How to Write the Perfect Pitch to Sell Your Novel In Person
Welcome to our weekly guest column by Ezra Barany, the Book Mentor and author of the bestselling novel The Torah Codes. He offers indie novelists important tips, entirely under our control, to help our books be discovered by readers all over the world. This week he focuses on how to write the perfect pitch to sell your novel in person.
Have you ever noticed how you might meet an author at a party who pitch his or her book by saying, “Buy my book.”
You may be tempted to respond, “My name’s Frank. It’s a pleasure to meet you, too. I’m going to get more punch, now.”
And yet, on the other end of the spectrum, there are authors who are so afraid of pitching and selling their book that they are embarrassed to mention their novel at all.
There is a middle ground. This blog post will show you how to get your potential readers excited at the idea of reading your book. Yes, I’m going to help you write the perfect pitch to sell your novel in person.
Just so we’re all clear, in this context, a pitch is something you say to get people curious about your book, so they will say, “Oh! Tell me more!” and eventually buy your book.
Every time I use this method people say with enthusiasm,, “I’m going ——
By the end of this post, you will be able to write a pitch. So, please post your pitch along with a link to your book, and I’ll chime in with my excellent awesome feedback.
Imagine you’re at a party meeting different people for the first time. If your goal were to court a lady, your conversation wouldn’t start, “Ha, ha! You’re so funny!… What do you do?… Want to go out for a cup of coffee?… It’s a pleasure to meet you… Hi, my name’s Frank.” Right?
Each moment of the conversation requires an appropriate order to what you might say. Similarly, when you meet someone and think they might be interested in your book, each part of the conversation requires a different kind of pitch.
“Hi,” someone at a party says to you. “I’m Moshe, a dentist. What do you do?”
So what do you say?
Well, you prepare ahead of time the 6 pitches below, and you will use many of them to sell you book one on one in a social setting.
I present them in the order I recommend you use them, from shortest to longest.
I will share with you how to craft a:
- #1: Clear Message Formula
- #2: High Concept Formula
- #3: What If? Formula or Log Line
- #4: Elevator Pitch Formula
- #5: Credibility Pitch Formula
- #6: Call to Action Formula
Usually, I find that all I need to say is the Clear Message, the High Concept, and the Credibility formula before the person I’m talking to writes down my name and book title.
At that point, and ONLY at that point, I hand her a bookmark. She’s developed a genuine interest in the book, so the bookmark is a welcome sight, and she appreciates not having to write down the info.
- Your genre
- Your audience
- Your audience’s desired result or experience: what they want
- Your intended action upon your readers
Genre = Thrillers
Audience = Jewish Adults
Audience’s Desired Experience = Page-turning Excitement
My Intended Experience for Them = Challenge Their Beliefs
“Hi, I’m Ezra. I write page-turning thrillers for Jewish adults that challenge their beliefs in a fun way.”
“Really? What’s the name of one of your books?”
**For expanded instructions on the Clear Message formula, read this post written by Beth Barany, my beautiful bride and amazing book coach, without whom this post here would never have been completed!
High Concept Formula
[Famous book or movie] meets [famous book or movie]
[Specific version or type] of [famous book or movie]
Example 1: Lara Croft meets The Lord of the Rings
Example 2: A Jewish version of The Da Vinci Code
“My most recent book is called The Torah Codes. It’s a Jewish version of The Da Vinci Code.”
“Wow! So, like, what’s it about?”
What If? Formula or Log Line (Under 25 words)
What if [protagonist] [unwanted experience]?
One-line clear sentence conjuring conflict and emotion
Example 1: What if Peter Pan grew up?
Example 2: During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
“My book asks the question ‘What if you found your name and birth date were encoded in the Bible?’ ”
“Intriguing! Tell me more!”
Elevator Pitch Formula
- Situation: (Also called the Initial Action or Premise, this is the beginning of the plot.)
- Main Character(s): (Self-explanatory)
- Primary Objective: (At first, what does your main character want?)
- Antagonist Or Opponent: (or Central Conflict. Who or what is keeping your main characters from getting what they want?)
- Disaster That Could Happen: (What’s the worst that could happen, and/or what does your character want next? Often phrased as a question.)
1. Abandoned on his relatives’ doorstep as an infant,
2. Harry Potter
3. longs to understand where he came from and why he feels different.
4. He discovers that he is a wizard and that his parents were killed by Voldemort, a powerful and evil wizard,
5. who has been hunting for Harry, to kill him.
“A reclusive computer programmer, Nathan Yirmorshy, pounds out ones and zeros in the quiet of his home while his landlord secretly watches from behind a two-way mirror. When an intercepted note connects the landlord to a secret society, and a detective ends up dead, Nathan must abandon his home and everything familiar to him, open his heart to a tarot reader he has never met, and trust her with his life – just as the ancient scriptures have foretold.”
“Wow! Sounds interesting!
Credibility Pitch Formula
List the reviews, awards, and best-seller status.
“It’s been doing really well! It’s been getting four and five-star reviews, it won an award at The Hollywood Book Festival, and it’s an Amazon bestseller in the US and the UK!”
“Incredible! I gotta read it!”
Call to Action Formula
Provide a bookmark, business card, or item that has the name of the book and the websites which have the book available. Consider having your website or Amazon link turned into a QR code on the item in case they want to take a snapshot of the code with their iPhone to bookmark the website on their browser.
“Here’s a bookmark, it has all you need to find my book online.”
“Thanks! I’m going to get this as soon as I’m on the internet!”
Now it’s your turn! And as I said above, please post your pitch along with a link to your book, and I’ll chime in with my excellent awesome feedback.
Ezra Barany, an award-winning novelist and the bestselling author of The Torah Codes series, and is also a teacher and mentor.
For more about Ezra’s fiction, go to his website here: https://thetorahcodes.com/.