Every day I ask my
kids how school was. The typical response I get is: “Good.” No details. Then,
after a pause in which I give them the opportunity to say more but get met with
silence, I ask them to tell me more. Rather than discuss a highlight or
prioritize what is shared with me, they each retell their day in a
Unfortunately, most authors are no better when I ask them what their book is about.
They say very little, answering the question defensively, as if they were called to testify, reluctantly, in a murder trial. Terse and to the point, they fail to convey information, emotion, energy, or insight. They simply are unable to tell a story and rally someone to be curious about their book.
Others talk a lot, on and on, but say very little. They ramble and fail to emphasize the most important things. They merely, and painfully, spew chapter summaries and offer a dull report in chronological order. It’s like hearing a joke without a punchline.
So what is the key to a good elevator speech?
Keep it to 20 seconds. If it is five seconds, it is too short and though you may be succinct, you likely under-shared. You do yourself a disservice by not highlighting all of your key points. If it is a minute long, you are burying the highlights and diluting your message. Twenty seconds — or 110 words — is what you need to strive for. Neither be a blabbermouth nor an introvert.
Don’t just sound like you are rattling a memorized, prepped statement. Make it sound natural. Keep it real. Talk to them, not at them.
Speak with enthusiasm in your voice. They won’t be excited if you are not.
Say it with conviction, vision, and mission. Sound like you are part of a movement, conveying a rallying cry for your book. Give them a sense of urgency and momentum to buy the book.
Smile. Exude confidence. Be optimistic. People buy from whom they like, trust, or feel interested in. Sound relatable to them. Say something that lets others know they can identify with you. Find something in common.
Go beyond the book. Talk about yourself. Express shared values. Show there is a meaningful message, one that is bigger than just selling a book. You are really marketing a state of mind or a way of being. A book represents ideas, experiences, feelings, stories, events, and people. Touch upon whatever you think could resonate with another.
Put your book into context. Have an identifiable comparison. Show how your book counters common thinking, busts myths, or challenges a trend.
Reference your successes: Awards won: Testimonials garnered; Publisher name (if big); Media coverage; Reviews of the book; and Social media platform follower totals (if impressive).
Don’t overhype your message with obvious bluster, baloney, and bragging. Use words and terms that don’t sound salesy or like industry jargon. Say things that are relevant, and fill a need, meet a desire, or serve a purpose.
Your goal here is not just to report back on the facts of the book’s contents, but it is about applying relevance. Build on a foundation that you establish. You reference a specific point in the book, not just to share it for its own value, but to do so with context and perspective.
Customize your elevator speech. Know who you are talking to. Express yourself in a way you want them to perceive you. Play to the crowd.
Is your elevator speech taking you to the penthouse or the basement? You decide.
Contact Brian For Marketing Help!!
Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: .