Create an Elevator Pitch for Your Book

26303220_sIf you are in business, you are probably familiar with the creation of an elevator speech, a 30-second response to the question “what do you do?” But have you ever considered the need for an elevator pitch for your book?

Imagine this scenario: you are at a party or a networking event and someone asks about your book. Do you have a quick and succinct answer that truly encapsulates the essence of what your book is about? If not, you might want to consider the value of crafting an answer.

Why is an elevator pitch important?

The attention span of most people is very limited and therefore the opportunity you have to capture their attention must be quick and captivating. I was once at a networking event and when asked, one person said that she “tells people where to go for a living.” She is a travel agent. But her clever response made people laugh, grabbed their attention and helped them remember her and what she did. 

“The only people who don’t need elevator pitches are elevator salesmen.” Jarod Kintz

An elevator speech for your book will do the same; grab the attention and help them remember and hopefully seek out a copy of your book.

How do you begin to create an elevator pitch?

Think about the words that you would put on the back cover of your book; how do you describe the story in a way that makes people curious enough to want to read more?

Let’s start by examining the process for creating a business elevator speech.  “The Noodle” offers these four simple steps:

Four step process for crafting an elevator pitch

This is the process devised by sales trainer James Nudelman a.k.a. the Noodle.

Step 1 – Begin with an ACTION PHRASE that is NOT a noun. (”I am a X” — but don’t use a “label” in the blank. You don’t want people to put you in a box.)

Step 2 – Add a one sentence statement about what you DO. (”I do Y” — What do you help people or businesses do?)

Step 3 – Give a statement of the SPECIFIC IMPACT. (”People who utilize my process find Z” — list one or two things from the perspective of your potential employer.)

Step 4 – End with a CALL TO ACTION. (”I am looking to be introduced to A” — be specific! If you ask for something non-specific you are likely to get it. What good is that?)

Let’s break those down to the bare minimum:

  • Action
  • Do
  • Impact
  • Call to Action

How can you translate these to your book?

If you have written a non-fiction business book you might say:

My book, Financial Planning, is a how-to workbook that offers specific tips and techniques (action) to help business professionals understand their financial picture (do) so that they save enough money to retire (impact) in the style to which they have become accustomed. You can find my book on Amazon for just $9.95. (call to action)

Let’s try a fiction example:

In my book, Traveler to the East End, the main character travels back in time (action) to 18th century England to uncover a family secret (do) that has plagued her family and prevents her happiness. During her quest she encounters knights and royalty, a threat of war and is accused of a punishable crime. Will she be successful? (impact) You can find my book on Amazon or download it on your e-reader. (call to action)

The key to success is the ability to quickly convene the essence of your book in a way that captures the attention of your audience and inspires them to learn more; hopefully making a purchase and spreading the word to their friends.

Bottom Line: If you don’t take the time to create an elevator speech you will be forced to try and explain your book off the top of your head. Often times this will mean that you ramble and lose the attention of the person with whom you are speaking. Just like the travel agent that tells people where to go, you want to be memorable.