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All Things Writing & Publishing > The 15 second elevator pitch

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message 1: by Graeme (last edited Oct 01, 2016 06:30PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan For all the authors out there.

What's the 15 second synopsis of your story that can be given as an "elevator pitch" to catch someones interest.

Here is mine.

"It's a great story, it's about a young man who witnesses the brutal murder of his mother and the abduction of his father. He then tracks down their mysterious assailants, uncovers a 5000 year old conspiracy, and fights a deadly duel to determine the fate of all."

What's yours?


message 2: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Graeme wrote: "For all the authors out there.

What's the 15 second synopsis of your story that can be given as an "elevator pitch" to catch someones interest.

Here is mine.

"It's a great story, it's about a yo..."


Oh good God. I couldn't compete with that!


message 3: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan (Smiles) - It doesn't have to compete - the idea is to grab the essence of your story in 15 seconds.

It also provides a neat way to understand precisely what your story is about.


message 4: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) A crime thriller about the rise of opium from underground obscurity to public prominence in 1920's Shanghai.


message 5: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Justin,

I would be interested to see what you would write if you described it in terms of what your main character has to do.


message 6: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Here is the first half of the synopsis I used to present one of my time travel novels:
'From the streets of 1854 London, to the battlefields of the Crimean War, to the French siege lines around Maastricht in 1673 and to the besieged Paris of 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, Nancy Laplante 'B', a young field agent of the Time Patrol, continues with her missions in the 17th and 19th Centuries, finding both adventure and love, but also heartbreak.'


message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Da Vinci Code meets Roots.


message 8: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Just 15 seconds. Gee, that's tough. But I will try:

"From the ore mines of Mercury to the ice mines of Callisto, from the clear skies above Mars to the methane lakes of Titan, The Cronian Incident takes readers on a tour de force through a future that is all-too-likely to come true."


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13825 comments Cool stuff and thread!
I suppose you, guys, still have about 5-10 sec left-:)
I'm experimenting with these and others for 3 sec attention span of Face and Twitter crowd (just a few examples):
"The global arena becomes too small to share peacefully for global corporations and ambitious tycoons. What happens when they start fighting for supremacy?"
"Just when you have everything this world can give, it turns against you. Will Michael survive a showdown with ancient cabal and save his country?"
"After the Big Bang of the USSR, there are no rules. Arguably, the most fertile ground for becoming super - rich. Can Mikhail make it to the top of the economic heap ... err... alive?"
"Mikhail is the prey, while his abducted brother is the bait. Some want his life, others - his riches. Is there a way to survive and save his business empire?"


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9801 comments My attempt at the hardest of my books to so summarise:

'The arrival of a badly mauled fragment of an alien battle fleet leads to the disintegration of human society. Meanwhile, the man who has to attempt to save the situation also arrives, his wife dead, and with the prediction that he will meet the second of the only two women of significance in his life: the ugliest of all.'


message 11: by Graeme (last edited Oct 02, 2016 03:19PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Michael wrote: "Da Vinci Code meets Roots."

Doing a mashup is also an option.

I would go with The Matrix meets Blade meets Star Wars.

But, that is a prelude to an elevator pitch.


message 12: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Michel wrote: "Here is the first half of the synopsis I used to present one of my time travel novels:
'From the streets of 1854 London, to the battlefields of the Crimean War, to the French siege lines around Ma..."


Hi Michel, what is the number one challenge that Nancy faces, and how would you phrase the resolution as (undecided/a question) as you don't want to give it away.

The pitch is also a hook.


message 13: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan The way I have structured mine is as follows.

1. The inciting incident - murder of mother, abduction of father
2. The body - essentially a hunt
3. A discovery
4. A resolution - with a ? as it could go either way.

The objective is to create a compelling interest in 15 seconds.


message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Graeme wrote: "But, that is a prelude to an elevator pitch."

Actually that was given to me by a Literary Agent as the elevator pitch. You dont need 15 seconds, and often you dont get it.

Brevity is far better. You shouldnt use your blurb as an elevator pitch. Its too long.


message 15: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Justin wrote: "A crime thriller about the rise of opium from underground obscurity to public prominence in 1920's Shanghai."

This one gets my vote for favorite, most effective.
- Reader Choice! :)


message 16: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Yeah, but making it that short means name-dropping other titles, which seems self-alienating, imho. I wish brevity and an original pitch could just get along!


message 17: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Maybe for some, but not me. It gives me the big picture, time, place, context. It's confidently written. From there, I'm curious.


message 18: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) ^^What she said. I for one am hesitant to buy any book that described as "(successful franchise one) meets (successful franchise two)". It's like, why not just read those then?


message 19: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin Graeme wrote: "Michel wrote: "Here is the first half of the synopsis I used to present one of my time travel novels:
'From the streets of 1854 London, to the battlefields of the Crimean War, to the French siege ..."


The main challenge that my heroine, Nancy 'B', faces is to balance and reconcile her missions as a field agent of the Time Patrol with her personal feelings for many historical characters she frequent and sometimes love. At the end, she rebels and goes semi-independent.


message 20: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) M.L. wrote: "Justin wrote: "A crime thriller about the rise of opium from underground obscurity to public prominence in 1920's Shanghai."

This one gets my vote for favorite, most effective.
- Reader Choice! :)"


why thank you :)


message 21: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Matthew wrote: "^^What she said. I for one am hesitant to buy any book that described as "(successful franchise one) meets (successful franchise two)". It's like, why not just read those then?"

Its not pitching a reader to read your book. An elevator pitch is a Hollywood created invention to sell your idea to someone far up the food chain in TV/movie production - if you get lucky enough to be on an elevator with them and they are trapped there... lol

Everything in Hollywood is based on something else. There really isnt any creativity in Hollywood. So using two prior well known examples gives the show runner / producer an immediate idea of the plot of your book. If they are interested they will say - tell me more.

Authors use blurbs for readers... lets not get them confused.


message 22: by Matthew (last edited Oct 02, 2016 10:47PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Michael wrote: "Matthew wrote: "^^What she said. I for one am hesitant to buy any book that described as "(successful franchise one) meets (successful franchise two)". It's like, why not just read those then?"

It..."


I know it's not the same thing as a blurb, that's not what I was saying. My arguments is that we can do more with an elevator pitch than simply say our idea is based on something else. Assuming that this is the only way a book can get published is part of the problem, as I see it.

Original ideas come along all the time (well, semi-original), but we seem to think that only ideas based on what has already been successful are the ones that are going to make it.


message 23: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Say you're at a party and it comes up that you are writing a novel.

The person you are talking with is a potential reader.

What do you say that will pique their interest?


message 24: by Zee (new)

Zee Monodee (zee_monodee) | 0 comments Young woman battling breast cancer meets playboy who only dates airhead models. Can love be on the cards for them?


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