30 Seconds to Make the Sale
Every new venture requires an elevator pitch, one that’s a catchy and compact “sale.” This pitch is designed to describe your book, demonstrate a market need for it, and explain why you are the person to write it, all covered in a brief statement. Whether you’re speaking with a publisher, literary agent, or a potential reader, a persuasive pitch can make the difference between a sale and a rejection.
For authors, this 30-second pitch may feel entirely impossible and overwhelming. How do you turn an 80,000 word book into a 50 word deal-sealer? Despite how it may seem, it really is doable; you just need to approach it in pieces.
- Why this book?
- What’s in it for the reader?
- Why are you the person to write it?
It’s much easier to write freely and prune your words down after it’s written. Start with each of the above questions and write whatever comes to mind, then focus on reducing the word count to 50 words or less.
Why this Book?
You need a succinct way of describing the uniqueness of your book: what makes it stand out from other books in the market? Readers can find books online or in stores, so their reading options are endless and your book needs to provide new information or a new perspective to garner any interest.
If you’re writing a book about business, start by describing how you took your weekend hustle and turned it into a profitable business. The idea isn’t to invent a new topic, but to approach a subject with a new perspective.
What’s in it for Me?
With an oversaturated market and people spending more and more time watching screens instead of reading, you need to inspire people to actually read your book. They won’t do that unless there’s a clear, compelling, and concrete value you can add to their life. Are you going to teach them how to properly budget? Empower them to quit their day job and become a freelance artist?
The largest selling point is what your book offers them. If you’re doing this pitch for a publisher or literary agent, there needs to be evidence that readers will buy your book in order to gain something. Publishers won’t take a risk on an author who hasn’t thought of this application: there has to be a need in the market that your book fills.
Why are You the Person to Write this Book?
There are thousands of writers out there, so now’s the time to make a case as to why you are the person to write this book. What’s the knowledge and perspective you bring that no one else could? You can finesse this, but like a resume, you can’t fake your qualifications. People will find out and your reputation will be ruined
It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. Describe the credentials and experience you used to write the book. If you’ve had rare or unusual challenges or experiences, include these. Maybe a near-death experience or a divorce inspired you to quit your job and go back to school. The readers will embrace these personal experiences as valid credentials as to why you are the right author for the job.
This is a formulaic approach to writing an elevator pitch. After you have the content down, go through and make the sentence fluid. Remember, this is a conversation, even if you’ve rehearsed your side of it. Add some of your personality in so that your voice comes through in the language.
Doing so will take a pitch from this:
“My book will teach you the basics of using a book to build your brand so you stand out from the competition. Readers will see the benefits of writing a book to boost their credibility and will obtain tips on how to approach the process. We at BrightRay Publishing are qualified because we are a team of writers and experienced businessmen. “
“Lots of people want to write a book, but few people actually ever do it. Why? Because like any other major accomplishment, writing a book takes time and effort that most just can’t commit to. That’s also exactly why a book can distinguish you from your colleagues and open the door to otherwise impossible opportunities. This is not only a step-by-step guide to write your book, but what to do with it afterwards. This book, written by two industry experts, will tell you how to publish your book and maximize all of the benefits of being an author.”
The last step of preparing your elevator pitch is to practice saying it. Yes, really. Practice on your own in front of the mirror and then try it out with friends. You want to speak smoothly and confidently, without awkward pauses as you try to remember your key points.
You never know when you’ll meet a publisher, reputable author, or eager reader. With a polished elevator pitch already in your back pocket, you’re more likely to make an impression and network successfully. Publishing a book is more than just writing it—it’s about getting your book into readers’ hands.