The Elevator and One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript, Service, or Product

Your elevator pitch, or simply your pitch, is a very condensed, yet concise description of your story, service, or product. It can be one to several sentences long. The idea is to grab the publisher or agent’s attention, or a potential client/customer's attention and interest with the core of your pitch in the span of under 3 minutes.

The marketing arena’s idea of the pitch is a one sentence calling card – you’re unique selling proposal or proposition. The idea behind the elevator pitch is to imagine that you get on an elevator and surprisingly you’re there with a potential client, or in the case of writing, a publisher or agent. You are given just the time for the elevator ride, which was approximated at 3 minutes, to pitch your story. That’s the elevator pitch.

It may also happen that the time you have to pitch your manuscript or other pitch may be under a minute. Suppose you’re at a conference and happen to get on the elevator at the end of the day with a frazzled publisher or potential client. You want that very short span of pitching time to be as effective as you can make it, without annoying or further frazzling your target. It may be the only opportunity you’ll have for a direct, although very brief, uninterrupted pitch.

The one sentence pitch, also known as a logline, takes time, effort, and a lot of practice. You need to condense your entire manuscript into one sentence. Within that sentence you need to harness the soul of your story in a simple, concise, and hooking pitch.

The general writing consensus is to do your best and create one sentence that tells what your story or service is about. Once you have it nailed, expand it into a few more, adding only the most important aspects of the story. This is excellent practice for tight writing.

This way you’ll have two different versions of a micro pitch. It’s important to always be prepared – you never know when or where you may come upon an unsuspecting target . . .  maybe you’ll have a few seconds, maybe you’ll have 3 minutes.

Here’s an en example from the blog at Buried in the Slush Pile (2):

The Emerald Tablet -- In this midgrade science fiction novel, a telepathic boy discovers that he is not really human but a whole different species and that he must save a sunken continent hidden under the ocean.

And, here’s my own one sentence pitch for my children’s fantasy chapter book, Walking Through Walls. The 99 word version hooked a contract with a publisher:

Children 7-10 love fantasy and magic and Walking Through Walls has just that; twelve-year-old Wang decides he’ll be rich and powerful if he can become a mystical Eternal.

Here's the tagline for the Article Writing Doctor: Your content marketing prescription

It's only four words and those words are highly targeted and relate to the title of my company. Short and sweet.

I could easily add: Content Writing Services for Small Businesses and Home Business. And, it would still be short and to the point.

Note for authors: Obviously, if you have a scheduled pitch for your story, you will need to adhere to the publisher or agent’s rules. You may be able to provide a pitch with 100-200 words. But, it’s a good idea to have that one sentence pitch on hand for that you-never-know moment.




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Anonymous said...

Great tips. Thank you for the examples you included in the post.

Karen Cioffi said...

Susanne, I'm so glad you found the post helpful.