Last week, I celebrated my Annual Authors’ Fall Tea … a dozen authors were featured, authors who I’ve worked with in the past year and had books published. One of their gifts from me was a type of graduation with the opportunity to Pitch their books … to a gathering of my friends and friends they brought as well.
The theme was a High Tea with a table laden with sweets, sandwiches, crab cabs and other tidbits. Six different teas were offered, a sherbet punch and cranmosas over a three hour period. In the midst was the kitchen inland, cleared of all the normal kitchen stuff. Substituted were stacks of books–their beautiful books–perfect for Holiday shopping and gifting.
Was the Tea a success? Absolutely. Seventy-five attendees schmoozed, ate, sipped, listened and bought books. Some bought one; others a few; one woman bought over a dozen herself. She brought her Christmas shopping list–it was fun watching her mark off name after name as she selected a book for her recipient.
Each author was given 90 seconds to Pitch their book to the crowd of potential buyers. Some did quite well … throwing out a tease to hook the interest; others rambled, causing a few eyes to glaze over as they crossed over the 90 second mark to four minutes. An “oh-so-common snafu” that most authors make.
TMF–too much information–was revealed by a few. Authors tend to want to share everything and anything about their books. After all, they’ve been immersed in the creation for months, maybe years. Surely others want to know all the who, what, where, when and why … yes? In truth, the answer is no. Some of the attendees got lost; they didn’t get hooked right away. The Pitch became a ramble. For the listener, it becomes something they have to endure, to get through … until the next Pitch.
Quick … when someone asks you what your book is about … do you stumble finding the words to describe it? You are not alone–most authors fail miserably in delivering the “hook” that gets the listeners attention and buy-in. They don’t get that they have to be a little different, well, maybe a lot different, to get the attention of the book buyer. To say, “You Who … I’ve got something to say, worth sharing….”
Did you know that most movie scripts are pitched within a 15 second time frame today? Sometimes in 15 words or less? Ruthless editing for words … your words, words that are awesome, yet you may be bubbling over with too, too many words. And you lose your audience. Too, too soon.
Think short, to the point, a little pithy, to catch the attention of any buyer. Think like a one-line description that TV Guide might use to describe a show or movie of the week. Think like the movie script pitch. You want your buyer to think/say “say what …” “tell me more…” Than your dialogue can open up when he or she starts probing.
Pitches that connect have several elements: they use 1 -Alliteration, 2 rhymes, 3-create a visual for the listener, 4-have something that is familiar or a familiar ring to it; 5-snappy and succinct; 6-a sense of fun or aha.
Take the Harry Potter series. Loved by millions around the world.
If the unknown J. K. Rowling had pitched her boy wizard as:
“A nerdy kid who was orphaned as an infant and was taken in by relatives who couldn’t stand him. Eventually, he was finally rescued by a group of other misfits and found his true self.”
Or … “Harry Potter is a fantasy series about a young wizard and his two friends who fight the forces of Evil and the corrupt Lord Voldemort while they were students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Which asks, “Tell me more”? Which gets your attention?
Snappy, Sassy, Sometimes Salty…Your Book Pitch Must Be! And … you will sell more books … I guarantee it!
Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd, the Author and Publishing expert and the Judith Briles is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Author U, a membership organization created for the author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. She’s the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating Your Book and Author Platform that has won four multiple “best” in the writing/publishing categories in book award competitions in 2013. Her latest book is Snappy, Sassy, Salty … Wise Words for Authors and Writers has just been released.
Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U – Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet network at: http://togi.us/authoru (you can subscribe on the show’s Home page to get weekly updates of the latest show). Connect on Google+ and become a Peep on Twitter at @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd.