How to Craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch/Speech

How to Craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch/Speech

If you want to get the most out of social gatherings, you need to be a master of the elevator speech…or at least have several well-crafted elevator pitches ready to deploy.

Before we start to analyze how to craft the perfect elevator pitch, let's describe what it is.

An Elevator Pitch is a short self-introduction that you make at a social gathering to ‘hook’ or get people around you interested in you and what you do.

I have already written articles about how to write blurbs and author bios, but an elevator speech is a different kind of marketing content. As I have mentioned earlier, you may want to have different elevator pitches geared to the person you are talking to.

An author’s elevator speech might be directed to:

  • Friends or fans, introducing a new book;

  • Editor, cover designer, or co-author, to convey the main idea and feeling behind your story;

  • Publisher or agent, to show that your story would serve the market's needs and result in a positive ROI.

All these elevator speeches for the same author will be totally different in style and message. However, all of them must be brief, aiming to deliver your message in 60 seconds or less in a friendly, informal tone. (around 150 words)

Say who you are, what you do, and what you want to achieve.

  • Focus on the essentials.

  • Be positive and persuasive within your limited time.

  • Focus on what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do.

  • Practice on your pet, friend, family member; record it to analyze how to improve the message you want to convey, and your delivery.

Here are some suggestions you might want to include:

  • WHO are you? Write one sentence about yourself, mentioning not only that you are an author, but also the genre you want to be anchored to. E.g. Hi, I’m a developmental editor and a speculative fiction author. I’ve published flash fiction in an anthology and will be publishing my own collection very soon.

  • WHAT do you Do or Offer? Using your author bio as a guide, write a sentence or two about the overarching themes in your writing. E.g. I love to explore the complexity of high fantasy (or near-future) worlds and topics such as high-tech, medical innovations, and human relationships.

  • What Problem Do You Solve? Identify the value you can offer the people who listen to you and show them the benefits of your story. E.g. The most recent flash fiction I published on Goodreads is Whistle in the Sky. It was challenging to write but also worth the effort because I now feel more confident about writing such a sensitive topic as war. (P.S. Notice I mentioned Goodreads; you want them to know where they can read your story or buy your book. Bonus: authors might ask me how to deal with sensitive topics, readers may want the behind-the-scenes story.)

  • How are you Different? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? What sets you apart from every other author in your genre? It’s usually some background you add to your stories, often unconsciously. E.g. I grew up in a small village and spent a lot of time playing outside, always ready for mischief. This is why I enjoy developing morally grey yet adorable characters.

  • Ask a Question: Elevator pitches are generally delivered in-person, so you want to be social and engage your lead in conversation. You might ask about the genre and tropes they are interested in.

  • Give a Call-to-Action. Once your pitch is done, give the lead something to do next in a call-to-action. E.g. give them a business card with a QR code to your newsletter subscription, or the link to your author website or amazon author page.

As you can see from the examples, it’s not that crucial to know who is listening. I’m currently searching for both authors and potential readers and have offers for both parties. In an elevator speech, I don’t need to say too much. I simply need to specify the genre and what I offer - simply an opening for further discussion. If there are people in the social gathering interested, they know I would be more than happy to talk further.

That’s it. Now that you know the core structure and purpose of an elevator pitch, go and create three different pitches (for a potential reader, a cover designer, an editor or an agent), practise saying them and be prepared for the next social gathering.

You can find more analytical insights in my book marketing and developmental editing blog.