Imagine. You are in an elevator, the doors are closing and who is suddenly next to you? Exactly the person you wanted to meet! Whether it’s a publisher, a politician, the highest boss of the company you have in mind, a wealthy sponsor, or anyone else. This person can help make your dream come true! Now it comes down to telling your story in one minute in such a compelling way that the other person stays interested when the elevator doors open again, or asks for your business card.
A good elevator pitch is a good, short, engaging summary of your story. It lasts a maximum of sixty seconds and contains:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why this is a good idea
- What you expect from your listener
Many writers, entrepreneurs, and even companies think they can tell their story convincingly, briefly, and powerfully, but when it comes down to it, it often turns out not good enough.
A short, engaging summary of your book
As soon as you tell someone that you are writing a book, you will get asked the question: what is your book about? If your answer is too long or too vague, the listener will quickly lose their focus. Especially if you want to approach a publisher, sponsor, or expert, it is important to capture the essence of your book in a few sentences.
The formula below can help you with your non-fiction book:
“I help _______________(target audience), to ________________________ be/do/have (the value you give them), so that they __________________________(the outcome they REALLY want).”
For example, a relationship therapist might describe her book aimed at parents like this:
“I help married couples with children to bring the passion back into their marriage so that they feel acknowledged and valued in their relationship.”
One of the writers I coach, runs ‘Catamaran Guru’ with her husband and is now writing a book about it. Together we developed this elevator pitch for her book (which she can now also use for her business):
“We help couples who want to buy a boat and sail around the world to understand what this lifestyle really means and to buy the best boat for their purpose so they can actually enjoy their adventure.”
Your back cover as an executive summary
You only have one chance to make a first impression with your (potential) readers and that is the back cover of your book. That’s the first thing that visitors to a physical bookstore see. This is also the case online: the ‘blurb’ (the piece of text that describes your book on Amazon.com and other online bookshops) is your back cover text.
In short: your back cover is your marketing material and the promise to your readers. You can use it to test your book idea, ask for feedback, approach a publisher, and even presale your book. Your back cover also provides you with the structure for your writing process. So don’t wait until your book is ready, but create the elevator pitch for your book right now and then write your back cover.
Also read: Five facts about the back cover you probably didn’t know