stuntman Clay Stark just got his dream job: he’s going to play the gorilla in Intrepid Studios’ latest cliffhanger serial, “Jungle Jones.” The problem is, he’s filling in for Ernie Fleischman, the King of the Gorilla Men, who was starring as the beast until his sudden and untimely death on the set. Clay finds himself up to his neck in poverty-row studio politics, out-of-control directors, and cops looking for easy answers. Now bodies are stacking up and Clay in on the hook, and to make matters worse, someone may be sabotaging the set, trying to do end his stint as a replacement gorilla. It’s up to Clay to solve the mystery before he takes a fall he can’t bounce back from.