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Six Things about Elevator Pitching You Won’t Hear from Me Live

by Linda Rohrbough

Linda Rohrbough
Linda Rohrbough

At the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2014 Spring Conference, I’ll be leading my “How to Make an Elevator Pitch” workshop. In it, I’ll teach a three-step formula that works for any book. Want to hear more? I’ll let you in on my secrets live on Saturday afternoon, April 12. But in the meantime, let me tell you six things I’m sure I won’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. That’s simply not true, and it’s the quickest way to produce failure.
    2. Every writer, no matter how experienced, has some level of fear when pitching. What’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, it’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? Wouldn’t you rather short-cut that process?
    6. This is a false statement: “You just need a one-sentence pitch.” I’d like to find whoever started that rumor and straighten them out. Although it’s so widespread now, I’m not sure it’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.

I’m smiling as I write this because I’m looking forward to teaching this workshop. It’s one of my favorites and fresh for me every time I teach it. Plus, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my NCWN friends, including having lunch with a limited number of attendees who sign up early.

Here’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!