You’ve probably heard this term before. It isn’t just for writers. It’s for anyone trying to sell themselves or a product. If you are in an elevator with someone and they ask what you do for a living, you only have the 30 seconds it takes to ride the elevator to hook them. If you have multiple books, you need different speeches to fit the occasion.
When people ask what my kids’ series is about, I answer, “About a fast-pitch softball team where the girls learn that being part of a team is about more than what happens on the field.”
If there is more time, follow up with the logline—one or two sentences that explain who the main character and the conflict for your novel. WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY.
I add that it is a ten-part series that focuses on different issues that middle-graders are interested in such as lying, bullying, separation, etc. Usually that gets folks asking questions and I can expand on some of the topics addressed.
How is my series different? What makes it stand out? Many sports books have been written for middle grade, but they tend to focus on boys’ sports. This one is about a girls’ team.
Write out a few versions of your elevator speech and practice in front of a mirror. Then step it up by talking to a spouse, child, or friend. It must sound natural. Don’t try to use flowery words or sound stiff. That’s a dead giveaway that you are delivering a pitch rather than having a conversation.
An elevator speech will come in handy if you happen to run into an agent or publisher at a party, wedding, or Sunday picnic. Or, after your novel is in print (or on eBook), this is your chance to sell a few more books. Word-of-mouth starts with YOU!