Writing an elevator pitch is a great way to get to the core of your book. Grabbing the attention of a literary agent can be a daunting task, but if you can express the new and exciting concept that your book has to offer in just one short sentence, you’ll be off to a flying start.
In the lead-up to our Meet Your Match event on 14 February 2024, we asked leading literary agents why elevator pitches are so important and how you can make yours as compelling as possible…
A good elevator pitch doesn’t just show the agent that you understand your book’s unique selling point (USP) —it can also help you to think about your writing in a new way. Getting it right can take practice, but every time you put pen to paper, you’ll be narrowing down on what makes your book special just that little bit more.
“Elevator pitches are so important, primarily because they help YOU, the author, think about your book from a more salesy perspective—and throughout your book’s launch, you will need to be a constant salesperson for your story. Authors often have a hard time summing up their own book, but you’d be surprised by how much having a refined, concise elevator pitch will come in handy, and directly contribute to your book’s success!”
Rachel Beck, Liza Dawson Associates
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Standing out from the crowd
Think about the last time you picked up a book by a new author. What grabbed you about its premise? What made it feel fresh and interesting? An elevator pitch is a quick and easy way to get your agent, editor or reader hooked right from the beginning.
“A good elevator pitch bridges the gap between the familiar and the exciting. It tells me where your book sits on the market, and it tells me why your book isn’t like anything else on the market. So get that USP up front—tell me that you’re in a genre I love and tell me what you’re doing that nobody else in that genre has done before.”
Eli Keren, United Agents
View Eli’s AgentMatch profile.
Keeping it concise
One of the hardest parts of writing an elevator pitch is summarising your book in a single sentence. Practice makes perfect—but if you’re finding yourself unable to pick out that one crucial element at the core of your book, it could be a sign that something’s wrong.
“If you’re struggling with an elevator pitch because you have too much to say in just one line, it may be that your book is lacking a sharp hook—and that might be something worth revising.”
Elinor Davies, Madeleine Milburn
Want an example of an elevator pitch?
Looking for an example? Here’s one from our very own Katie Day – who, before joining the Jericho Writers team, was our 2022 Meet Your Match winner:
When the neighbour she’s been spying on suddenly leaves, a lonely woman inserts herself into the life of the girlfriend he left behind. SORROW & BLISS meets YOU in a commercial women’s fiction with a dash of domestic suspense.
Why did we love it? Because it showed a great awareness of genre, it gave us enough information to catch our attention while leaving us with plenty of questions we wanted to see answered, and it did all of that in under 40 words. In short, it hooked us!
If you’re ready to get started writing your own, take a look at Harry Bingham’s guide to elevator pitches here: How To Write An Elevator Pitch For Your Novel – Jericho Writers. And, once you’ve cracked it, why not share your pitch with us?
On 14 February 2024, we will be taking a look at your elevator pitches on Twitter/X with the return of our Meet Your Match event. Simply post your elevator pitch, details of your book’s genre and the hashtag #JWMeetYourMatch between 2pm and 4pm GMT, and we’ll match you with an agent we think would like to see your work. Plus, if we really love your pitch, you’ll also be in with a chance to win a free Agent One-to-One session!