This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
AU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Australia version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > Lift your chances

Lift your  chances
Writing Magazine

Lift your chances

Posted Monday, 2 October 2017   |   2129 views   |   General Interest   |   Comments (0) Be ready for your sixty-second chance to shine with Adrian Magson’s pitch correction

The ‘elevator pitch’ is not a myth. Well, not entirely. Originating in the film industry, it probably now consists of an electronic bombardment rather than accosting a producer in the street… although I’m sure there are some industry professionals who might correct me on this after having been stalked by a desperate writer.

The elevator or sidewalk pitch derives from the time it takes to sell the idea of a project between a producer exiting their cab, crossing the pavement/sidewalk and into an elevator, leaving the luckless writer talking to a pair of closing doors.

If we assume said producer is (a) fit, (b) in a hurry or (c) terminally disinterested, let’s also assume it takes less than a minute. Not much time to talk the talk, is it?

You might think this situation applies solely to the film world. After all, writers of books aren’t that pushy, are they? (Stifle your scepticism.) The concept, however, is pretty much the same. All writers have something to sell, and being able to talk clearly about your book is a must if you wish to take it further than your desktop.

Let’s assume you take the non-confrontational route and submit your work to an agent or editor at a pre-arranged ‘pitch’ session. You’ll have to describe what your book is about, because right now it’s either a pile of paper or a file on your PC, with no cover image for instant identification and only your synopsis to explain it for you. It’s basically just you and your ability to talk a good tune while remaining calm in the face of a total stranger – among a roomful of other hopefuls all doing the same.


Some of the elements to cover are the genre; who you see as your target audience; whether the book is a standalone or the first of a series (if they ask this, it could be a buying signal so be ready for it); and whether you have another project in the works. In fact, you might subconsciously ask yourself similar questions browsing in a bookshop. You want to know what the book’s about; has the author written other titles; is it a standalone or a series. The main difference for an agent or editor is, does your book have legs and can they build on it? Can they build on you?

Other points to consider are background, writing experience, preferred reading, how you see yourself developing as a writer. Incidentally, it’s probably best to avoid saying you write like author A (insert famous name), because you’re probably not the best judge of that. As any sales professional will tell you, why mention the opposition anyway? This is you and your book you’re selling, so focus on that.

In terms of timing, you’re unlikely to be restricted to a sixty-second slot at one of these pitch sessions. They’re usually a little more generous than that. But the time will zip by on rails as you focus on nailing your book in a calm, cogent fashion, while trying not to go all floppy-lipped in front of a total stranger and bawl your eyes out.
Personally, having been on both sides of the table, the pitchee end is a lot easier. Listening to an eager writer describing their book can always be backed up by reading the manuscript afterwards. For the pitcher (you), there is no afterwards, no opportunity to step back and say, ‘Oh, and something else I should mention… ’ because that will be it. There are others waiting to take your place.

If the session goes well, they might ask you for a ‘full’ – the complete manuscript. At this juncture your jaw might hit the floor and you’ll assume you’ve hit the jackpot. Calm down; this is just the beginning of a process.
You might in any case not have one to send them. Some people don’t, and have only a ‘partial’ in existence. In my experience, in what is a fast-moving industry, where people move on and ideas and fashions change, I’d recommend having a completed manuscript ready to go.
 
Think about it: if you have an editor or agent sitting in front of you who comes across as hot to trot and wants to read your book, you’re already streets ahead of where you were just a couple of minutes ago. They want to read and assess whether your work is worthy of publication. Cool or what?

In this situation, with only a few well-thumbed pages and an incomplete story in mind, which could take weeks or months to finish, the potential could easily slip away. This is a golden opportunity to catch them while they’re keen and interested. The other point is, always have another idea in mind for the next project. This business is about long hauls, not one-offs.
 
Either way, you want to leave them with an impression they can carry with them. And that doesn’t include telling them that they’ll die in poverty and ignorance if they pass up this golden opportunity of signing you up. They’ve heard that before and it doesn’t work.

For more great articles like this get the September 2017 issue of Writing Magazine below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - August 2018 Replica & Mobile Edition included
$7.99
Or 799 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.25 per issue
SAVE
34%
$62.99
Or 6299 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.83 per issue
SAVE
27%
$34.99
Or 3499 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 5.99 per issue
SAVE
25%
$5.99
Or 599 points

View Issues

About Writing Magazine

Writing Magazine is the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for ALL writers. Whether you write for pleasure or publication, whatever your style or genre, this magazine has something to help you.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Writing Magazine today.

Most read articles this month


ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

ALEX HILDRED: MARY ROSE DIVER

When she took up scuba 40 years ago, Alexandra Hildred had no idea that her life would become inextricably linked with a Tudor warship. Now the Mary Rose Trust’s Head of Research and Curator of Ordnance & Human Remains, she tells STEVE WEINMAN about the lead-up to the raising of the iconic wreck, still one of the biggest such operations ever attempted. More...
WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

WHEN THE MUSE GOES MISSING!

Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow More...
5 Digital Magazines for Spring

5 Digital Magazines for Spring

Here at Pocketmags, we simply cannot wait to welcome in a new season of bloom and blossom. Jumpstart your motivation with our selection of 5 digital magazines for spring. More...
The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

The 5 Best Arts & Crafts Magazines

From the early days of digging our hands into playdough and getting messy with paper mache, to growing up and learning how to meticulously operate a needle and thread for the very first time, we will always have the wonderful movement of arts and crafts to thank for these simple pleasures of life. More...
How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without a Valentine

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without a Valentine

It’s been hitting you in the face since the 1st of February, from the red and pink hues occupying every storefront window, to the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate taking over your local supermarket, there is simply no escaping the mushy romantic vibes of Valentine’s Day. More...
The 5 Best Photography Magazines

The 5 Best Photography Magazines

Here at pocketmags.com, we have the 5 best photography magazines to inspire and inform your skills and get you snapping away with your beloved camera of choice! More...
The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

The 5 Best Gardening Magazines

It’s time to literally stop and smell the roses and grow a patch of paradise that you can not only enjoy but also, be the proud owner of. Give the birds and butterflies a reason to mingle amongst the tulips and a chance for your garden to be the best it can be. More...
5 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

5 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

It’s the one, and the only day of the year that is devoted to a crazy, little thing called love. Where all you need are three words, eight letters and twenty-four hours to steal the heart of the one you most desire. More...
New to Pocketmags: True Crime Library

New to Pocketmags: True Crime Library

Pocketmags is eager to announce the adoption of a range of new and thrilling titles - ones that are sure to fascinate or spook you to your core - we introduce you to, True Crime Library. More...
The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

The 5 Best Caravan & Motorhome Magazines

Get ready to pack your things and go - it’s time to hit the road Jack! Put the pedal to the metal and ride the route until the sun goes down - after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination. More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points