Pitching the Quintessential Elevator Pitch

Confession: I’d never heard the term “elevator pitch” until this week.  I must have been living in a cave (at least metaphorically).  But it’s what I suspected it might be: a sales pitch.  Another confession: it also had me thinking Muzak, that “homogenized” stuff they used to play many moons ago in, yup, elevators.  (Apparently, Muzak is still piped into retail outlets and the like.  If that’s the case, from what I’ve heard the odd time—I’m not much of a shopper—it’s not nearly as ear-wincing as it was back when.)

Think of your elevator pitch like a blurb for your book or blog (or whatever business you might be in).  In essence, you’re sharing your know-how, your talent.  It should be short and sweet, and persuasive.

persuasive = convincing = compelling = winning

You want to create interest—be that spark . . . flicker . . . trigger that prompts the listener/reader into action.  So what’s the first thing you want to do?  Right.  Focus on the goal; determine your objective.

Given many of us are writers/bloggers, our goal would be to entice readers and, subsequently, generate sales.  What is it about our books or blogs—“products”—that we’d like people to remember?

♦   Something like this might work nicely:  “I’m XYZ, a successful food blogger with 310,500 followers and three books with 45 five-star reviews.”  (If this is you, hat’s off!)

If we can write a two-paragraph blurb, we can write an elevator pitch.  No question.  However, instead of being objective (impartial), like detailing a novel plot or blog theme, we have to be subjective (personal) and provide facts.

♦   Have we sold numerous copies?  Received positive reviews and accolades?  Do we have an abundance of followers?  What makes us stand out (be memorable)?  Why are we unique?

Start with a list attributes and accomplishments.  Jot down 10-20 things that people should know.  If you have bona-fide stats, insert those.  Is there a mission statement?  Add it.  Then edit, keeping only the most vital—unforgettable—facts.  What you pitch must be succinct—no more than 30 seconds.

Do you have something to offer at the conclusion?  A free copy of one of your books?  Tips/advice?  Maybe a contest with a prize?  If you’ve got it, give it.

And speaking of giving, give thought to expressing what you’d like to happen: have a meeting, be followed, receive a response/input, make a sale.  Put forward that ultimate goal.

Consider who you’re pitching to.  An elevator pitch for career/business networking might be different than that for social media.  It depends on the audience and what your goal/focus is.  Having two or more elevator pitches won’t hurt.  And never forget: practice makes perfect.

So do practice that pitch, yes, until it’s perfect.  And demonstrates your passion.  If you’re not excited about who you are and what you do, why should anyone else be?  So when you’re riding on that elevator—literally or otherwise—let your [dynamic] pitch woo the person(s) you’re riding with.

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The End . . . of a New Beginning . . .

Just finished “Odd Woman Out”, the weekly-installment book on Wattpad.  Yay!  T’is truly the end, the concluding conclusion, the final farewell.

That got me thinking that a worthwhile venture might be a quick post on what to consider re a book’s ending.

Given the end should prove the apex—the highpoint—of your book/story, you want to close with a bang.  Depending on the genre, tension and excitement will vary.  In a romance, you’ll want the heroine and hero to argue, to detest each other, to bicker, and then to—awwwww—kiss and make up forever and ever.  In a mystery, you’ll need a body or five to impel the protagonist along a twisting trail to determine the demented killer, also known as Evil Villain.  Whatever the genre, though, events and incidents should propel the reader toward a grand finale.

A grand finale can be surprising, unusual, even quirky.  Engage readers’ imaginations.  Tease them if the story/plot warrants it.  What that grand finale shouldn’t be is ridiculous, laughable, or implausible.  And, if you’re writing a series, leave some things unsaid—entice your readers to want to pick up the next book.

If you’re writing for the first time, read books in your genre to get a feel for what works.  Research what makes for good endings.  A one-off/standalone may have your main character(s) change . . . grow up . . . mature . . . become informed.  A series can offer the same, but character growth and development could be extended into the next book(s).

Happy endings are wonderful.  I love them.  Life isn’t always that pleasant and things don’t continuously happen in our favor.  But it’s ni-ice to have things work out in a story.  It provides . . . yeah . . . satisfaction.

But, given your story, maybe things don’t end well.  Maybe the heroine drives off into the sunset, leaving the hero at the side of the road.  Or there’s a surprise (but not unbelievable) twist that has the protagonist doing something unexpected (but, again, not unbelievable).

You don’t have to provide a lot of action to build up to the climax, but you do have to keep your readers’ attention.  Provide for tension and/or friction; get readers involved emotionally.  They not only want to know—they need to know—what’s going to be revealed in the subsequent pages.

In “Odd Woman Out” (“OWO” as I fondly call it), Alex, the protagonist, returns to where she started, but she’s a little wiser, informed, mature.  The story follows her physical—mental/emotional—journey, where she’s learned some difficult, painful lessons . . . . as we all [hopefully] do. wptheend1a

That grand finale is about what’s transpired, been gleaned, and realized.  It’s not just “the end” . . . it’s a conclusion to [another] beginning.

Ya Got Me

Ever sat down to write your weekly/biweekly blog post . . . to find yourself gawking at the laptop screen?  Annoying, ain’t it?  That Wednesday post I normally write in advance was so not coming.

At this juncture, I’m awaiting the design of four e-book covers (was in the works but the $ ask is now too high, so they’re in limbo for the moment) plus the formatting of “Forever Poi” (soon to be in the works, but definitely on the table).  A few new looks are on the horizon, not just with said books, but blog, too . . . hopefully.  When those [finally] happen, here’s to a new approach and attitude.

In the meanwhile, ya got me.  I was stumped and scratchin’ the ol’ noggin, wondering what the heck to post about.  But then, lo and behold, as if a sturdy coconut tumbled from a palm tree and conked me on the cranium, it came.  Eureka, the next post! wpscratchboxabb

Why not provide one that features a few videos about . . . yup . . . what to blog/post about when . . . yup . . . you’ve got nothing to blog/post about.

So, my friends, I thought we’d start with a quick, straightforward one entitled “4 Mistakes You Make When Posting Video on Your Blog” by Rocky Walls.  At a little over two minutes, Rocky provides some simple and sound pointers.

“How to Overcome Writer’s Block” featuring Jenna Moreci is kind of fun/funny.  Perky and pretty, this woman talks fast . . . and talks a decent game, too.  If you don’t care for “cuss words”, you may not want to tune in (but 3K+ viewers were fine with it).  In fact, she has a few inspiring YouTube vids re writing, so give her a gander.

Diane Callahan’s “17 Cures for Writer’s Block” has a more professional approach, kind of like watching an informative program on the Discovery or History channel.  It’s an easy 14 minutes to watch: the visuals are as crisp and clear as Diane’s soothing, instructive voice.

Cute animation and a wry sense of humor in four-minute “WRITER’S BLOCK – Terrible Writing Advice” makes for a worthy watch.  And that terrible writing advice makes total sense—why not wallow in self-pity?  <LOL>  I’ll be looking for more of J.P. Beaubien’s stuff.  He prompted a [much-needed] enjoyable chuckle.

You know what?  I’m going to add that to the to-do list: make a YouTube vid.  . . . As soon as I watch one on how to make one.

Between a Post and a Page

Today I’ve posted a page—the promised 25 things about myself.  Why a page?  It seemed more fitting, I suppose.

What’s the difference between a page and a post, you ask?  <LOL>  The former is timely, listed in chronological order (new to old) while the latter is a stagnant—yup—page.  It can advise of your privacy policy, provide a legal notice, describe you.  Pages don’t have associated times and dates.  They’re . . . there.

Moreover, posts can be organized into categories and tags, and people can subscribe to them.  They’re “postable” in other social media sites, courtesy of plug-ins, and are great to communicate with others through comments.

Both look similar, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed.  Nothing wrong with that.  Use both as you see fit.

. . . Like sharing 25 facts about yourselfwp2a

Winning / Selling Slogans

Slogan = Motto = Catchphrase = Tagline

Tinkering with the old Triple Threat Investigation Agency logo got me checking out logo-oriented sites.  I found one where you enter words and pick symbols, and—voilà—it speedily designs a few . . . at a cost, of course.

I haven’t attained the right mix/look yet, so no purchase has been made.  Not sure if that will happen, either.  For now, I’m going to continue playing around to see if I can create my own eye-catching and memorable logo.

While on said site, it requested I enter a slogan.  . . . A slogan?  A phrase that expresses the objective(s) or essence of a business.  A marketing—selling—component.  <bleep>  Why didn’t I think of that?!  <LOL>

Regardless of the business, a straightforward (clear) slogan has to capture the mission, commitment/guarantee, and brand.  It should be appealing and unforgettable, and short and sweet (five words tops, it’s been said).  Easy-peasy?  Hell no.

More searching ensued and I came across a blurb about “slogan generators”.  There are a few free ones.  Tried a couple.  Oof.  Maybe one has to go with a paid service, because the free ones weren’t offering anything remotely good (to be fair and kind, I won’t provide names).

Dick, shamus, gumshoe were synonyms for private investigator back when.  I have to admit, I kind of like them (but then I love those old B&W movies with the cheesy dialog).  Do they resonate with today’s readers?  Probably not, but—to use JJ’s favorite phrase—never say never.

Here are some.  Please, do feel free to provide input; I’d very much welcome it.

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Not bad, not great, but a decent start.  . . . Better pull on the ol’ creativity cap and think some more.

OWO Woe

OWO (“Oh-woe”), otherwise known as Odd Woman Out, is a fiction novel I’ve been posting weekly on Wattpad.

It’s almost completed.  Yay!   So why the “woe”?  Because 1) it’s nearly done and 2) what’ll I do next!?  <LOL>

There’s a lot on my plate—the next Triple Threat Investigation Agency book, blog, artistic/technical efforts—but it’s a pleasant challenge to write something that’s different, something outside the ol’ comfort zone.  Granted, OWO was a twenty-some-year old project I pulled out of a drawer over a year ago, so there was no need to start from scratch or head-scratch.  owo1a

If you’ve got absolutely nothing to do one afternoon and are looking for something to read or take a quick look-see at, maybe you could check it out?  I always welcome feedback.  Here’s a quick rundown:

Alexia Raidho (or Alex, as she prefers) searches for self and soul as she travels along a literal and cerebral journey.

Through diary entries and fiction writing, Alex reflects upon exploits, accomplishments and failures, and speculates whether she might be an odd woman out.  Relationships, even those of a volatile and abusive nature, have impelled her down paths she might otherwise never have taken.  All—gratefully, she’ll willingly admit—have expanded her vision, talent, and maturity.

Her honesty can be raw or pained, melancholy or funny, depending on what or who she is reflecting upon.  Encounters, accidental or intentional, occasionally hold consequences while eccentric family members often make for entertaining—if not embarrassing—moments.  Friends and lovers, on the other hand, can make for surprising ones.  

Is it an adequate summation?  I’d say so.  I’d also say [admit] that the first half of the book is much stronger than the last.  Maybe my enthusiasm had started waning back then, as it [sort of] did now.  Could it have been better, edited more thoroughly, rewritten after twenty-plus dust-collecting years?  To be sure.

So what’s the next Wattpad project?  Something related to soul-searching and faith finding, to releasing emotions/thoughts/regrets collected over time.

It may be the tale of an only child born to two angry, bitter alcoholics.  Sadly, Tuula (not sure why that particular name came to mind) could never cut the apron strings and many decades later ends up caring for a mother who only had time for the bottle when she was growing up.  Words of love and kindness never existed, and still don’t.  As the years bleed through her fingers like ink upon paper, Tuula arrives at a belated realization: there is indeed truth to the notion that people perpetually seek acceptance and praise even when logically and rationally, very deep down, they know it will never transpire.

When you’re a writer, the world truly is your oyster.  Imagination and/or life serve as fabulous fodder for creative endeavors.  Here’s to perpetually pursuing and using our God-given talents . . . and embracing every moment. gifaminoapps

Manners Matter

A handful of post ideas accelerated through me yesterday like the DeutscheBahn ICE speeding through the German countryside.  I impressed myself.  Woo-hoo.

However, I decided to go with a topic that popped into the wee noggin after the blog idea blitz: manners.  Remember those?  The way one person acts towards another?

No, I’m not being sarcastic.  Okay, maybe a little.  There have been a few recent incidents that leaned toward bothersome.  Civility shouldn’t be that difficult to demonstrate/deliver.  It takes but a few seconds to respond to a question.  When a favor is requested, the “requestee” doesn’t have to commit.  They can simply state they can’t do it, need time to consider it, or will get back—and then get back.  It’s called showing respect . . . being well-mannered Don’t agree to do something if it’s not going to happen.  Honesty is a refreshingly wonderful thing.

As bloggers/writers—salespersons in our own rights—a certain level of blog etiquette is required.  We want to attract followers, not lose them before they’ve even been secured.

If we’re critics, reviewers, or analysts, we may have negative comments to provide but, hopefully, we’ll do so in a courteous manner.  And if someone comments on our comments, let’s be considerate when we comment back (how’s that for a commentary comment?).

When someone doesn’t agree with you, that’s totally okay.  Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinions.  Embrace dissimilarity.  It makes the world go around.

No one likes a troll, someone who’s mean or negative, or out to bait/bully.  Don’t be one and don’t troll back.

Focus on: building winning relationships; developing respect; treating others as you’d like to be treated, and; acknowledging when required (if you use a photo or quote that’s not yours, cite and/or link).

There are a lot of marvelous quotes to be found about manners, but this one—from author and activist (among other notable things) Bryant H McGill—is simple and clear:

 Good manners are appreciated as much as bad ones are abhorred. 

wpmanners2

To Breathe or Not to Breathe

That is not the question, but a must.  <LOL>  Managed to catch a nasty cold, which is evolving into a cough.  Breathing is a challenge.  I’m walking around smelling like essence de Vicks, with mind in automaton mode, and body parts screaming for analgesic cream and chiro sessions.

Still, somehow, I’m managing to get blogging/writing things done.  Working here and there on the fourth in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series, “HA-HA-HA-HA”.  Have taken a step to finding a new cover designer, but have a way to go.  Haven’t yet formatted “Forever Poi” (had hoped that someone else would long ago have done it, as requested numerous times but, alas, has not).  That’s okay.  Sometimes it’s a good thing when something doesn’t work out.  Know what I mean?

My first official post of 2019 is a tribute to the name of my blog in that it’s a “grab-bag” of thoughts and plans, yet much ado about nothing . . . though perhaps not as comedic, if at all (I am sick, after all).  <sniffle, snort, snuffle>  [Hmm, there’s a poem in that.]wpredboxuse3

On the posting roster is sharing 25 unknown facts about myself.  Maybe this’ll be of little interest to readers, but it’ll serve as a useful personal purge.  Expect that shortly.

Am definitely keeping an eye open for new pics for my blog and Facebook page.  Taking those little baby steps I used to write about back when.  Better to reach that final destination painstakingly slowly—and safely—than take a few [painful] headers along the way.

. . . Is it just me or does this first week of January feel like it should be the last one?  Time soared like a hawk pursuing prey, then suddenly slowed like syrup poured at a mid-December Montana picnic.  Can you spell y-a-w-n?

Young business woman yawning

Say, here’s something not yet done.  What would you, fellow bloggers and writers, and followers, like to see on this blog?  Continued writing/editing advice?  More frequent reviews (than once every four months)?  Excerpts from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency mystery series?  Personal thoughtszzzzzzzz?  <LOL>  I’m open to suggestions so, please, suggest away!

On that note, my friends, my cold and I bid you <achoo> adieu.  Stay healthy; be well.

Resolutions, Pledges, and Promises

Call them what you will—most of us make them at the start of a New Year.  And then many of us sweep them under a mat before the end of a New Year we’d hoped would be different, better, calmer, different.

It’s Linda, authoring the first official post of 2019 for The Boss, who’s managed to catch someone’s nasty cough and cold.  T’is the season!

It seemed fitting to reflect on something we focus on once the spectacular, celebratory fireworks show has ended.  We’ve all made resolutions at one time or another—those qualities, habits and manners that need improving (as we perceive).  In terms of the Triple Threat Investigation Agency trio, we haven’t made them in years, but I asked Rey and JJ, as well as The Boss, to each provide three resolutions they’d like to adopt for 2019.  My BFF only agreed when I offered to provide mine as well, so here we go:

Rey:

♦   Resist learning and open my mind more.  ♦   Be less melodramatic or devil-may-care (Linda suggested that one).  ♦   Expand the agency.

JJ:

♦   Become a better marksperson.  ♦   Be less “waffley” when it comes to boyfriends/lovers.  ♦   Learn to surf (because I so hate the water).

Me:

♦   Become skilled at a martial art.  ♦   Do more volunteering.  ♦   Eat healthier again (private eyeing often means eating/snacking on the run, which results in grabbing/scarfing fast food).

The Boss:

♦   Not allow negativity/depression to re-gain the upper hand.  ♦   Re-embrace faith and hope.  ♦   Learn, learn . . . and learn some more (so that blogging and all the technical knowledge that it requires no longer daunts).

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All these are certainly achievable.  The big question, though, with any resolutions/pledges/promises is: just how much effort will be invested to make them actually happen?   <LOL>   Time will tell, dear friends, time will definitely tell.

Have an awesome 2019, everyone—may your dreams and desires come to fruition this year.  God bless.