Friday, October 4, 2013

Please Welcome Our Guest Winnie Griggs


A Tiny Pitch With A Big Punch

 Hello everyone - Winnie Griggs here.  I’m so happy to be back at Seekerville again - it’s always a fun place to visit.

I don’t know about you, but one of the hardest questions for me to answer is “What’s your story about?”  It’s not that I don’t know my story very well, it’s that I know it too well - all 300+ pages of richly detailed character and plot, not to mention all the backstory that may not even have made it into the book but that is very real to me.  I start talking and before I know it my listener’s eyes have either glazed over or are displaying signs of confusion.

The remedy for this, of course, is to nail down my elevator pitch, which is what I want to discuss with y’all today.  But before I get into the nitty-gritty of how to craft this wondrous little gem, let’s talk about what an elevator pitch is so we’re all on the same page. 

 The formal definition is that an elevator pitch is “a succinct and persuasive sales pitch.”  The name comes from the idea that if you step into an elevator and someone asks you what your story is about, you should be able to deliver the answer before your listener arrives at his desired floor.  In other words you have maybe thirty seconds to a minute to summarize your masterpiece.

So your elevator pitch is a short statement used to quickly and clearly provide a compelling picture of the core idea of your story.   It’s not an overview of your entire story, it doesn’t provide information about secondary characters or storylines, nor does it follow every plot twist.  Its purpose is simply to hook your listener in a matter of seconds. 

So now that we know what an elevator pitch is, let’s talk about how to create one.  There are a number of different approaches you can use - today I want to discuss three of them.

First, there’s the High Concept Method.  If you have a story that is so high concept that you can immediately capture a reader’s imagination by just stating the hook or premise, then go for it.

 Most of the time these will feature intriguing juxtapositions such as

·      A mail order bride service able to send potential brides through a time portal

·      A Romeo and Juliet story between feuding merfolk clans

·      A female James Bond with a Legally Blond attitude who holds the fate of the world in her expensively manicured hands

All of those paint a clear, intriguing picture of what this story will be about and more than likely the listener is going to be hooked enough to want to hear more.

However, if your story doesn’t lend itself to a high concept approach, there are other methods you can turn to.

One of these is the Character-Dilemma-Path method.

In this method you describe your protagonist, what his or her dilemma is and what path he/she will take to try to resolve it.   Let’s use the movie Kate and Leopold to show how this would work.

Here’s how it would break down:

Character:  A nineteenth century duke

Dilemma:  He’s facing an arranged (loveless) marriage

Path: He escapes by time traveling and finds his true love

Using that information, the pitch might look something like this: 

A nineteenth century duke, reluctantly facing an arranged marriage, time travels to present day New York where he finds his true love in the form of a high powered career woman.

Now, in the above example, I focused on Leopold.  I could have chosen instead to focus on Kate, and if I’d done so, it would break down something like this:

Character:  A driven career woman

Dilemma: has little time for romance or whimsy in her life

Path: once she finally tastes love, she must choose between continuing as she is or giving it all up to find her HEA

So the elevator pitch we would end up with would be:

 A driven career woman with little time for romance, gets a soul-satisfying taste of what she’s been missing, but learns that to hold on to it she must chose to permanently leave behind her familiar world, including friends and family

Both are accurate overviews of the story.  In looking them over, however, I would pick the one that focuses on Leopold, however, because that version is more compelling and contains more of a 'hook' (time traveler angle) to catch the listener's attention.  That’s a key element to keep in mind - finding your strongest hook.

The final approach I’d like to discuss is one that focuses on your story’s theme, or the lesson your protagonist must learn by the end of your story.  The formula for this one is Character-Goal-Lesson-Outcome.  So let’s see what we can do using this approach with The Wizard Of Oz:


Character: A dissatisfied farm girl who is transported to a magical land

Goal:  To find her way back home

Lesson:  She must first learn that she holds the power to change her life within herself

Outcome: She finally returns home with new-found self-confidence.

So, using those points, the elevator pitch would go something like this:

An unhappy-with-her-life farm girl is transported to a magical land where she has many wondrous and frightening adventures as she struggles to find a way back.   It’s only after she learns that the power to change her life lies within herself, however, that she finally finds her way home again.

That one needs a little work, but hopefully you get the idea.

So there you have it. Three different approaches to crafting an elevator pitch. And while these off-the-cuff examples could undoubtedly be strengthened with some tweaking, I hope they’ve given you a starting point for looking at your own work.

Just remember, regardless of which approach you use - one of these three or something of your own devising - the idea is to give the agent/editor, or the casual inquirer, an immediate visual to latch onto of what kind of story you’re offering. And above all, make them curious or intrigued enough to want to learn more.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~
And today, as promised, I’m giving away two copies of my brand new October release, A Family For Christmas (see blurb below).  And in honor of Seekerville’s birthday celebration, I’d also like to send a third commenter a bit of bling - a sparkly “I Love 2 Read” pin.

A FAMILY FOR CHRISTMAS

An Unexpected Gift 

Eve Pickering knows what it's like to be judged for your past. So she's not about to leave the orphaned boy she's befriended alone in this unfamiliar Texas town. Since Chance Dawson's offer of shelter is the only way to look after Leo, Eve is determined they'll have a warm, welcoming home for the holidays.

Chance came from the big city to make it on his own despite a painful secret. But Eve's strength is giving him a confidence he never expected—and a new direction for his dream. With a little Christmas blessing, he'll dare to win her heart—and make their family one for a lifetime.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

Winnie Griggs is a multi-published author who writes for Love Inspired Historical.  Her writing has garnered enthusiastic reviews and numerous awards, including a recent RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. 


Winnie spent her childhood in an undeveloped area her friends thought of as the very back of beyond.  She and her two younger siblings spent many an hour exploring the overgrown land around her home, cutting jungle trails, building forts and frontier camps, and looking for pirate ships on the nearby bayou.  Once she ‘grew up’ she found other outlets for dealing with all those wonderful, adventurous imaginary friends by filling notebooks with their stories.    

Eventually she found her own Prince Charming, a rancher whose white steed is disguised as a tractor and whose kingdom is nestled in a small rural community she happily calls home.  Together they’ve built their own storybook happily-ever-after,  including four now grown children who share Winnie’s vivid imagination and her husband’s steadier influences and who are now out in the world pursuing their own adventures.


You can learn more about Winnie and her books at www.winniegriggs.com




103 comments:

Terri said...

Elevator pitches are so hard! Oh, man, that sounds whiney! Thanks for breaking them down to such a concise format, truly helpful. I love your cover. I've seen several Love Inspired Christmas covers on Facebook and they've all been great. Great book and a beautiful pin - both look awesome. Uh oh, since I'm the first to post do I need to make the coffee? I'd better make a mad dash to Star Bucks or everyone is in trouble. . .

Rhonda's Doings said...

I love to read and review books and this one sounds like one I would love. Thanks,
Rhonda
nashhall (AT) dot (COM)

Christina Rich said...

I find some pitches can be hard to write. Thank you for sharing these methods, Winnie.

Piper Huguley said...

Thanks for the great pitch info, Winnie! It will help me be ready to pitch to Deb Smith tomorrow. *gulp* I love the "pitch" of the new book. I enjoy your stories, and the Texas Grooms series is great.

Piper

Winnie Griggs said...

Oh my, I see I'm not the only night owl around here!

Terri - glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the nice words about my cover! No coffee for me though - I'll be headed to bed soon!

Rhonda - thanks for stopping by.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Christina! I'll tell you a secret - I find it a WHOLE lot easier to write a pitch for someone else's work than for my own :)

Piper, you're quite welcome, and thanks so much for the kind words about my series!

Winnie Griggs said...

I'm headed to bed now, I'll be back later this morning - probably MUCH later :)

Cindy W. said...

Hi Winnie, You make it look so easy to write a pitch. Maybe when writer's block sets in a person could practice writing elevator pitches based on someone else's work. It would be great practice.

Your book sounds great and I love books set during Christmas. Would love to be entered to win.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

WOW!

I really don't need an elevator pitch for any reason. I'm not going to conference or wooing an agent or submitting a proposal.

But I couldn't help trying out both version on my books and then I used them on my WIP.

WOW again! It was like putting the motivation and conflict under a microscope! Hm. Or maybe taking a panorama shot? Anyway, that was really, really useful to me. I just firmed up a few gray areas and I can see how having this pitch stuck to my computer can help keep the theme front and center.

Thanks so much, Winnie!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Someone once told me that if you can't make a one-line pitch about your story, it's too muddled.

There's some truth in that. I think some folks have an easier time of coming up with elevator pitches, but it's always good to ask other writers to help. Their pov might help it become more concise.

And I've always felt they shouldn't be too obvious, unless you're doing comedic lines because blatantly obvious works for them. Winnie, so good to have you here talking about a subject that most of us need to tweak regularly!

Hey, Virginia, you know what??? This is a great way of "investigating" our stories to see how strong that twining thread is. Know what I mean? Finding that defining one-two sentence line says the story is going in the right direction. I tend to ramble (my bad!!!) so the elevator pitch/one-line helps me to see if the story is truly focused on the story or some Ruthy-thought of the day.

sigh.

Lyndee H said...

Winnie, you make it sound so easy. Thanks for sharing your ideas and examples. I just bought your Oct book at my Meijers store on Tuesday.

I am getting a bit worried, though, as I noticed in the past month that our Walmart is carrying the LI contemporaries and NOT carrying LI historicals and Meijers is carrying just the opposite. This means I will have to store hop to get all my books. I haven't had time to ask the mgmt what's up. They've also changed the shelves around and Harlequin has smaller space in general. Anyone else seeing this?

Kav said...

Awesome breakdown of a pitch!!!! I think even I might be able to do it...maybe...sort of. :-)

No need to enter me in the contest, Winnie, because I have A Family for Christmas on my Harlequin order this month! Can't wait!

Rose said...

Winnie,

Love, love, love the breakdown you gave for elevator pitches. I'm printing this for sure.

Audra Harders said...

Winnie, it's great to have you back in Seekerville!

I can't believe we're looking at Christmas books already. You're cover is beautiful, but blurb really sold it. It's definitely on my holiday TBR stack.

Thank you for de-mystifying the elevator pitch. You are so right about being too close to your story to condense it down. My characters are with my 24/7, and they tend to clutter up my mind. Not bad when I'm working through a scene, but awful for finding that defining essence of the story.

I love the bling you're giving away! The pin says it all : )

kaybee said...

Winnie, this is a needed addition to "pitch" coaching.
I took a fun little seminar last September, "Pitchapalooza," wth two New York agents/writers. They go around to bookstores and do public sessions on crafting the perfect pitch, and one lucky attendee gets an introduction to a publisher. Wasn't me, obviously, but it was fun and helped me fine-tune my summaries. You have to buy their book to get in, but it's not a bad book. I've also been helped by various on-line literature on the pitch, including here. Since I refined my pitch technique, I have gotten more requests for proposals and one for a full. Still On The Island, but getting more good attention, which helps.
I have coffee and an assortment of homemade cookies. I needed to clean out my freezer in prep for Christmas baking.
Kathy Bailey
Pitching from New Hampshire

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Love this post and I will tell everyone why I adore Winnie's words of wisdom.

I, VERY unexpectedly, was talked into pitching at RWA, thanks to Mary Curry and Piper.

Did I have a pitch down? NOOOOOO.

Thanks to Winnie's instructions and Renee Ryan's prompts, I pitched.

Got a request for a full and another for a synopsis.

That is all. Except for the fact I will have that memory and will adore Winnie forever.

The book is on my kindle. YEAH.

Peace, Julie

Jackie said...

Hi Winnie,

This is so helpful. Thanks for sharing.

It sounds like you've got a great story.

Thanks again!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning WINNIE and welcome back to Seekerville. What a great and concise aid for developing a pitch. And like RUTHY and VirIRGINIA pointed out, having a pitch indicates a strong story.

Thanks for the great writing tip. Have fun today in Seekerville.

Sandra Leesmith said...

KAYBEE the cookies are great.

LYNDEE haven't noticed, but I'll keep an eye out. Most of the stores I've been in which is mainly grocery have all the LI books. yay

Jeanne T said...

Winnie, I so appreciate this! Nailing down my elevator pitch is hard. My mind goes off in too many directions. At ACFW, after I pitched to one agent and got a pass, I talked with another agent, and through the conversation, I realized I pitched the wrong aspect of the story. Sigh. It's all good, though. And I'm taking that lesson forward with me.

With your great tips for crafting an elevator pitch, I should have better success next time. LOVED this because I love "formulas." :)

Debby Giusti said...

Winnie, you're such a great teacher, and we're always thrilled when you guest blog with us in Seekerville.

Thanks for providing three formulas for creating a compelling elevator pitch.

Very timely! I'm heading to the M&M conference in a few hours and will help writers fine tune their pitches in a Pitch Moderating Workshop this afternoon. I'll include your information! If your ears are burning, you'll know why. I'll be singing your praises!

Cindy Regnier said...

Thank you for a great post Winnie! Never had to give an elevator pitch (orally) but sure it's in my future somewhere. I can't wait to read A Family for Christmas. Great cover. And I <3 2 read.

Tanya Agler said...

Dear Winnie,
Wow. Your post is so right on target for me today. I am heading off to a convention in my backyard and will be pitching. I've been practicing in my head for the past couple of days, but your post gave some great advice. I'm so blessed that I clicked on it before I left my house today. Thank you.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Great advice, as always! You are a great teacher :)

Marianne Barkman said...

Good morning...I stopped in last night, but found I was too tired to comment. As a reader I'm finding it very educational to hear what goes into writing the books i love so much. Thanks, andt please enter my name in the drawing, Winnie.

Jamie Adams said...

Thanks for sharing Winnie! I love when you present writing tips. You're advice is always so clear and very helpful.

CaraG said...

Appreciate today’s posting and this clear, concise approach to elevator pitches, a skill I haven’t yet focused on. My mistake. Nailing the “tiny pitch with a big punch,” up front should keep me on story track from the very beginning, a discipline I need.

Was easily sidetracked this morning by your website. :) I’ll be returning to read more of everything, but particularly your VIP interviews. What riches. Thank you.

Janet Dean said...

Wonderful to have you back in Seekerville, Winnie! As always you bring print worthy succinct tips. I've never been good at elevator pitches. Thanks for giving us three ways to shrink the story down to a couple lines.

Your book sounds great! Love the bling!

Janet

Sherida Stewart said...

Winnie, I love the blurb of your LIH Christmas book!

Your "how to" advice is SO appreciated. I need a pitch for my first agent appointment. Perfect timing. Thanks!

Amy C said...

Glad to see you here, Winnie! Great post!
Your book sounds really good and would love to read it! :)

Mary Connealy said...

Once you get published it seems like you don't polish elevator pitches much anymore.
Which is a shame because sometimes you need one.
What I ended up with for the trailer for Fired Up is sort of an elevator pitch.

A doctor who's never spent a day in medical school.
A cook who burns everything she touches.
A town full of men who can't stop letting a pretty woman make them dinner…even though they need a doctor for their bellyaches later
It's an unholy alliance.
That leads to Trouble in Texas…FIRED UP


pol said...

Hi Winnie,
I seem to see many of the authors that I love to read here, I had not heard of the elevator pitch before but then I am not a writer so why would I, I just love to read and enjoy chatting with folks that like books and words...
Interesting concept and can see why it would be good. Authors are special people with great imaginations so know the pitch would not be hard for any of you.
good to see you again and looking forward to reading your new book.
Paula O

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome back, Books and Bling Griggs!!

Great post. I suck at pitches, in fact, it is best for me to just keep my mouth shut and shove an index card at anyone who asks about my books.

Really safer for mankind.

Marilyn Baxter said...

Great, great, GREAT info! I'm just in the plotting stages of a book I want to write for NaNoWriMo and this will also help me hone in on GMC for the hero and heroine.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. And if you are in the path of Hurricane Karen, be safe.

Mary Connealy said...

Great lesson, Winnie.

Cara Lynn James said...

Hi, Winnie! I think having a great 'elevator pitch' helps me stay on track while I'm writing a book. Otherwise it's easy to wander away from the main storyline. Thanks for all the info.

Myra Johnson said...

Winnie, great to have you as our guest today! Thanks for the extremely helpful guidance on developing the dreaded elevator pitch!

BTW, I loved reading your bio at the end of the post. You reminded me of my growing-up years in a rural area of South Texas and how much fun my best friend and I had exploring the fields, orchards, and woods all around us. Talk about fodder for the imagination!

Ah, those were the days . . .

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Tina--I love the "index card approach." My kind of pitching!

kaybee said...

WINNIE, I tend to babble during a pitch so I've been practicing at home and KEEPING IT SHORT AND SUCCINCT.
SANDRA, try the blond brownies with the butterscotch chips. The chips tend to melt toward the bottom, so it comes out as a kind of cookie-candy.
The coffee is brewed with fresh leaves from my chocolate mint plant.
TINA, I would love to do an index card, but I don't think a pre-pubbed writer could get away with it.

kaybee said...

Love to be entered in drawing for book, I'm a huge fan of holiday stories.

kaybee said...

Love to be entered in drawing for book, I'm a huge fan of holiday stories.

Vince said...

Hi Winnie:

It’s always a great day when you return to Seekerville. I always look forward to your posts.

I find all three of your examples to be very helpful. They are going in my Scrivener Writing Project. I see them as really being ‘coming attractions’ for your book. They are designed to sell the listener on wanting to hear more about the book. That’s like trying to get the interview and not close the sale in business situations. As such I think writers may be able to learn a lot about elevator pitches by watching ‘coming attractions’ that really move them to want to see the movie. Think motivation here.

I just wonder, however, what it would be like to really try to sell the book. Imagine this pitch to an editor:

“This book has everything needed to become Love Inspired’s best selling book ever. Based on market research, it features the most desired locations, the most popular romance theme, a hero and heroine in professions most readers enjoy reading about. It averages an amazing eight rewards per page. That’s the same as Nora Roberts books – the gold standard in rewarding readers and providing reading enjoyment. Best of all, it offers ten different streams of reading enjoyment to delight the reader from the first page to the last. There is always something happening that a reader can’t wait to see how it turns out. Independent field tests have shown that this book has the earned the highest reader enjoyment ratings ever recorded.”

Now that is a pitch designed to sell the book. If the editor doesn’t bite on this, just go right to the marketing department. They’d kill for it!

Imagine doing something like that? What if you already had cover art created to show the editor?

“Just look at this cover! How could any romance fan resist buying this book?” (The cover would illustrate all the elements that are most attractive to romance readers.) It would serve as visual proof of the truth of your pitch.

Now for something completely different: what do you think of working the Moral Premise into a pitch? Either overtly or as the inspiration for the formation of the pitch? I think knowing the Moral Premise can help in the creation of a better pitch.

One more category.

The parody comedy approach.

In this story Jane Austen finds a handsome beau who takes her to all the Regency Balls. There she meets all the characters from her novels. Life becomes confusing when these characters become best girlfriends and ask Jane for advice. Her advice does not work! When Darcy expresses his love for her, Jane's beau is upset and poor Elizabeth is devastated. But it all gets sorted out and there are HEA's all around.

Time to get back to work. I’m looking forward to reading your new Christmas book. There is something magic about the 1890’s! Never in history had there been so much energy and promise for the future.

Vince

kaybee said...

wow, I sent that twice. Well, I guess I'm REALLY a huge fan.

kaybee said...

VINCE, I actually like the premise of the Jane Austen one. You should write it.

Melanie said...

Would love to win a copy of your new book! Thanks for the chance. :)

frequentreader19 at gmail dot com

Melanie Dickerson said...

I love these blurb creators, Winnie! I just tried them out on some of my stories. They really help! These could even be great plotting tools. :-)

Winnie Griggs said...

Wow, you folks have been busy while I snoozed away the morning! I'm munching on a piece of toast as I sit here reading through everyone's comments. Did I see someone mention cookies?

Winnie Griggs said...

CindyW - I know it's anything BUT easy, at least for me, but it really is worth the effort.

Virginia - even if you won't be pitching to a professional, it's still a good idea to try to create one of these for your work. It makes it soooooo much easier to answer those casual 'so what's your book about' questions you get from time to time

Winnie Griggs said...

Ruthie, you're right, 'a little help from your friends' can make the process much easier. I know I can cut to the heart of someone else's work much easier than I can with my own.

Lyndee - glad you enjoyed the post and thanks SO MUCH for picking up my book!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Kav - you can do it! And thanks for ordering my book!

Rose, so glad you found the post helpful!

Audra - I always love to visit Seekerville! And I know October feels too early for a Christmas story but my editor assures me it's not :)

Pam Hillman said...

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Pitch, author, pitch!

And, Winnie, I agree, pitching someone else's work is MUCH easier. lol

Annie Rains said...

Where was this post before the RWA conference when I was terrified someone would ask me what my book was about, lol? I'm saving this post for next year's conference when maybe I'll be a little braver with my pitching.

Great post! Thanks for sharing!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

What a blessing this is, Winnie. Thanks for your excellent lesson on elevator pitches today.

I'm teaching a class on persuasive writing at an elementary school to 4th and 5th graders soon. You've shared some excellent ideas for the kiddos!

Would be thrilled to win the celebratory bling or your book! Thank you again for your visit to Seekerville!!!

may at maythek9spy dot com

Mary Connealy said...

VINCE I don't think there's a thing wrong with your paragraph. Because LI editors want to know you're studied their line and are reading their books. They respect that.
They might not get the Rewards Per Page, just because we here at Seekerville talk about it but it's not a universally acknowledged term. But you could even talk about that, being your own term and give a VERY short explanation of it, but I might leave that until later and not bring up Nora at that first pitch.
But the rest of it...
Say, "I read LI and I've researched what you like and have written a book with themes I think will appeal to your readers."
Much like what you've done.
But they are still going to want that pitch. The hero with the conflict and the heroine with the conflict and what's keeping them apart and why only TRUE LOVE will overcome it.

Winnie Griggs said...

Kathy - Pitchapalooza - what a fun name for what sounds like a great event! They undoubtedly gave you some great info, as I said there are a number of different approaches to doing this. And cograts on getting requests!!!

Julie!!! So great to see you here and you know I LOVED getting the opportunity to meet you and chat face to face in Atlanta!! It was one of my conference highlights!

Winnie Griggs said...

Jackie - you're quite welcome and thanks for the nice words about my book!

Hi Sandra - thanks for the welcome and glad you liked the post.

JeanneT - LOL, I know EXACTLY what it's like to suffer from a mind that refuses to focus. And as a math major, I love formulas too!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Debby - Have fun at M&M, wish I was going with you. That's a great conference! And feel free to use any of this you think will be helpful.

Cindy - you're quite welcome! And you're right, you're going to need this some day so it's best to prepare ahead of time.

Tanya - glad this post was timely for you and good luck on your pitches!!

DebH said...

Winnie
i love this post. very informative with great examples to help keep the idea firmly planted in the fertile soil of my mind. i can see how this will help me stay on track with my writing as well. never have had a chance to pitch anything, but this is golden info.

LOVE the book cover. it "feels" rich. would love a chance at winning.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Sherri, glad you enjoyed the post.

Marianne, thanks for stopping by and your name is in the hat!

Jamie - what a sweet thing to say! And you're quite welcome.

Winnie Griggs said...

CaraG - oh WOW, thanks for taking time to look through my website! And yes, there is a whole archive of interviews with editors, agents and authors who were generous enough to answer my questions. Lots of good info in there.

Hi Janet - thanks for the warm welcome and glad you enjoyed to post!

Carol Garvin said...

Love the cover of your Christmas book, Winnie! There's nothing that puts me in the mood to start my Christmas prepping early than settling in to read a great Christmas story.

As for pitching, it used to be *my* eyes that glazed over when someone asked me about my story! I knew I was supposed to keep it short, but didn't know where to begin (or how to shut up once I started!).

Now, early in a story's creation I create a single page for my binder. It's called "The Basics", and includes the concept in a phrase, the theme in a sentence, another one-liner for off-the-cuff quick responses to that inevitable question, and a one-or-two paragraph synopsis which serves as my outline. After I've read The Basics over umpteen times it really helps keep my tongue untangled. I'm heading for a conference later this month and will be pitching my latest work, so will see how it works when I'm under pressure!

I love your approaches to creating a pitch, Winnie! The formulas will definitely simplify the task of putting my basics together.

Winnie Griggs said...

Sherida (love your name BTW!) So glad the post came at a timely moment for you - good luck with your pitch!!

Amy C - thanks for leaving a note and glad you enjoyed the post.

Mary - Love the lines for your trailer! And yes, there's many a time I've found myself stuttering over my answer to the "what's your book about" question!

Mary Hicks said...

Winnie, thanks for the great information. I'm doing a print out to hang onto.

I'll look forward to reading your book. I love Christmas stories! My very favorites!!! :-)


Mare

Winnie Griggs said...

PaulaO - LOL on your comment about pitching not being hard - I'd much rather write a 300 page book than try to come up with a thumbnail sketch :)

Tina - Books and Bling Griggs - I think I'm going to use that as my new nickname! And LOL on shoving an index card at someone - there are times when I feel the exact same way!

Winnie Griggs said...

Marilyn - So glad you found the post of value and good luck with your NaNoWriMo efforts!

Thanks Mary!

Hi Cara Lynn - I think you're absolutely right about such a pitch keeping you focused.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Myra! Glad you enjoyed the post. And yes, I often draw on those childhood adventures when I need to reimagine something in my story - we were great at adding excitement to our adventures back then.

Kaybee - short and sweet is definitely the name of the game - just make sure it also intrigues!

Winnie Griggs said...

Vince - I love your fun pitch examples! One caveat though - they aren't elevator pitches. Elevator pitches are designed for when you only have a few seconds to 'sell it'. If you've got more time to cath and editor or agents attention, then you can do more (though not too much more - there's an art to the 10 minute pitch, but that's another post!)

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Melanie - your name is in the hat!

Melanie D. - You're quite welcome and I'm so glad you were able to use this guideline so quickly!!

Pam - LOL!

Winnie Griggs said...

Annie - Sorry I didn't get this out here in time for the conference, but now you have it for next time!

May - oh, cool that you think this might help the kids - let me know how that goes!

Winnie Griggs said...

DebH - Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the nice words about my cover. The folks in the LIH art department usually do a super job!

Carol - WOW! That sounds like you are fabulously organized. Unfortunately I'm never that pulled together - at ANY stage of my projects.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Thanks for the lesson, Winnie!
The part in your bio about your childhood, made where you grew up sound like so much fun!
Congratulation on your latest release!

Susanne Dietze said...

Fabulous post, Winnie! Crafting pitches is so tough, so I appreciate the advice.

Love the book cover, btw. Very rich and inviting!

Jenny Blake said...

i need to read
A mail order bride service able to send potential brides through a time portal

Its got me now will someone please write the story!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for sharing Winnie. When I was with Creative Memories we were told to do this to get new customers etc. I never did get it down well but it does work for many different areas. I did get my own pitch about myself down well.
Im a cricket fanatic who loves books.
Or my line when ordering a cricket magazine from another state that I support was.
Im really a Western Australian who had the misfortune of being born in victoria and living in South Australia. He thought it was funny.

Winnie Griggs said...

Mary H. - You're quite welcome - and glad you like the looks of my book!

Eva - My childhood WAS fun! I can't believe how fearless we all were back then.

Susanne - Glad you found some value in the post and I hope these guidelines take some of the 'tough' out of the process for you!

Donna C said...

Love the pin - so cute!!

Debbie Rhoades said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville! What wonderful authors you have there! And Winnie, let me tell you, I am in love with your book already! I am thrilled that Julie's page led me to the Seekerville blog --- wonderful!

Debbie Rhoades
ReadingMama922@gmail.com

Micky said...

I like the cover of the book and I always enjoy Christmas stories. Please enter me in the drawing. Terri, if you're going to Starbucks I'll take a Café Mocha with an extra shot of espresso (I didn't get enough sleep).

CatMom said...

Hi Winnie! I was so happy to meet you IN PERSON at RWA Atlanta and then see you again at ACFW recently! After I enjoy an author's books, it's a special treat to actually meet that author.

I really appreciate your post today--because I've always struggled with elevator pitches. I tend to give too much detail, or become flustered and my mind goes blank, LOL. So your post really helps and makes things clearer for me.

Your newest LIH sounds wonderful (love that cover). Please put me in the drawing, and thank you again for visiting.

Please enjoy the Georgia pecan pie I baked today (warm from the oven!).
Blessings from Georgia,
Patti Jo

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Jenny! LOL as I was writing that time traveling mail order bride example (which just came to me out of the blue) I had that same thought - I need to write that story!

Dona - I have your name in the hat!

Winnie Griggs said...

Debbie - so glad you like the looks of my book - thanks for letting me know!

Micky - you're definitely in the drawing

Melissa Jagears said...

Sorry, Vince, your first pitch would only make me think you haven't written a book--you told me no story, so I'd think you were a newbie and the next thing out of your mouth would probably be "I've only written the first chapter, but it's going to be great!" And I'd just be sorry for you if you showed me a cover because if you really wanted to publish with me, we're designing our own cover so all you did was waste money.

However incorporating the moral premise within the summary of the actual story pitch I think would be a good thing.

Library Lady said...

Our church library readers love to read the "Love Inspired Series" and I would love to win the "I Love 2 Read" Pin.
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

Winnie Griggs said...

Patti Jo, it was nice meeting you as well. And I'm so glad the post helped. And mmmmmmm warm pecan pie, thanks!!!

Melissa and Janet, thanks for stopping by and you're definitely in the drawing!

Sally said...

Love this post about elevator pitches. Thank you for breaking it down! Would love to be entered in the drawing. Love Christmas stories!! Thanks for the chance to win.
tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

Wanda B said...

I'm not a writer but I love to read and review books and your book sounds great. Looking forward to reading it! Thank you Miss Winnie for the great post and giveaway!

Wanda Barefoot
flghtlss1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Julie Lessman said...

WINNIE ... WELCOME BACK, GIRL!!!

Gosh, this was so good, I wish I were in an elevator with my editor!!! I sure could've used this last month. :)

Your new book looks GREAT, and the cover is SO inviting, like I want to step right into Christmas. Only I can't because I have a book due Jan. 1st and I need ALL the time I can get. :)

Hugs!
Julie

Winnie Griggs said...

Sally and Wanda - Thanks for taking time to drop me a note and you are both entered in the drawing!

Julie - thanks for the warm Seekerville welcome! LOL, I imagine you already know how to do all of this, but thanks for the kind words. And good luck with your deadline - hope you get to take time off during the holidays!!

Chill N said...

WINNIE - I downloaded the sample chapters of A Family for Christmas and enjoyed every word. I was smitten with Leo (the boy) from the beginning. The characters on the cover suit the characters in the book so well.

Thank you for the Character-Dilemma-Path method for a pitch. I haven't seen that before, and it also seems a good way to determine 'if' there's a story before taking to the keyboard.

Nancy C

Chill N said...

P.S. Don't enter me in the drawing -- the book's on order :-)

Nancy C

Tina Pinson said...

Hello Winnie,

Been trying to work on pitches. Thanks for the good ideas. Now we need to have a speech class so I won't get so tongue tied when I share them with someone. Funny because I can sing and speak in front of hundreds of people, but pitching my stories unsettles me.

:-)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Debbie, welcome aboard!

Isn't that cover of Winnie's book just gorgeous???? Love it!

Hey, I'm doing a chocolate run here. It's getting late on the East Coast and I'm hungerin'.... But I thought youse would like a bite of chocolate to start this weekend off right!


Vince!!! I love your pitch. I can imagine the NY editors rolling their eyes at it because they've heard it all before... But... I think you can deliver what you promise. I also think a pitch without a moral premise basis "thins" the book. And that can be worked into the pitch easily enough if the book truly has a moral premise.

I have become a huge moral premise fan and you know I don't do much in the way of reading or paying attention in class... Not when there's so many other fun things to do!!! But I love the moral premise. It works for me.

Winnie Griggs said...

NANCY!!! Thank you sooooo much for ordering my book - you're a doll. And glad you found the post helpful

Winnie Griggs said...

Tina - LOL on the speech class, you're on your own there. Public speaking has never been my strong point

Ruthie, thanks for the nice words about my cover!

Tina Pinson said...

Vince,

I did come up with covers and put them on my one sheets for ideas, and was told not to do that.

But I thought it was a great idea.

Tina Pinson said...

Winnie,

for many years I could speak in front of crowds but freaked when I sang. And our family went around and sang all over the place. We had this song where we each, 7 of us, sang a verse. I would try to psych myself up and would always loose my breath, start hick upping and end up nearly in tears.

My first conference I felt the same way when I gave a pitch. I'm getting better, still get flustered though.

Jenny Blake said...

Winnie I would buy a mail order bride time travel book but then I love sci fi. Could you imagine 1800 girl landing in 2013. or a 2013 girl landing back in 1800's now that would be a shock.

Winnie Griggs said...

Jenny - LOL - that has definite story possibilities!!

Mary Preston said...

The things I learn here. Fantastic thank you.

Please add my name to the hat.

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

I would love to win this awesome giveaway,enter me! Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless!
All of your books look and sound Fantastic Winnie!
Sarah Richmond
N.C.

Winnie Griggs said...

Mary - you're quite welcome, thanks for dropping by!

Sarah, your name is in the hat!

Leona Loller said...

Thank you, Winnie. I've been trying to write a back-cover-type-synopsis to share with prospective publishers/agents, etc. After reading your article, I've decided to start with the elevator version - using your very helpful outline - and add to it where it needs a little more. This will keep me brief (I tend to get a little wordy, if you haven't noticed:)and force me to focus on the main points.
And, yes, I would like to be entered in the drawing for your book and/or the ling. Thanks

Winnie Griggs said...

Leona, I think starting with your one-liner and then expanding if for your blurb is a great approach! Good luck and yes your name is in the hat

Linda Marie Finn said...

Thank you Winnie for the tips, sales pitch ideas and sharing your new book. I love the cover.
Blessings
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books
http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
faithfulacres7@gmail.com