Tag Archives: Elevator Pitch

Pitch Perfect?

As I mentioned in Thursday’s post, I’ve recently been working on the pitch for Who is Eric, using the method of starting with a “comfortable” length of pitch, and gradually honing it down to a 25 word elevator pitch. Thanks to everyone who dropped by Madison’s post and voted for or against my pitch last week – your feedback is invaluable.

Today, as promised, I’m giving you a chance to see the whole process I used to get there. It’s a little like the reverse of the Planning strategy I described a couple of weeks ago, so whether you’re interested in planning or pitching, or just nosey to find out more about the draft novel I’m working on, have a look at the pitching process below.

As ever, I’d love to hear your comments or feedback. I might one day need to use any of these pitches with publishers or agents!

Who is Eric?

Some days, Eric Bannerman is his own father. Other days he is his five year old self, and occasionally he plays the part of a door-to-door salesman. This is what his life has become.

Eric’s mother, Lily, lives in a room that’s not in her house, wearing a cardigan which doesn’t belong to her, talking to people who are long dead or whom she hasn’t seen in years. This is what her life has become.

But as Eric loses his mother to Alzheimer’s disease, he discovers more about her than he has ever known; he realises he must weave together the strands of her history in order to understand his own. Especially when he learns about his namesake: the mysterious Eric of his parents’ past. Somewhere hidden within his mother’s failing brain is the truth about this man, and more importantly, about Eric himself.

“Who is Eric” is a mainstream fiction novel which sits on the shelf between Lionel Shriver’s “A Perfectly Good Family” and Stefan Merrill Block’s “The Story of Forgetting”. It examines the secrets that families are built upon, and the question of what makes us who we are.

 *** 

Some days, Eric Bannerman is his own father, others his five year old self. This is what his life has become.

Eric’s mother, Lily, wears cardigans which don’t belong to her and sees people who are long dead. This is what her life has become.

But as Eric loses his mother to Alzheimer’s disease, he discovers more about her than he has ever known. Somewhere hidden within his mother’s failing brain is the truth about his mysterious namesake from his parent’s past, and more importantly, about Eric himself.

 ***

As Eric Bannerman loses his mother to Alzheimer’s disease, he discovers more about her than he has ever known. Somewhere hidden within his mother’s failing brain is the truth about his mysterious namesake, and more importantly, about himself.

 ***

Alzheimer’s disease is destroying Eric’s mother but somewhere within her failing brain is the truth about his mysterious namesake, and more importantly, himself.

 

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Pitch Perfect

Today my 25 word pitch for “Who is Eric?” appears on Madison Woods’ blog in her weekly event – Would you buy it? – to allow writers to test their pitches on readers and other writers. I’d be super grateful if you could nip over to her blog (http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/vote-for-it-would-you-buy-it-5/) and leave your votes and comments on her page, so that I can get the best possible picture of how I’m doing. It’s TOTALLY fine to say you don’t like the pitch, especially if you can give me any ideas on what would make it work better for you.

In the meantime, I thought I’d have a parallel post here about pitches in general. The pitch is used to sell a book to agents, publishers, retailers and even potentially readers. It is linked to, although not necessarily the same as, the blurb on the back of a paperback, which hooks the reader in and gives them both enough information and enough intrigue that they want to read the book.

The 25 word pitch is often called the Elevator Pitch, and that’s a term used in other businesses too. It’s a simple idea – you find yourself in the elevator with the perfect investor / publisher / agent / business contact and you have just one or two floors worth of time to sell your idea. Of course, you hope that having heard your elevator pitch, the guy is going to invite you into his office for a longer conversation, so you can save the details – the finances and all your complicated marketing strategies – for then. The elevator pitch is about getting his attention, and getting yourself that chance to pitch more fully.

It’s not easy. 25 words is not many, an elevator moves up a floor or two in a matter of seconds, but if you think about some of the greatest innovations of all time, it’s possible to see how it might work. With stories, it’s maybe harder. I have grappled with a few of my favourite novels and I don’t know how I would sum them up persuasively and uniquely in so few words.

One of the suggested ways is to start big, then gradually cut out more and more of the words until you find the 25 or so that really convey the essence of the story. On Monday, I’m going to post the longer versions of my pitch to show the process by which I achieved the 25 words Madison is offering, but for now I don’t want to sway you with more detail. Be sure to stop by next week and check out that post though. And in the meantime, please do pop over and see my pitch on Madison’s site.

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