Gearing Up for Conference: Part 1

Right now I’m gearing up for my first ACFW conference. Only one month to go! So far I’ve worked on two key points of my proposal package, the dreaded elevator pitch and the way more exciting one sheet. I’ll tell you how I worked on both projects in less than two hours each.

1. Elevator Pitch

I worked on this a few nights ago. I’ve been agonizing over how to shorten my storyline into just a few measly sentences. Yikes! From an ACFW loop email I was reading a blog of author Regina Jennings’ publication story. (Very inspiring for writers aspiring for publication.) She wrote about her elevator pitch at her first writers conference  on her Publication Story part 4 post. Her example was short and straight to the point.

So I spent an hour dissecting and writing my own. I noticed that she stated her genre and described her story up front. Then she mentioned the juiciest part of her story, and left it at a cliffhanger. Not a question like, “Will she ever find true love?” But an open-ended statement that implies that there’s much more to come in the story. Eureka! I finally came up with my own version.

All Lucy wanted was a boyfriend-free freshman year. Of course, there’s a junior whose mission in life is to change her mind. And that’s exactly what her ex wants, too.

2. One sheet

Even as a former graphic designer I was having a hard time pinpointing the right design for my book’s one sheet. A one sheet, or sell sheet, is supposed to include a tag line for your book, a brief synopsis akin to the back cover copy of a book, and the author’s personal information.

I’d started with picture of a college. The whole page looked very formal. And very somber. Boring! I’m pitching a young adult book. It can’t look like a scholarly manual. So I revisited my favorite free stock photo website, stock.xchng.I found the coolest urban grunge city pic by mckenna71, and the design took off from there. Then I tweaked my elevator pitch for the tag and used the first half of my query for the back cover copy. This one turned out much better.

I’m so excited to have these first pieces under my belt. I’ve still got a month to polish them. But the hard part, getting it down on paper, is over. I’ve still got my synopsis, chapter by chapter breakdown, a critique with a YA author, and the first 15 pages of my novel to polish. More on that in the coming weeks. Stay tuned . . .


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