Does anyone else tend to panic a little when asked “What’s your book about?” How do I cram a fabulous plot, intriguing characters, and genius subplots into a thirty second spiel? (And all with appropriate humility, right?) No matter how I try to sum up my work, I always feel like I’m doing it wrong. My “elevator pitch” feels more like a stab in the dark. I hone it as close to perfection as I know how and memorize it, but when the moment comes, I’m a bundle of nerves. I think I’ve been trying to provide too much information about the book all at once; I need informational increments.
That’s why loglines are so great: they’re short. When my nerves are bundled, a logline is easy to spit out. And while my listener is digesting the one liner, I can take a deep breath and be ready with the slightly longer “back of the book” type spiel. Informational increments! Another plus: if my listener isn’t interested in hearing more about my work, at least our encounter was short and sweet. If I leave my listener bored or confused, what will s/he assume about my writing?
There’s an excellent explanation of loglines here. It includes lots of examples that I found helpful in writing loglines for my own work.
What have you found to be most helpful when pitching to an editor/agent or simply telling a friend about your writing?