Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Elevator Pitch. Anytime. Anywhere.


No matter where you go or who you speak with, always, always be ready to give an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch is:
*what your story is about
*three to four sentences NO MORE
*30 to 45 seconds long NO MORE
*dangling-so the listener wants to hear more
*spoken with the voice of a captain of the ship--because you as the author ARE. Confidence! Assured! 

Some of you will be going to the ACFW conference and have an excellent opportunity to give an elevator pitch to an agent or editor. This moment is not the time to own any introvert characteristics. Be proud of your work. Think of your MC. Their trials and triumphs. Share what God has helped you write. Shoulders back. Sit or stand straight. You've got this.

I am also here to proclaim there are a gabillion other times when you can say an elevator pitch. Hmmm. You don't think so? Well...rolling up sleeves. Here we go.

I recently went on a cruise down the Rhine River in Germany. I met people from so many countries. They are my new friends. When we meet people, there are typical questions asked: What is your name? Where are you from? and What do you do? My answer to number three: I am an author, or I am a writer.

Ours is one of the few careers that solicits more questions. "You're an author? Really? Do you write books?" This is the point where we answer, "Yes, I finished this book called _____ and it's about ... insert elevator pitch..." The total time answer: less than 30 seconds.

The fabulous bonus to this opportunity is: there probably will be more than one individual standing nearby listening. On that seven-day cruise, I gave my elevator speech at the meal table, in the hall, in the lounge, on the bus, walking in courtyards and marketplaces, and much more. Every single time the person raised their eyebrows and asked for more information. I gave out over 200 business cards, each with my tagline, a list of my books on Amazon, website, email address, and my photo with an image that looks like me ...very important.

Okay, you may think I am an extrovert. I went out and blabbed my head off about my book, stealing the conversation from others, dominating the meeting. LOL! Nope. I am so the opposite. I am the mouse in the corner. Hubby and I like to travel. This is where I meet people and am given the opportunity to run through the usual greeting questions that lead to: What do you do? My cue to give an elevator pitch.

Here are a few more ingredients:
**Do not memorize. Do not memorize. Do not memorize.

I have taught third grade and could always tell who memorized the spelling list and who learned how to spell the words by sound applying the concept. Those who memorized made silly mistakes. Spelled the words correctly only on the test but not in their work. The difference was obvious. 

Memorized pitches are jagged. A forgotten next word can trip up the who presentation. Feel your story then share.

**Beginning, middle, end components are not necessary. The point is to stimulate an interest in your story in a few seconds.

Choose pieces of your story that you'd like to present. It's okay to have more than one pitch ready. This gives you flexibility. One time you may focus on the MC, another the villain, or the hero, or the plot, or the setting. So many choices! Practice with your pet, he or she will love each version. Fill your message with intrigue, passion, heart, not with a goal to be word perfect. Say it as if telling your childhood friend is standing there excited to hear about your work.

Honestly, the editors and agents will be excited. They long to hear intriguing, inviting, dangling, passionate, stimulating story pitches.

And, people you meet in life feel the same. Authors who sell many books have this skill mastered. They radiate enthusiasm for their story. If you go to ACFW this year, watch Steven James. 

Whoa, I've taken up a lot of your time today. I hope this has helped you. Do you have any questions?

~Mary Vee
#TipfulTuesday #TheWritersAlley #amwriting #elevatorpitch #conference #sharingyourstory

Photo by Mary Vee, Taken near Amsterdam, Netherlands

Mary Vee -  Mary Vee - Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, earned her MA in Counseling, and married an Air Force vet.  Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.

Visit Mary at her websiteblog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

Mary's new release, Daring to Live, is a new release on Amazon.


Barbara Fox said...

Hi Mary,

Thank you for this encouraging post. Just what I needed this morning as I get prepared for my first ACFW conference. It's a little nerve wracking. I've read so much on pitch that my mind wants to screech to a halt in protest. You gave two pieces of advice that are especially useful to me. Don't memorize. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And practice with your pet. This morning I'll practice the pitch with my ex-wild horse, Reno. For a bucket of oats he'd probably let me read him the entire manuscript without a single critical comment!
Thanks for the encouragement.

Mary Vee Writer said...

So...Barb...should I also tell you the method I taught my 3rd graders for a similar activity? I asked them to sit in a room surrounded by their stuffed animals and practice their speech. We adults, though, need the encouraging, understanding eyes of our beloved pets who never ever judge us. So glad this helped. Best wishes for your first conference. You are going to come home so happy. New friends. Tons of info. Worship. Great classes. And...kind editors and agents who want to help.