What is Your Elevator Pitch?
No matter what topic you are writing about, your book must have at least one thing going for it—and that is a USP, or Unique Selling Proposition. It must have information or prescriptive advice that can’t be found in any other book, or website, blog, etc. That’s because when your business book is published it will be up against some of the real category killers in the field, including Good to Great by Jim Collins (management/leadership) and Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan (personal finance).
Half a century ago, the business book industry was built on a model of information scarcity. That’s when business books were in their infancy. Today, we live in a world where information proliferates and overwhelms us. On any given day, we can’t even manage to get through our email in-basket. However, most first time business authors, who are among the most passionate about their favorite topics and books, expect tens of thousands of book buyers to rush out and buy their book as soon as it hits the bookstore shelf. While that happens every seventh blue moon or so, the reality is that the average business book sells fewer than 2,500 copies in its first year (especially in these turbulent times).
So make sure that your book has a USP and that you can deliver it in an “elevator pitch” (say, no more than three sentences—and one or two is better). That’s what publishers will want to hear when you pitch them your one best idea.