Creating An Elevator Pitch For Your Author Platform

W e talk a lot about needing an “elevator pitch” for your book. It’s the concept that if you were stuck on an elevator with a publisher, agent or anyone who could help you sell your book, how could you, in thirty seconds, convince them to consider your book. That’s the approximate time you have from the time the elevator doors close to the time they reopen and person steps off.

You obviously don’t have time for a full blown presentation of your book, so you have to tell the whole story in just a couple of sentences. You must give just what is absolutely necessary to tell them what your book is about and why people would buy it- no “clever” mysterious cliffhanger; just the facts. Remember, the elevator pitch is not intended to get them to buy or read your book. It’s intended to get them interested in your book enough to want to help you market, represent or publish the book.

As an author, however, have you spent any time thinking about the elevator pitch for your author platform? Chances are that you will have opportunity to pitch your platform more than you will your book, and your platform can be the thing that ultimately sells more books and even catches the attention of an agent or publisher.

Your platform is what you create to catch the attention of people about you and your expertise. Are you an expert on ornamental plants? Do you have a blog that helps people find, nourish and keep those plants alive? Perhaps you offer a newsletter that sends out monthly tips. Of course, you want people to know about your book, 101 Tips To Be The Envy Of Your Neighbor’s Eyes With Ornamental Plants, but what about your blog talk radio program, your blog, or your newsletter?

This is where your elevator pitch comes in for your platform. Consider these elements for your platform elevator pitch:

  • Your Expertise- What is the area you are known for? Example: I’m an experienced marketing expert for people looking for ways to market their books, products or services.

  • Your Resource- How do you share your expertise? Example: I have this blog, Marketing Tips For Authors, and my free video tips newsletter.
  • Benefits- What can someone gain by visiting your resource? Example; My blog gives tips, ideas, and teaches new concepts to people who may not be familiar with what marketing is really all about. My videos walk people through some of the more technical aspects of marketing their book.
  • How To Find You- Where can people go to find your resources? Example: People can find my blog and my videos at MarketingTipsForAuthors.com. A business card with this info is perfect if you are speaking face-to-face with someone. You don’t want them to commit the location to memory, you just want them to have a resource listing how to find you. You want to point out that the card has everything they need to find you.

So, here is how I may pitch my platform: My name is Tony Eldridge. I’m an experienced marketing expert and an author who helps other authors find low cost/no cost ways to market their books through my free blog and video tips found at MarketingTipsForAuthors.com This elevator pitch gives the essentials and opens the door for further conversations about what I do without trying to pack everything into a log, confusing pitch. Consider this (feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph when you get the point): My name is Tony Eldridge. I am a marketing expert who spent years marketing products for a million dollar company. It was my job to find new customers for our in-house training videos through traditional and guerrilla marketing activities. One thing I was able to help our company do was grow our subscriber list from 70,000 to well over a half a million targeted subscribers with an unsubscribe rate of less than 1%. I wrote novel, the award-winning action/adventure that New York Times best selling author Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” I used my marketing experience to help me market my novel and after helping other authors learn about marketing, skills most authors have never thought much about developing, I created a blog called Marketing Tips For Authors, where I share some great low-cost/no cost ways that they can use to market their book. I even created a newsletter where subscribers can get videos that walk them through some of the more technical aspects of marketing their books online. I offer a free sample that anyone can watch before they subscribe to the video newsletter and when then subscribe, they get instant access to over 45 minutes of free video tips. My blog and my video newsletter can be found at MarketingTipsForAuthors.com
Whew!

There is a lot of good information packed into the last paragraph, but it’s definitely overload. If I tried to use that as a pitch on an elevator, the person would be banging on the floor button in an attempt to speed up the ride. They would undoubtedly be long gone before I finished my pitch.

Pitching your platform is a worthy activity to prepare for. Think about how you can pack a lot into a compact, powerful punch that helps to position you and your expertise in a way that makes people want to check out your resources. A nice side benefit for you as an author is that the more exposure people have to you and your platform, the more they will come across your book.

After saying all this, you still need to prepare your elevator pitch for your book. You never know when you will take a ride on an elevator with the Jerry McGuire of the literary world.

Tony Eldridge

7 Responses to “Creating An Elevator Pitch For Your Author Platform” Subscribe

  1. L. Diane Wolfe October 5, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    I’ve always promoted the elevator pitch! I use this example – if you have a golf book, and Tiger Woods gets on an elevator with you, what will you say in under 30 seconds to entice him??? And can you say it with ENTHUSIASM???

  2. sandra October 9, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    Hello
    I must say that you have given some nice elements on elevator pitch and I appreciate you.This will be very helpful for me at least.Thank you for sharing this with us.You have done a good job.Keep doing good work.

    herbe

  3. Scott Sheaffer October 9, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    As an author, and worse yet a sales trainer, I had never really considered an elevator speech for a book. Great idea. I also appreciate the necessity for brevity. salestipsbyscott.com

  4. Tony Eldridge October 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm #

    I love your Tiger Woods example, Diane! Great!

    Sandra, thanks so much for your kind words! I was recently asked to provide an elevator pitch for my book which got me thinking about this again. I love to share what I learn .

    Scott, I tend to get a little long winded if I let myself go unchecked. It’s something I have to work on. I am a former sales trainer and sales manager myself (financial products) and I wish I had known about elevator pitches then.

  5. Darcy Pattison February 19, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Interesting post. But are you pitching your platform or your book? Should an elevator speech include both?

    Darcy

  6. Tony Eldridge February 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Great insights, Darcy. In my experience, when authors and book marketing coaches speak about elevator speeches, they talk about the opportunity you get for a publisher or an agent to hear about your book. While you want to squeeze in a description of your platform, most of the time is spent in giving a summary of your book (subject/plot, obstacles, ending, etc…)

    But this post focus on the times when your book is not necessarily the focus of your pitch, but an element of it. The book becomes one element of your elevator pitch that builds your credentials for a gig you may be trying to get.

    So, if you have 30 seconds with the CEO of a company and you are trying to get an audience with his employees, your elevator pitch will sound much different than if you had 30 seconds with an agent who you want to represent you.

    I hope this makes sense.

  7. linda@adventuresinexpatland.com September 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Elevator speeches are great for all kinds of situations concerning your business, writing, book, author platform, speaking engagements, etc. Having used them in my previous career, I’ve given it some thought and have crafted my ‘message’ for several different scenarios with great success. Once you’ve figured out just the right words to use for the first one, it’s only a matter of tweaking for other situations. Nothing worse than having an opportunity to engage someone and then babbling all over the place!

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