What’s an elevator pitch? Imagine you are in an elevator and someone asks about the book in your hand, a copy of your latest work. How long do you have to answer? Well, depending on how many floors you’re passing – 30 seconds or less! You need a fast response before the elevator stops. 

None of us spend much time in elevators, but wherever you are, you need a compelling and succinct description of your book. This kind of “sales pitch” needs to be memorized so that you say it immediately and naturally. Think of your prepared sentences as flowing out of your mouth with the same instant muscle memory used when returning a serve on the tennis court or braking when you see red tail lights. 

Here’s one way to organize your book description:

  1. Start your sentence with the book title. 
  2. Identify the genre, such as mystery, memoir, biography, and so on.
  3. State the setting and time period if your book is a narrative.
  4. Provide the plot or goal of the book in a tight sentence.
  5. Add a comment about reader response. 


“The Black Mare” is my second Western mystery set in Montana in 1880. After an eccentric and well-known rancher accused of cattle rustling vanishes with his prized horse, his children discover he was not at all who they thought he was. Readers say they loved the ending, which surprised even my editor! 

“Your Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal” is a very entertaining self-help book about life decisions ranging from career choices to picking a mate. More than your typical advice book, this one walks you through worksheets and helps you set goals. Readers say the book kept them laughing, but the exercises helped them see new possibilities.

“Be the Better Person” is the biography of a laid-back West Texas lawyer who swayed juries by taking the high road, a conflict resolution tactic that won over everyone he met, from the poker table to the police station. He shares his journey from privileged childhood through bankruptcy and back on top again with the love of a good woman. My readers said it was a page-turner! 

How can you make your elevator pitch stand out? 

  1. Order business cards with your title, name, email address (and website if you have one), and ordering instructions – and then carry them with you everywhere. They will give your elevator pitch staying power: seeing the title in print helps with name retention. 
  2. Consider your audience. A stranger on the subway is very different from a friend at a homeowners’ association meeting. Be ready to go into more depth. 
  3. Keep it lively. Transmit your enthusiasm with a smile and a light touch; this is not the time for a monotonal recitation of facts.

Make your book come alive in a quick encounter! An elevator pitch is a powerful sales pitch that gives you confidence in quickly presenting your book to strangers. Practice, practice, practice: Rehearse your talk in front of a friend or videotape yourself on your phone until you can repeat it quickly and effortlessly. You’ll find that you will use this concise and instant description all the time both before and after your book comes out.

Dudley Court Press

Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a contemporary publishing company, we help thoughtful people write and publish books for all sorts of reasons. For more information about our Developmental Editing, Coaching, Consulting and Professional Self-Publishing options, please reach us at +1-520-329-2729 or Info@DudleyCourtPress.com.

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