by Linda Rohrbough
At the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference, Iâ€™ll be leading my â€œHow to Make an Elevator Pitchâ€ workshop. In it, Iâ€™ll teach a three-step formula that works for any book. Want to hear more? Iâ€™ll let you in on my secrets live on Saturday afternoon, April 12. But in the meantime, let me tell you six things Iâ€™m sure I wonâ€™t have time to say in class.
- 1. Most new writers feel they have to be all things so some editor or agent will pay attention to them. Thatâ€™s simply not true, and itâ€™s the quickest way to produce failure.
- 2. Every writer, no matter how experienced, has some level of fear when pitching. Whatâ€™s important is to understand the concept that you can use fear to your advantage, and learn how to make fear work for you instead of against you.
- 3. Writers stop improving their elevator pitch at the point where they sell the book. They do this because they figure if the pitch sold the book, itâ€™s good enough. I agree. However, there are basic ways to make a pitch work, and it can always be improved.
- 4. I failed miserably the first couple of times I tried to pitch my fiction. I failed pitching my nonfiction too, but the fiction failures were worse because I thought I had enough experience writing professionally to be heard. This is why I did the work to come up with my formula, which I use for my own work.
- 5. Most successful writers learned how to pitch by trial and error, with years of practice. Yes, you can learn the same way. But do you really want to? Wouldnâ€™t you rather short-cut that process?
- 6. This is a false statement: â€œYou just need a one-sentence pitch.â€ Iâ€™d like to find whoever started that rumor and straighten them out. Although itâ€™s so widespread now, Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™s possible to trace the source.
One thing you will hear me say in my workshop is that pitching is a lifelong skill. Since writing is a lifelong profession, that makes sense.
Iâ€™m smiling as I write this because Iâ€™m looking forward to teaching this workshop. Itâ€™s one of my favorites and fresh for me every time I teach it. Plus, Iâ€™m looking forward to reconnecting with my NCWN friends, including having lunch with a limited number of attendees who sign up early.
Hereâ€™s the link for the NCWN Spring Conference registration. If you sign up by April 6, you can get a discount. (Hint, hint.) Hope to see you there!