By Ginny Padgett
When I went to my first writers’ conference in 2010, I learned about an Elevator Pitch, which is a one- to two-minute description of your manuscript that can be delivered during the span of an elevator ride and will capture the interest of an agent or publisher, if you were to find yourself in such a situation. I thought that scenario was not likely for me.
Nevertheless, by 2015, I had a project, manuscript, and Elevator Pitch in hopes of somehow becoming published. That spring I helped arrange a writers’ conference, and after it was over, I practiced my pitch on two regional agents who represented my genre. One was politely interested and gave me her card and said I could contact her; the other was mildly interested and said to take my time, polish my manuscript, make it the best it could be, and send it to her. I felt encouraged.
That fall, I organized a series of instructional webinars with industry professionals on varied subjects for the membership of South Carolina Writers’ Workshop. In October, our speaker was an agent of a friend of mine whose topic was “How to Get Published.” We logged on early to do a technical check, making sure all our equipment was working. After we were set to broadcast, we had 15 minutes before the webinar was to begin, and the agent asked, “What are you working on?”
I was astonished when my Elevator Pitch rolled off my tongue with no hesitation and with enthusiasm. When I was done she said, “When you’re finished writing, go to my website, follow the instructions carefully for submission, and send me your manuscript. I think I could sell it.”
Then I was dumbfounded. Who would have thought I could arrest the attention of a nationally recognized agent in Texas from my bedroom in Columbia, South Carolina? (Another writer-friend sold her work to a New York agent at a baby shower in Camden, South Carolina.) So get your Elevator Pitch ready. It’s true. You never know when you’ll need it.