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Create Your Book's "Elevator Speech"

If you have ever searched for a job, you have probably been advised to create and perfect your elevator speech. In other words, know how to describe who you are and your expertise in a few simple sentences. That way, if you ever run into someone who can advance your career, (the idea is you'll meet this person on an elevator) you'll be able to explain what you can offer the company in a quick and memorable manner.


When marketing your book, it's equally important to be able to summarize your book and highlight why someone should read it in preparation for the day you run into a book buyer, literary agent, librarian or publisher. It’s imperative that you describe your book without spoiling it or boring the possible reader; thus, losing any hope that they'll purchase and read your book. After all the time and thought you've put into crafting each word and every character, this is no easy task. Don't fear! Read on to learn how to capture the essence of your book and effectively relay it to a potential customer.

Make a book billboard

Words on a billboard have to be simple and to the point to ensure the message is absorbed by target consumers zooming by at 60 miles per hour. Create your book's elevator speech as if it's going to be printed on a billboard with mere seconds to capture your target’s attention. Of course, mention the book's title and who the book is intended for (e.g. Is it a children's book or a book for people looking to invest money for the first time?).

Then, think of something memorable that will help a person recall the book at a later date. This can be done by comparing the style to that of a famous author or book (e.g. written in the style of Harry Potter books or as terrifying as a Stephen King novel) or by mentioning something that your book offers that no other book does (e.g. your unique expertise in a certain area or a plot that's rarely been touched by another author). Be sure not to dwell on the memorable piece. It should be a hook and entice your potential customer to learn more, just like an advertising slogan. Make sure this part of your description doesn't give anything away and is no longer than two sentences. Ideally, the person you’re talking to will be so intrigued that they'll want to buy your book right away.

Cut the fat

If you're still having trouble after trying to write your elevator speech like a billboard ad, make sure that you're leaving out all auxiliary parts of the book. Forget subplots and supporting characters. Leave out everything that isn't essential to the most basic part of your book. Narrow it down to something like "Lawyer saves criminal's daughter" or "My book helps entrepreneurs write an efficient marketing plan." Specifics are not important in your elevator speech and will make your book less memorable to the person you're talking to. Useless information and minute details will only make them tune you out. You want to excite, not bore, your potential customer. Sure, your short description may not be all your book has to offer, but it's enough to let the person you're talking to judge whether or not the book's for them and, hopefully, spark their interest enough to pick up a copy.

Be enthusiastic

When you're giving your elevator speech to someone who may be interested in your book, make sure you're excited and confident about your work. No one will be enthused to read a book that the author isn't thrilled about. Use colorful terms when talking about your book and answer questions succinctly and happily. Don't over promise, but make sure that you convey that you are proud of your book and believe readers will enjoy it.