If there's anything I've noticed, it's the extreme love/hate relationship authors have with the elevator pitch. In the words of my favorite tag on AO3, #themortifyingordealofbeingknown. There's something... absolutely terrifying about talking about something you made to strangers, something that hits different than writing up the summaries. A lot of the folks I've talked to don't even think about the elevator pitch until they're asked for one (virtual event greenrooms are the ultimate procrastinators' playground).
So I figured "hey, I do elevator pitches for other people for a living, maybe I can help" and thus, this madness was born. I spied on my coworkers' interactions with customers and thought deeply about how I approach it and came up with a few ideas I think might help if you're also struggling with formatting an elevator pitch (or if you've stumbled upon this article 10 minutes before a virtual panel).
|ID: a swirling purple background. The phrase "going up!" is written in big block letters, and there's a cartoon outline of an elevator|
Part 1: How do I even explain the plot?
- Cheat a little and take favorite sections from the flap copy and string them together into something vaguely coherent; the more you practice it, the more your brain will choose what phrases it likes in what order.
- Zero in on the big themes and concepts.
- I find it way too easy to get bogged down by my favorite details (and then I just start rambling because they need context darn it!)
Part 2: I think I've got words, how do I put them into people's ears?
- Focus on the ✨vibes✨
- Tell us the tropes! All of them. Yes, even that one.
- If for social media: Do a silly trend or if you're feeling extra, make a skit
- Be ridiculous. Look at some of the people whose entire pages are skits. Relish in the bad wigs and silly acting. Embrace it.
- Get on the radar of the fandoms of some of your comps--especially effective if the fandom is in a hiatus period and a drought of content.
- Nothing has made my day more than when I saw someone wearing a shirt related to Our Flag Means Death, called them out, and sent them home with four books to read until season 2.
- Don't worry about getting it right every time or getting everything you want into a pitch every time.
- Sometimes the words don't want to word, and that's okay.