There’s a Lot of Noise Out There.
As a writer, I find I’m always listening to other people’s conversations. Don’t get me wrong … I don’t do it to eavesdrop … it’s just a habit I developed to help me understand how people really talk to each other. It’s enormously helpful when crafting realistic dialogue.
I was at the recent 2016 Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University, when something I overheard really struck me.
While standing in the registration line, I heard one of the attendees ask another, “You’ve published a book? Super! What’s it about?” The question wasn’t directed at me, but I have to admit I was looking forward to the answer.
Unfortunately, the author responded with a long, rambling, hard-to-follow discourse that demonstrated an utter lack of understanding about what he really needed to do … quickly get across the premise of what his book will deliver.
I walked away (so did the questioner), certain I no longer cared.
The experience really made me think. As an indie author, you will be asked many times what your book is about. Will your answer draw people in, make them curious, and let them know right away whether or not it’s something they might be interested in reading?
Or will it make them walk away?
What Should It Be About?
In the business world a brief, persuasive sales speech is called an elevator pitch (a good one lasts no longer than a short elevator ride, hence the name). I’ve talked about it before.
Consider the information that must be delivered in mere seconds and you can see why crafting a great pitch is a bit of an art form. You need to be able, in 30 seconds or less, to explain why your book stands out from the crowd.
I was in the advertising business for a long time and our most creative minds spent endless hours focusing on the “promise” of a product. Most of the effort was to describe the product’s emotional payoff rather than its efficacy.
In other words, sell the sizzle, not the steak.
So how do you prepare to sell your book to a stranger?
Write It Down, Then Edit
You need to give a good idea of the genre, the book’s main hook, your qualifications, comparable books and why it’s different or exciting. It’s a lot to talk about, so once you have some idea of what to include, write it down.
Then condense that information and choose the points you think will best help you sell your book in the shortest amount of time. Go over your pitch until you’ve tailored it to pique your audience’s attention. It’s not easy.
I remember a quote attributed to German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He wrote a letter to a friend that started: “I’m sorry to send you such a long letter. I didn’t have time to send you a short one.”
I don’t mention it to be funny.
Just as Goethe was implying with his letter, it’s a challenge to create a summary that highlights exactly why your work would be of interest, and combines it all with clear benefits for the reader.
Remember It’s a Conversation
Although essentially a sales pitch, you can’t afford to come across like the stereotypical overzealous used-car dealer. Communicate your ideas clearly and concisely, focusing on your passion for the story.
Also be aware of body language, because it sometimes speaks louder than your words. To look comfortable is to be comfortable. Believe in your words and try not to sound too rehearsed.
And for Heaven’s sake, don’t forget to smile – you’re a published author and you’re proud of your work!
Crafting and perfecting an elevator pitch gives you a valuable resource for those times when you have to flip a switch and promote your book in the quickest, most efficient way possible.
When that stranger asks, “So, what’s your book about?” you have your opening … and you’re ready to go for it.
I’ll be at the “Books & Authors” book-signing event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson, on October 23, 2016, practicing my elevator pitches. Hope to see you there.
On November 19, 2016, I’ll be in attendance at the Readers Favorite award ceremony at the Regency Hotel in Miami.
On December 3, 2016, I’ll be signing books from 1:00-4:00 pm at the annual “Giving Season” event at the Orion Township Public Library (825 Joslyn Rd).
My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.
You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow
some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.
If you’ve written an interesting book too, consider submitting it to the Readers Favorite annual contest by using the banner link below.
What do you have to lose?
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