With all my major edits done for the moment, it’s a given that one of the events I’ll be going to at the Perth Writer’s Festival next week is the one-day publishing seminar. This is a great opportunity to hear about various aspects of the publishing process as well as alternative pathways to publication, including e-books and self-publishing. It also provides a chance, however slim, of pitching my book to representatives from three WA publishing houses.
This means I need to come up with a plausible elevator pitch – a 30 to 60 second sound bite that will provide enough information to engage the interest of a prospective publisher/editor and allow me to give them my business card, at the very least.
The elevator pitch seems to come down to the WIFM principle: What’s in it for me? If I can’t grab a prospective ‘buyer’ in those first 30 to 60 seconds by answering that question, then I’m effectively out of the game. So I really, really need to showcase whatever my unique selling proposition is as quickly as possible. To do this I need to make every word count, to ensure that every gesture and intonation supports my word choices and that the pace of delivery is pitched just right. It’s a package deal aimed at making the audience care, whether that’s one person or a room full of people. Simple, right?
Well, according to my insomnia, not all that simple. It actually reminds me of the first few months of my postgrad project, when everyone kept asking me what my thesis was about. For a while there my answers were a bit rambling and got bogged down in detail, but they slowly distilled to the two or three sentences that captured the essence of what I was trying to achieve. This is no different. I’ve spent the past few days talking to myself in the car, testing out variations on a theme to see what sounds right, what captures the essence of this story, and it’s slowly starting to come together.
Last night I did a test run on some friends – people who haven’t read the book and only had a vague idea of what it’s about. It was very interesting to get their feedback, to hear what caught their attention and what didn’t, where they felt I should perhaps add some detail and what I might want to consider leaving out. The bottom line is that I got them – and not just because I was feeding them dinner either! Although that is a thought… perhaps I could take some tasty treats along to the Writer’s Festival…
P.S. Yes, I do have business cards (now) – and rather attractive they are too 🙂