Once people know that you’ve written a book, you’ll get asked a million times, “Hey, what’s your book about?” Most who ask this are only half-heartedly interested so you have about 10 seconds before they totally tune you out.
This means you have to practice and master what’s called an “elevator pitch.” It should be no more than two sentences. It’s essentially your hook and what’s in it for the reader.
If you can get your hook into the subtitle of your book, that’s ideal. Then, you just have to say the title of your book, with the subtitle being your pitch, and you’re good to go.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is probably the best example I’ve ever seen of this. He took four words and turned them into a phrase that will always be synonymous with his brand. The fact that his Rich Dad is fictional doesn’t take away from the power of what he has built from a single book and a powerful hook. His subtitle says it all:
What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not.
It’s a little long as far as subtitles go but there’s not a person, rich or poor, who doesn’t want to know that information. It sells the book with a curiosity-driven hook that promises a reward. All you need to do is tell people that subtitle and they will want to read the book.
The key is to get yours down to a sentence or two. You never know who may ask about your book. Maybe it’s the owner of a bookstore chain, a book critic, a movie producer looking for the next big concept, or someone who has never read a book like yours. No matter who it is, the pitch is important. Your goal is to get people to say, “Wow, I NEED to read that!” or “That sounds interesting, where can I buy it?”
Or, if they don’t say that, hopefully they say, “I have to tell my mom/best friend/boss about that book. They will love it!”
Having it memorized to the point that you can recite it in your sleep. If you’re startled in the middle of the night by a ghost that pops out from under your bed and asks, “What’s your book about?” you should immediately be able to deliver your pitch before you scream in terror.
From “Self-Publish & Succeed: The ‘No Boring Books’ Way to Write a Non-fiction Book That Sells” by Julie Broad