This was such a great post on why your book pitch matters, even for self-published authors, that I wanted to share it. (Reblogged from http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/10/book-pitch/)
Imagine for a moment that you’ve hopped into an elevator on your way somewhere. You’re carrying the proof of your book that just arrived from the printer. A gentleman sharing the elevator notices your book and says, “Hey, that looks interesting. What’s it about?”
What’s your response? Do you fumble, start in one direction then go in another? Do you find yourself just getting started when the elevator reaches the floor where this fellow has to get off? Have you made the most of this opportunity?
As an indie author, you will be asked many times what your book is about. Sometimes these inquiries are idle elevator chatter, but sometimes you’ll be asked the question by people crucial to your book’s success.
At a trade show, for example, you might get asked the same question and have about the same amount of time to answer. Talking to a bookstore buyer falls into the same category.
Recently, I met an author who was asked about his book by someone he was sitting next to on a flight. Before the flight was over, he had an order for 1,000 copies of his book. His talk with the person who asked about his book lasted a lot longer than an elevator ride, but those first 30 seconds are critical.
Will your pitch draw people in, make them curious about your book, and let them know right away whether or not it’s for them?
Where the Pitch Came From
It’s customary in traditional publishing for authors to be encouraged to work on their “pitch.” What is a book pitch exactly?
A pitch—sometimes referred to as an “elevator pitch” because it takes about as much time to deliver as it takes to ride an elevator from the lobby to one of the upper floors of one of those big buildings on Sixth Avenue in New York City—is a short sales pitch for your book.
But it’s not just any sales pitch. Your book pitch has to accomplish a number of things at the same time, and do them quickly and efficiently.
It has to give a good idea of the book’s
Consider that all this information must be delivered in 40 to 60 seconds, and you can see why crafting a great pitch is a bit of an art form.
But why, you ask, do I need to do this if I’m not pitching any agents or editors? After all, we’re publishing our own books now, so who is there to pitch?
Lifetime of Your Pitch
The sole purpose of a pitch is to create interest in your book. It has to make people want to know more.
Creating this quick summary can have lots of other ramifications. Here are some ways you’ll find your pitch being useful in other areas of your book promotion and marketing.
Crafting Your Pitch
Years ago, I heard a quote attributed to the great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He wrote to a friend and started his letter by saying something to the effect of, “I’m sorry to send you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to send you a short one.”
And it’s so true. It’s challenging to create a summary of your book that highlights exactly why it would be of interest, gives an idea of the type of book it is in terms of other books that might be more familiar, and distills the author’s experience and qualifications to write the book. Combining this with clear benefits for the reader makes it even more difficult.
Here are some suggestions:
Paring your pitch to its essentials will force you to focus on your book, its positioning, and its benefits to potential readers. If you can also communicate this with some excitement, you’ll have a winner.
Try it with your own book and see what you come up with. This can be a valuable experience, and I’ll predict that you’ll be using the pitch you develop for years to come.