The Importance Of An Elevator Pitch When Writing & Publishing A Book

Posted at 15:49pm on 13th March 2011


What do you do when the book you're writing fails to impress the publisher to whom you've submitted it, on the grounds that the subject is not considered sufficiently compelling?

This was the scenario facing me two or three weeks ago, and I confess that my immediate reaction was to draw in my horns and retreat.  Others - whether an aspiring author or an established writer, as I am - might have greeted this news rather more vehemently.  However, on reflection, I soon realised that the publisher's conclusion was correct.


For any aspiring author who doesn't understand the relevance and nature of an elevator pitch when writing and publishing a book, this is the one minute description (the time spent in an elevator / lift) that sums up your qualifications for writing the book, the theme, purpose, and topicality of your book, plus the reason why the world - your readers and this particular publisher - can't afford to turn you down.  Here's an example of mine.

1 My Qualifications:

Based on a talk I gave, as Keynote Speaker for ABC Organisation. . .

2 Theme:

. . .my book is about the human need for self-empowerment . . .

3 Purpose:

. . .to help readers see the failings of a philosophy like the Law of Attraction, or Power of Positive Thinking . . .

4 Topicality:

 . . .especially at a time like this, with a failing economy . . .

5 Readers:

. . .when confidence in world order has been sapped, and they need to see, through the personal stories of  those who do succeed in life, that the answer to the problem is to replace a failed philosophy . . .

6 Compelling:

. . .with a belief system that is compelling and fulfilling, and which they, themselves, can put into practice.

It wasn't exactly like this, of course, but I thought I had my elevator pitch off pat.  And perhaps I did!  Because the commissioning editor took my manuscript to peruse - and only later did she reject it, as it stood - as lacking the page turning qualities she was looking for.

So what, as an established author, did I do?  I'll tell you that next time in: Conflict Resolution: Writers' Block & How To Overcome It

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