It takes a lot of guts to actually introduce yourself as a “writer”. The word itself seems to precipitate an immediate game of twenty questions.
What do you write? Did you write a book?
Where can I read your stuff? Is it in the local library?
When did you start? Do you write fiction?
Would I recognize any of the titles?
Do you know Oprah Winfrey? She reads a lot, you know?
The barrage used to intimidate me and make me stumble all over myself but not anymore.
I remember the first time I told a stranger that I’d written a novel and they asked me what it was about.
Now, that’s a very valid and legitimate question (and one that should be expected) but I often lost myself in the answer.
Words of explanation, plot twists, and descriptions of minor characters started spilling out like that of long stringy drool from a baby’s mouth–I simply couldn’t be stopped.
Does this sound at all familiar?
Well, there’s this girl and she well you know, likes a guy but her older sister is leaving town to go to college and her mom is crying all the time…then in chapter seventeen, the main character falls in love with ….oh wait… I forgot to mention that her best friend is sleeping with her dad’s uncles cousin who lives in England in this tiny apartment with his dog Fluffy and….blah blah blah…
Eyes are glazed over and you curse under your breath because you’ve done it again. Dang, it.
Identifying as a writer means being prepared for the questions.
People are curious and want to know more. I believe the fascination stems from a place of respect and reverence. Writing is an art form and let’s face it not everyone can do it.
Prepare an answer for those curious about your writing. Make a list of the things you’ve written. Poems, articles, essays, short stories, or full-blown novels—whatever—you don’t need to explain details to anyone.
You may say:
“Yes, I’ve completed my first book and it’s with my agent who is shopping publishers to find it a home” (that’s true for me right now), or you may say “I’m going to self-publish it soon.”
I’m a freelance writer. I have a blog and do articles. Here’s my card”—which of course you carry all the time—”check out my website”.
Perhaps, you need to work on your elevator pitch.
This is a four or five line condensed explanation of what your book is about.
An elevator pitch is a clear explanation of your book that can be told in an elevator ride from the Lobby to the (hopefully) Upper/highest floor.
If you’re headed to a conference this is important to practice—you never know when you’ll be stuck in an elevator with an agent or publisher.
It’s meant to introduce your work and pique the interest of the listener.
The key is that you must first write it.
Include KEY information.
An elevator pitch should include:
- A greeting and your name: Hello, my name is Faye Arcand.
- The name/length/genre of your book: ie: Novel, YA Fiction-Thriller, 80K words and completed.
- Hook Lead: ie: Susie, a naive high school student is so wrapped up in the hyped-up drama of boyfriends, fitting in, and prom that she doesn’t even realize she’s being followed by a serial killer who likes to keep trophies of his sexy young victims and is a lot closer than she realizes.
- Will she realize the truth before it’s too late or will she become one of his victims?
- This book of survival, smarts, and teen angst will leave you breathless.
- I would like to share a sample of my work with you in hopes of securing an agent for representation.
You can see that all the basic information about yourself, the main character, and the main conflict is given. And, you’ve stated your goal at the end.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
and always remember your own calling card AKA:
Business Cards… Never leave home without them!
They’re your link to others. I’d leave the phone number off unless you don’t mind getting phone calls from strangers. You never know who’s hand that card will end up in.
I love VistaPrint where you can get business cards without breaking the bank.