A couple of nights ago, a Facebook acquaintance—who used to work at one of the major literary agencies—offered to help me with my agent search and asked what Julius was about. I’m embarrassed to admit that I gave her the worst elevator pitch.
As you can tell by my posts, I’m a bit long-winded, I meander along and easily get on a tangent that is completely unrelated as proven by September Song. But I’m happy to say that I am improving and when I get that pull to go down a different path, I rein myself in and keep on track.
So what makes a good elevator pitch? After a quick search I found that many the tips really catered more to business ventures, but in Sisters in Scribe: Three YA writers on the road to publication nicely summed it up as:
- One or two sentences (three maximum) that provide the story’s summary and that leads an agent or editor to ask questions.
- Be specific and avoid cliches
- Use strong, active verbs and voice
- The main character(s) should be identified in the pitch as well as the obstacle he/she/they face.
Okay <deep breath> here it is:
Marxists Corinne Sand and Jake Wells, publishers of Julius, become the obsessive target of attack by a conservative blogger and his followers. The situation worsens when the couple is scrutinized by Homeland Security and the FBI after a story, “Marxist Intifada,” is leaked. When questioned, Jake and Corinne realize the paranoia of the Red Scare is still alive in the 21st century and they’re forced to make a choice: fight for their first amendment rights or leave the country.
It didn’t start off that tight, but after three hours of tweaking I have my three sentence or a 79 word elevator pitch. And now that I have one tiny part of this excruciating long process complete, I feel very satisfied.
What do you find more difficult to write: the query, the synopsis or the elevator pitch?