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How to Develop an Emotion-Evoking Elevator Speech

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We know you’re emotionally charged when it comes to your book. Every author is! By the time you’re reaching out to publishers, agents, or editors, you’ve hopefully put your TIME, blood, sweat, and probably tears as well into carefully crafting the “perfect book.” After that, it would be a challenge for you to NOT be emotional about it. No one else has that luxury—and no one else cares how emotional it was for YOU. They care about how it can be emotional for them. It’s a big challenge to make your audience react emotionally. The biggest challenge? Making publishers, agents, and editors react emotionally—which, of course, you have to tackle first.

In order for your readers (or industry professionals) to be inspired to support your book, they need to be inspired PERIOD. Emotion is the main key to decision making. And this emotional reaction has to happen quickly. We’re talking 40 to 50 words (an elevator speech). Short. Brief. Abbreviated. But evocative!

How to develop an emotion-evoking elevator speech:

1) Choose an opening sentence that introduces a topic your readers care about. This sounds easy, but that “thing” that readers care about might not be obvious because it might not be the most prominent part of the book. Say you have a book sharing 300 ways we can prevent demolition of the world’s rainforest. The most prominent part of the book would be the numbered list of specific items we can buy less of, new ways to recycle, etc. But does a how-to on using less toilet paper really evoke emotion? Maybe not the right kind. However, the line “We have only 25% of the monkey species that we had in 1900” [not an actual statistic] draws on the readers’ emotion and tells them why they should care.

2) Follow with a line that promises relief or an optimistic outlook. This type of line gives the readers reason to care even more about the emotional topic depicted in the first line. For example, if we opened up with the monkey-species line, you might want to follow it up with, “The future of the rainforests does not have to look this bleak.” Or some other factoid that hints at positive action.

3) Close with a line that invites further enthusiasm and/or action. This line closes the deal. It invites your readers to engage and invest themselves. You’ve told them why they should care, and now you’re going to hint that your book can bring them to the how. “Did you know that if everyone eliminates gelatin desserts from their diets, we would lose 7 million fewer trees a year? How to Single-Handedly Save the Rainforests shares these tricks to make real differences for our planet!” [again, not an actual statistic].

4) Be authentic with your elevator speech. Your audience can sense when you’re not. Focus on things that your audience will care about, but make sure YOU really care about them as well.

While it looks clear here, it is a challenge to switch writing modes into “marketing” text when you’re used to writing your book. Take time to polish it. Make sure every word counts. You have an extremely short time to engage your readers or publishing professionals, and it always pays to do it right. It’s a good idea to even consider paying for a couple of hours with a reputable marketing person to give you some feedback, to really hone in your emotive focus.

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  1. Wow, what a great post!! It’s crazy how much preparing for the little things like this can truly make a difference. Wise Ink, what’s yours? :)

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