This week I began working on my elevator pitch. With most interviews, you prepare it to sell yourself. A novel’s elevator pitch is different in the sense that you’re selling yourself but also the book you created.
You should start with the concept behind your novel. What’s unusual about it? What’s going to cause the agent to ask more questions?
Then, develop your logline or hook. Research how to create a great logline and review examples. Graeme Shimmin suggests the following formula on his blog:
In a (SETTING) a (PROTAGONIST) has a (PROBLEM) (caused by an ANTAGONIST) and (faces CONFLICT) as they try to (achieve a GOAL).
Write and rewrite your logline until it flows. Practice it on others. Does it intrigue them? If the formula doesn’t work for you, consider your plot, character, setting, and theme. How would you summarize them in one sentence?
Now that you have your logline. Develop a concise summary of the novel to go with it. Aim for the 30 second rule. This means just a few sentences. You need to explain the basics, while keeping the intrigue of your unique concept in play. Focus on your conflict. How is it complicated throughout the novel? I used to tell kids a novel always has a conflict, but then the author adds problems to create the traditional rise and fall. If it helps, fill out a plot chart. Then, take these key events and start working with them to develop your summary.
Once you present your pitch, the agent or publisher may ask for contact information. Either way, don’t force the conversation. Be polite and move on. If you’re pitch doesn’t seem to attract attention, revisit it and try again.