We all know that to be a successful author we need to sell our books. Many times we need to sell them "one copy at a time." Other times, we are presented with opportunities to bring our book to the attention of agents, publishers, retailers and the media. In other words, we need to create the "elevator pitch." A description of our book that can be told in the time it takes an elevator to rise 5 stories.

Before writing your book pitch, take a close look at your book, then answer the following questions:

  1. What is most interesting or unusual about your book?
  2. What makes your book most memorable?
  3. What are the three most important benefits that readers will receive from your book? (yes, "entertained," is a legit answer)
  4. What differentiates your book from titles on the same or similar subjects?
  5. What are the first responses you receive when you tell people about your book?
  6. What causes people to stop, listen, or say, wow?
  7. What questions do people ask when you tell them about your book?
Use the answers to these questions to fashion your book pitch and you can expect winning results.



I have two children but have never given birth. I have written and released four books and in some ways that might be a little bit like giving birth. What gives me a real kick these days is seeing people that I have had the pleasure of working with in some way releasing their own books. A bit like seeing the kids move out perhaps? Another one moved out today into the brave new world of authoring.

Here's a nice note that author Matthew Bryan sent me today:

"Matthew Bryan has sent you a message.
Date: 5/13/2013
Subject: published my book
I can't believe the things that fell into place in a year. After talking to you things have been dropping in exactly when and where I needed them. I'm completely self-published now and so many things all lead back to the advice you gave me. I contacted Wil Wheaton - that led me to finding my cover artist, editor and copy-editor. Which led me to being self-published and being involved in a short-story project. Also led to meeting over a dozen other authors who have had SO much advice and suggestions for me. It all leads back to our meeting.

So thank you!! I tell SO many people about you and the impact it had because that is one of the questions I get asked. How did it all come about. So.. it's all your fault :D LOL

I still would love to get together with you and Jack Whyte over scotch and listen to the stories!! :D

Seriously though, thank you. You had a tremendous impact on my journey to becoming published.

In addition, Andrea Davis will have her book in print in about a week
Survival Was Only The Beginning
     A Costa Concordia Story
She should be on the various e-book sites shortly too.
You can find Andrea here:
and other places too.
And the beat keeps going on. This is just in the last few weeks. I hope you are busy finding an audience and getting your book finished, too. If not, let me know - I'll try and help.



During my workshops, I spend some time showing people the characteristics of a best selling book title and how they can use this information for their own books. Here's a few real-life examples of authors and their books who didn't attend my workshop:

Welcome to Your Facelift, by Helen Bransford (1997)

The Lull Before Dorking, Chiswick Press, (1871)

Build Your Own Hindenburg, by Alan Rose (1983)

I Was a Kamikazi, Ryuji Nagatsuka, (1973)

My Invisible Friend Explains the Bible, by J.G. Bogusz, (1971)

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Personal View, by Henry Janowitz, (1985)

Who's Who in Barbed Wire, Rabbit Ear Publishing, (1970)

Pooh Gets Stuck, by Isabel Gaines, (1998)

and the always entertaining,

Beyond Leaf Raking, by Peter Benson, (1993)



We all experience disasters. We often equate the word, "disaster" with ships sinking, planes crashing, tornadoes, hurricanes and big newsworthy events that take center stage in the media for a few days. However, each of us experience disasters in our personal lives in ways that are no smaller or less important. These disasters show up in lost jobs, relationship's ended, financial woes, physical and mental health challenges and so many other daily events that are disasters in our own lives but lost to the rest of the world.
Disaster often brings out the writer in us as we want to share the event or story with others. Sometimes we simply get tired of telling the same stories and answering the same questions over and over, and so a book seems to make sense. Disaster, aside from the fictional representations that we find everywhere, has propelled hundreds of people into the ranks of "author." How about you? Have you ever thought that some of your experiences might make fascinating reading for people in similar situations? Many people start down this path but flounder on the way to publication because they don't have a clear picture of what they want to convey to the reader. Here are a few tips gleaned from a publisher about making the case for your book:

1. What myth will this book be busting?
2. What problem will it be solving?
3. What trend is it pointing to?
and most important of all;
Yes, there is room for you to take your experience out into the world and find a willing audience who needs your insight but remember to spend time on the 4 questions above to ensure that the experience is worth your reader's time.


The Costa Concordia was a luxury cruise ship that sank in the Mediterranean Sea on January 13, 2012. People died and some crew members will be in court for years as they defend many different charges including abandoning the ship and its survivors. The great majority of people who were on board on that night will spend the rest of their lives living and retelling the events of that night and in many cases, will allow their lives to be defined by the tragedy.
It has been my honour to work with one of the survivors for several months on a book about not only the event itself, but its aftermath and her experience. It reminds me that writers are often created as a result of circumstances. They are forged from a passion to share a story and leave a legacy. The tools of a good writer are not grammar, punctuation and spelling but rather challenge, perception, and the ability to grasp opportunity and follow it through.
We often refer to "our gifts," or "God's gifts" and spend much time thinking and talking about what they are and who has them. I have begun to realize that these gifts are not necessarily something we receive as a birthright but rather, come out of challenging circumstances and events. We see stories about people rising out of the ashes of war, poverty, drugs, abuse, and more to rise to positions of authority and success. The circumstances of their life gave rise to opportunities, opportunities that they pursued and completed - this is their gift.
My client, who has become a friend, Andrea has done the same as a survivor of the Costa Concordia. She could have spent the rest of her life accepting the events of a cold plunge into the dark Mediterranean waters on a January night and the changes that have followed. Instead, she decided that she wanted to leave a legacy to her family and friends and chronicle the sinking, the incredible will to survive that saved she and her husband, the painful swim and trek over sharp rocks in bare feet and the many happy, scary, and fitful challenges that continue to cause restless nights. She accepted the opportunity of the sinking as a gift and is very close to offering her gift to the world in the form a book.
Andrea is in the initial stages of discussions with a publisher but she has written her story, assembled the pictures, letters, media interviews and used the opportunity to look back at her many gifts, including the gift of life itself. She continues to experience physical pain and mental torment but refuses to allow these things to define her life. She is moving forward and creating a new definition by creating the gifts of "published author," speaker, survivor, and traveller to change her world.
These are the gifts that define a writer - challenges that include opportunities but the most important "gift" is the gift we give ourselves of following through on the opportunity and living our life, completing our life.

Congratulations Andrea - you inspire us.