The elevator pitch is an idea that's been circulating in business for a number of years now. I usually hear it referenced with regards to self-promotion (trying to get a job, schmoozing with the company president, etc.) but it's also applicable to business ideas and projects. The basic notion is that you should have a short speech prepared about yourself (or your project as the case may be) that can be delivered on cue if you happen to run into a person of significance that might be able to assist you. The "elevator" portion stems from the idea that your speech should be short enough to deliver on an elevator ride -- somewhere between 30 and 90 seconds.
It's generally suggested that you sit down and write this pitch out beforehand. Figure out all the high points that are absolutely critical, and get them down in a linear, easy-to-understand narrative. Make your selling point(s) and differentiator(s) as clear and concise as possible. Then practice reading that aloud over and over again until you have it down cold. Commit it to memory and give yourself periodic refreshers. You should be able to launch into your elevator pitch at any time. Because you never know when you might bump into someone who could help you. Possibly even in an elevator.
The reason why I bring this up is because I'm sitting here watching Rich Johnston's videos as he's going up and down the Artists' Alley at Comic-Con International. He walks up to each booth and asks people to tell him what they're selling or what their comic is about. And a HUGE majority of these creators are totally floundering.
"Yeah, I do this comic. And it's a webcomic. But I'm also printing them up, and selling those here. And it's about these guys who do stuff. Mostly in space, but sometimes on alien planets. And there's lots of laser fights and spaceships. Oh, and it's called..."
Some people seemed to get that enough and say something like, "I do a webcomic called X. It's a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Wars. You can find it at MyWebSite.com."
Now I know a lot of people don't like the "it's a cross between" analogies because they think it shortchanges their work, and makes it seem derivative. But if I'm going through an Artists' Alley and you aren't able to capture my attention fairly quickly, I'm going to move on to the next guy. I can probably tell from your promo art some basic information about the genre, so give me something else to clue in on.
An elevator pitch doesn't HAVE to include "it's a cross between" analogy, but it does need to get the point across very quickly. It needs to convey the high points. It needs to grab someone's attention. It needs to be something that is concise enough to stick in someone's brain. And, IF it manages to include a catchy name and/or URL, so much the better!
Regardless of how great and riveting your comic may be, you still need to get me to pick it up first. I've said it before, but the world's best comic ain't worth bunk if no one knows it!
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