On the ‘elevator pitch’: My travels to the Jewish Book Council

On the ‘elevator pitch’: My travels to the Jewish Book Council

A verbal contract for travel was noted in my marriage agreement. My husband has kept that spoken clause without fail. We have been to many places in the world, but my husband always said that I only wanted to travel to places where I needed a passport. He was delighted when we received a passport traveling through the national parks. Now that I have books to promote, I am traveling more in the United States than I even did as a child.

In my book travels, I have met many lovely people. Some of them I am able to now call friends. This is a benefit of travel anywhere, but when so many folks visit Santa Fe on holiday, I have more opportunity to see them again. Crossing the ocean is a bit more of a challenge. And I am reducing (slowly) my challenge as a shy and introverted person, although many people never see me as shy and introverted because I do practice and work at this.

How to ace a presentation

In May we returned to NYC for the Jewish Book Council Conference, where I pitched “Myopia, a memoir.” I have mentioned my dislike and fear of speaking publicly, but I think after this, I will not ever be nervous again, or so I currently believe. I think I have it figured out after the experiences of the last couple of years. Although in the above photo, I am very nervous because it is before my presentation. When you look at the photo below, I am not smiling and I am frighteningly nervous. However, I aced my presentation without a flaw. Here are some guiding tips for anyone who has to do an elevator pitch.

  1. Memorize the damn thing as much as you can. Say the two minutes when you rise in the morning, in the midmorning, in the midafternoon, and twice before bed.
  2. Time it every single time you practice, until your two minutes (or however many minutes) is just under the time allowed, accounting for nerves at the actual presentation.
  3. Trust someone to watch you and time you whose opinion you respect. JBC also provides someone to help you to get it right and within two minutes. She was lovely and very helpful.
  4. Speak more about the book than yourself. If you can interest people in the book, they will read your bio and visit your website.
  5. Since my last name begins with the letter “S,” I went near the end. That meant that the folks who had more glamorous backgrounds than mine were many and went before me. I was hunkered down in my seat until I forced myself into my meditation mode. This was my tactic at my best-ever karate performance.
  6. Do not play with the mike unless you have to do so. People kept adjusting the mike when there was no need. The mike was very loud and almost every height worked with it, with just a few exceptions. I understood this to be anxiety.
  7. Wear comfortable but not too casual clothing. JBC asks you to dress as if you were doing a reading. Well, my dress might be different depending upon where and with whom I might be reading. I always want to look professional. My pitch was done among many other pitches, and the physical impression I made was important to me. Although, I must admit, I should not have stopped my husband from taking more pictures. These are both dismal.

    The author lets her husband take a photo.

    The author lets her husband take a photo.

  8. Write something meaningful. Stay on point and do not shift to impress an audience with some light comedy to relieve your nerves. You are pitching the book and your ability to make people want to buy it. In two minutes, you cannot do more than that.
  9. Only take from this what you like and ignore the rest. I do not know if I will be approached or not to travel from this experience, but I wanted to share with you what I came away with. The authors and the audience were supportive and nice. And I did enjoy the people with whom I spoke.
  10. There is an amazing group of writers out there. I will not take offense if I am not asked, although I might be disappointed. Most of these folks were brilliant. The best part was when I saw that my genius of a cousin had presented his book on working with Elie Wiesel as his mentor just one day before I did my presentation. That is one book among many that I will read from the JBC author event for the year 2018-2019.

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