tips for creators

Tips for Creators #2 – The Elevator Pitch

You’ve probably heard the term “elevator pitch” before. It’s exactly what it sounds like. If you were in an elevator with the publisher of your dreams and had thirty seconds to tell them about your project, what would you say?

This is, honestly, one of the hardest things to think about. You know your project and you know how awesome it is and you want to name everything that’s awesome about it but you just don’t have the time to do it! You’ve only got thirty seconds!

Think hard. In its most basic form, what is your project REALLY about?

Here’s an example of the elevator pitch that I’ve used for my own comic, Sacrimony: A Tale of Love, Life and Death – In No Particular Order: “Sacrimony is a character-driven fantasy drama about a single, immigrant mom trying to make it as an actress in the big city while raising her demon-winged daughter.”

Much like the creator bio, it’s straight to the point. The pitch mentions the title, genre of the story, the tone, main characters and the struggle they’re facing. And it can be said in under thirty seconds.

Sure the story is about a whole bunch of other stuff and there are four other main characters, and a LOT of other stuff going on, but when someone picks up the first issue of the comic, they’re going to see the mother/daughter duo right there on the first few pages and everything else will fall into place.

So the formula that has worked for me thus far is: genre/tone, main characters, struggle. Some people like to add a question at the end of the pitch to make their readers think. Like “Star Space is a sci-fi adventure about space traveler John Stars who leaves his dying home planet in search of a more habitable one. Will he be able to find a new home for humanity before it’s too late?”

You may be thinking “what’s the point of an elevator pitch? I’m never going to actually be in an elevator with the publisher of my dreams” or “I’m going to skip the middleman and publish myself” so you’re pretty sure you don’t need one. But you do! It’s handy to have even if you don’t find yourself in many elevators.

My elevator pitch has helped me sell books at comic conventions because when people pick up my book and ask me what it’s about, I have something interesting that I can tell them right away before they flutter off to another table. Ideally, you’d like to think “the artwork and the book should sell itself, right?” but that’s not the way things work. YOU’RE the one in charge of selling your product. Most potential readers love being able to talk to the creator beforehand and have the creator explain what the story is about.

Outside of the sales realm, an elevator pitch even comes in handy for when you’re talking about your project to friends and family.

“Hey, what are you up to lately?”

“Oh you know, I’m just working on my comic, as usual.”

“Cool! I didn’t know you’re doing a comic! What’s it about?”

“It’s a character-driven fantasy drama about a single, immigrant mom trying to make it as an actress in the big city while raising her demon-winged daughter.”

“Sweet! Tell me more!”

Elevator pitches are a valuable tool because they make you sound like you know what you’re doing and saying. (Even though you may not feel like you do!)

Want some help with your elevator pitch? Leave a comment below! If there’s any other comics-related issues that you need advice for, also feel free to leave a comment!