One of the toughest problems Publicity Hounds face is explaining succinctly their book, product or service.
Your 15-second pitch should be short enough to catch people’s attention but enticing enough to make them say, “Tell me more.”
It’s Day 3 of the third annual Publishing at Sea cruise for authors. We’re aboard the monster “Allure of the Seas,” the largest ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, and we’ll be pulling into port this morning in Labadee, Haiti, our first stop on our weeklong cruise.
When we’re in port, we play. On “at sea” days, we learn.
Our five-member faculty teaches authors all about book marketing and publishing. Even though I’m presenting two sessions—one on how authors can be experts in their niche or topic and one on where the gold is buried on LinkedIn in—I come away so much smarter because I can learn from the other presenters.
One of the biggest takeaway from yesterday’s jam-packed session was book shepherd Judith Brile’s workshop on How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds.
You’ll love her simple template for a pitch. Use it when people ask, “What do you do?” You can use it to create the pitch or tagline for your book, or alter it to promote whatever you’re selling:
“Hi, my name is (or my book is about) ______________________.
“I (do, help, solve, create) _______________________________.
“…by showing how to __________________________________.
Mine would sound like this:
“Hi. I’m publicity expert Joan Stewart. I help authors, speakers and experts promote themselves, even on a shoestring budget, by showing them how to use traditional media and free online tools that grow their businesses.”
That takes 12 seconds. Notice how I used the word “expert” in front of my name.
Remember, your goal is to tell just enough to catch people’s attention, but not so much that you overwhelm them with facts. When they say, “Tell me more…” they’re giving you permission to go into more detail.
When to Use This Pitch
Judith says her template isn’t just for authors. It’s for anyone, and it can be about:
- Your role
- Your book
- Your consulting
- Your expertise
- Your other products or services
- Your mission
- Your values
- Your tagline
Why This Pitching Formula?
A succinct pitch helps you be clear about your audience and direction. It sets you apart from others. It increases your self-confidence. And it keeps your path clear for other products and books to evolve.
Authors sometimes make the mistake of limiting themselves to only one book, and thinking it’s for “everybody.” If that were the case, they’d have to market to everybody. And that’s impossible.
The narrower your niche or audience, the easier it is to market your book, even if you write fiction. Once you understand exactly who your market is, their needs become more obvious to you, and you’re in a better position to know what else you can create that will help them.
Judith used this example of a great tagline from New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb, author of “We Are Water”:
“A disquieting and ultimately uplifting novel about a marriage, a family and human resilience in the face of tragedy.”
I love this tip she shared on how to summarize your book or product in only one sentence. Read one-sentence summaries of movies on sites like Amazon.com. It will help you see how words are used economically, not only to describe the movie but make you want to see it. Like this one from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13:
“A ‘routine’ space flight becomes a desperate battle to survive in this breathtaking adventure of courage and faith.”
“But It Sounds Like a Commercial”
It sounds like a commercial, Judith says, because that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.
“Your pitch, your brand, and your commercial are crucial to your marketing of YOU,” she says.
Try alliteration. Rhymes. Create a visual. Be succinct. Include something familiar. Keep it fun.
Now It’s Your Turn
Test several pitches until you find one that works best. You might end up with different ones for different audiences. If you think you have a compelling pitch or book tagline, share it in the comments.
And if you missed the cruise this year, stay tuned for more details on next year’s cruise which we’ll announce shortly. We love the Royal Caribbean line, and I can hardly wait to tell you where we’re going!