Monday, February 19, 2024

The elevator pitch, an open book blog hop post


Welcome to Open Book Blog Hop. You can find us every Monday talking about the writing life. I hope you'll check out all the posts: you'll find the links at the bottom of this post.

Do you have an elevator pitch (a brief 30 second or so introduction) for your books?


The idea of an elevator pitch, I believe, came about from publishing, where an author steps into the same elevator as a muckety-muck and might have the space between two or three floors to catch the interest of a potential publisher and get them to want to read the whole thing. 

I'd never do that. Talking to someone I don't already know? In an elevator and under high pressure to sell them something? Now *that's* a horror story! No thank you.

That said, I do have to pitch my work from time to time, to convey to potential readers what it's all about and why they might want to read it. 

The Menopausal Superhero series is pretty easy to pitch. When I'm doing events, often I don't have to do much more than say the name of the series. Sometimes I don't even have to say it at all, since it's right there on the covers. The concept often makes people smile and they pick one up to read the back cover, and then the sales game is on! (or they make a face like they smell something bad and back away from me--some people can be put off by the mere word "menopause")

The Menopausal Superhero series

Easy pitching is great news for me, because I'm an introvert, so I'm not at all comfortable with the "carnival barker" method of getting readers to stop and talk with me. I rely on good displays and looking approachable. After all, folks who are attending a book fair or science fiction and fantasy convention don't need a hard sell--they came specifically to look at this kind of thing. 

Me at Bookmarks Festival of Books in Winston-Salem, NC

If someone stops and talks with me a bit, I usually first try to see if they're more likely to be interested in my hero or horror stories, usually just by introducing myself: Hi! I'm Samantha and these are my books. I write the Menopausal Superhero series and short form horror, which ones depends on whether I want to save the world today, or watch it burn." 

If they lean horror, I talk a little about the range of types of stories I've written, and wait to see what book they're eye-balling, then mention what my story in that anthology is about. 

"Stories We Tell After Midnight? That's a great collection! It's been described as Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark for grown-ups. My story in there is called 'The Cleaning Lady.' That might not sound like horror, but it's all in who you work for, isn't it?"


"Crone Girls Press is one of my favorite publishers to work with. They're a feminist horror press and I love the types of stories Rachel finds for their anthologies!" 

If they lean superhero, I drop in tidbits like, "My menopausal superhero series is dram-edy in tone, intermixing superhero action with comedy about aging, with themes of female friendship." 


"This is my more optimistic work, where heroines who are not 'spring chickens' save the day." 

I'm not a hard sell person. I hate it when people press me too hard, so I don't do that to others. I'd rather have a conversation, even if it doesn't end in a sale. 

If someone seems at least a little interested, I'll try one last push, giving them a bookmark with the link to my Amazon page on it and encouraging them to go check out the reviews and the "look inside" to see if my work is for them. 

I always thank people for stopping to talk with me, and I mean it, too. I'm grateful each time someone expresses interest in my work. 

Plus, you never know, even if you don't sell to that person in that moment, you may have put a ripple in the stream that will come back to you later. Your table guest might invite you to an event, or tell a friend about you. 

After nearly a decade of attending events and selling my books, I'm more comfortable with pitching my work, but I'm never going to accost some poor soul in an elevator. Let's all just get to the lobby in peace, please. 

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  1. Naturally I'm going to lean more toward the horror.

  2. I tend to avoid looking people in the eyes in an elevator, let alone use the moment to pitch a book!

  3. I was always told not to talk to strangers!!!!!

    1. That does make selling books at an event a little harder…

  4. The question I'd like to know, is how do you tell if a stranger in a lift is a literary agent or not? I always take the stairs anyway, lol.

    1. Good question! And the stairs are a healthy choice, for sure.