Elevator Pitch

The “elevator pitch” for a product is what you say if you find yourself in an elevator with a potential buyer or investor. It is something that has to get to the core of the item, pique  their interest, and be very brief. It has to grab the attention, give enough to make them want more, not give away to much, and it must not misrepresent the item. I’ve been working on it a little bit, trying to get it “just right,” with enough mystery and enough “feel for the story” in a few brief lines. The best version will get posted on the main The Stars Came Back” topic page.The current version is:

Helton Strom is a fairly ordinary guy who runs afoul of officialdom and space pirates. He is left with nothing but his wits and the clothes on his back, without so much as planetary citizenship left to his name. Is the ugly, ancient, broken down military surplus starship he wins in a card game the key to a bright future hauling passengers and cargo between planets, or will his repairs allow the demons lurking in its murky and lethal past be reawakened to come back and deliver a world of destruction?

10 thoughts on “Elevator Pitch

  1. Helton Strom is a fairly ordinary guy who runs afoul of officialdom and space pirates. Left with nothing but his wits and the clothes on his back, he wins a broken-down military surplus starship in a card game. Is this starship the key to reinventing himself, or will Strom’s repairs provoke long-forgotten demons from the ship’s murky past to reawaken and deliver a world of destruction?

    • Pretty good. Any other variations or ideas? Anything it really needs to have? Any way to make it shorter?
      Current version is:
      Helton Strom is a fairly ordinary guy with a comfortable enough life until he runs afoul of officialdom and space pirates who leave him with nothing but his wits and the clothes on his back, without so much as planetary citizenship left to his name. Is the ugly, ancient, broken down military surplus starship he wins in a card game the key to a bright future, or will his repairs reawaken the demons lurking in the ship’s murky and lethal past to come back and deliver a world of destruction?

    • Sorry Publius, gotta vote against your version because the phrase “reinventing himself” is just so…well…so Clintonian, and also trite. It is a mainstay of Big-Gummint advocates in which club it is the forever excuse for lack of principles.

      Good sci-fi is sold mostly to thinkers, not grifters.

      • Good point. He’s not really a drifter, or in need of reinventing, he’s just looking for the right niche to work in. “Reinventing” sort of implies initial failure to me as I think about it. He hasn’t been a failure at anything but piloting, he’s just not felt that it was a full use of his abilities (not just under appreciated), that he was just a replaceable part.

  2. All right, try “Is this starship the key to a brighter future, or will Strom’s repairs…”

    That’s about the best I can offer at this point–I have to read the book now to do any better. (I was waiting to buy it).

    It should not reveal too much about plot details, just a tidbit or two to pique interest. It should actually do that–the idea is to get people interested enough to buy it. Now is not the time for a lengthy Randian discourse on principle. The blurb (I call it that rather than an “elevator speech”–I hate that phrase) may be even more important than your first sentence (which is the most important sentence of the entire text).

    In blurb version:

    Keep your blurb short. Punch it up by using verbs. Eliminate all unnecessary words. Could the rest be up to you…?

  3. Or maybe a better way of putting it would be to say that you want to get your reader interested, then leave him hanging. That way, he HAS to buy it in order to find out what’s next.

  4. Current version
    Helton Strom is a fairly ordinary guy who runs afoul of officialdom and gets jumped by space pirates. He is left with nothing but his wits and the clothes on his back, without even citizenship to his name. Is the ancient, broken down military surplus starship the key to a bright future, or will his repairs and new acquaintances reawaken the demons lurking in the ship’s murky and lethal past to come back and deliver a world of destruction?

    • Ummm… Huh? it’s hard sci-fi, nothing supernatural about it. The initials are the same, I just noticed, but otherwise, I don’t see the connection.

  5. I was just riffing off of the “demons” aspect of the current pitch. That’s what will happen when you are making the pitch in a Hollywood elevator.

    “Ah, a supernatural Han Solo! I like it!”

    “Uh, wait, there’s nothing supernatural about it, the ‘demons’ are figurative…”

    “No, no, that’s PERFECT! Han Solo with magic demons! Let me set up a meeting!”

Comments are closed.