In just a few days I will be participating on a panel about writing and publishing. Before these panels take place, typically, the participants get the questions ahead of time so they can prepare. Tuesday I got the email for my panel next week and I began to read over the questions. Most of them are simple answers, nothing too difficult. Of course the last question got me.
The very last thing the authors do will be giving a brief elevator pitch for one of our books. Here’s my beef with elevator pitches. They are the stupidest fucking thing on the planet.
I’ve spoken to other authors who have all agreed that when asked to describe their book or summarize it, it’s probably one of the most difficult questions to answer. First, most of the authors I interact with are self-published which means they are passionate enough to pay and do everything themselves. We bleed into our work, we keep writing even though we may not have a huge audience, we try everything in our power to get people interested in something we love. That being said, our stories are our babies. Trying to describe your child in 60 seconds is not a simple task. The authors put a lot of blood sweat and tears into it so the story is more than just a story to them and def. to me.
The basic summary sounds good, but I always want to go deeper into it and it just ends up sounding awful. That’s probably the one question I’m not looking forward to and I never look forward to. I live my story every single fucking day I write about it. The characters I’ve created have their own lives and feelings. Asking me to explain that in 60 seconds is insane.
Here’s my 60 second elevator pitch vs how I would explain it with more time.
60 seconds: Tormented Soul is about Kaden Strom, a girl whose best friend is kidnapped on a girls night out. Kaden is hell-bent on rescuing her friend when she meets a mysterious young man named Finley who she believes knows who took her friend. Finley shows Kaden a fae world hidden with the streets of Seattle and as she finds herself being pulled further and further into the fae world, she realizes her best friend is in much more trouble than she originally thought. (note: I had to stop timing myself while writing this)
My explanation: Tormented Soul is about loyalty, it’s about discovering yourself in a world that might not make a whole lot of sense. There may be aspects of fantasy but really anyone can relate to it. The main character Kaden doesn’t have a lot of family so she makes her own with her best friend Megan. The second Megan goes missing, Kaden is willing to receive help from a stranger to find her. While she’s off trying to save someone very important to her, she discovers just how loyal people in her life are. Kaden’s journey is a test of the people in her life along with who she really is.
As you can see, the actual summary is very different from how I perceive the book. I barely mention the fantasy part because that’s not the most important aspect. When I was writing it, I hid reality in the fantasy. So when people ask what’s my book about, most of the time I use the short answer of faeiries or fae because that’s the basic answer. People don’t want to here me go on and on about Kaden to discover by reading it that it’s fantasy. And even when I do go into it, the second I mention anything fantasy reality their faces change. They want simple, but a book isn’t always simple. I’m not too sure why people get so turned off by fantasy or faeries. I think they decide in their minds it’s a story for kids then. All these stories fantasy or not have qualities that anyone can relate to really. The fantasy aspect just adds mystery to it. It’s a whole other layer with in the reality.
In my opinion I’d much rather take time to explain it to someone, if you’re looking for a quick answer you are not going to get a good one.