Making Light Of The Dreaded Elevator Pitch

How to create one and when not to use it

Penny Grubb
Write To Inspire
Published in
4 min readJul 7, 2021

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The eye of many a publisher or editor has been caught by a good sharp elevator pitch. It’s a great idea but you know what…? It’s a terrible analogy. However, let’s leave that aside for the moment, and look at one sure-fire way to create a good concise pitch. I’m going to use genre fiction because it’s a crowded market and one where catching the eye of a publisher, editor or reader is key to getting the book out there and getting it read.

People have problems condensing a whole novel into a couple of sentences. Of course they do. As an author, you’ve immersed yourself in many thousands of words; you have honed your characters, worked your way through the intricacies of the plot, the subtleties of relationships, the nuances of a satisfying denouement. You are in the worst possible place to shrink your masterpiece to a few choice words.

Don’t struggle with it, just pin this technique to your wall, and all the pitches you need will be at your fingertips:

The 5 Elements Required To Create A Short Sharp Pitch

Firstly, make a list of these 5 elements:

  1. The name of your main character. If you have more than one main character, then experiment — pick one or try using more than one as a group. See how the pitch develops.
  2. This character’s key objective. Your character will probably have several objectives on their way through the novel. Pick an important one but be creative — try out different ones and see what your final pitch looks like.
  3. A situation which highlights the chosen objective. Again, there might be several. Try them out and see where you land.
  4. The opposition; something or someone who stands in the way of your character achieving their objective. This opposition to your characters’ key objectives always exists. It is a key element of genre fiction.
  5. A disaster that could prevent your character from achieving their objective. Again, such a disaster will always exist because you wouldn’t have a work of genre fiction without it.

The Key Question That Underlies The Elevator Pitch

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Penny Grubb
Write To Inspire

An award-winning crime novelist & long-time amateur poultry keeper, who specialised in teaching methods, healthcare & software engineering as an academic.