Healing Words: Elevator Pitch

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, delivers her elevator speech in photoshopped elevator filled with peopleIn Fall to Fly: Life Follows Loss, Robin Botie, designer and dreamer in Ithaca, New York, brings her rebellious young adult daughter to life again as she hangs onto her through the wilds of cancer, crying, “Your cancer is my cancer,” and Marika blasts back, “Mom, get a life” – which is exactly what Botie must do on the other side of the journey.

This is the latest version of my elevator pitch for my book, my premise. It’s a one-sentence description that quickly conveys information about the characters, the conflict, stakes and setting. In this fast-paced world, there’s often only a minute to get a message out and get noticed. It’s supposed to be the first line of the query letter I send to get an agent.

“Fall to fly,” my daughter wrote in her poem. In her attempt to achieve health, she often had to undergo scary and painful treatments. Now it’s my turn to take the plunge. In order to get my manuscript published, I have to take the next intimidating steps.

So Tuesday I attended a Women TIES seminar in Syracuse. It was to be an easy first step. I’d simply sit in a crowd and listen to speeches about different paths to publishing. But as soon as I entered the conference room I realized I would have to introduce myself.

OMG. Who am I now? What would I say? Should I draw attention to the loss of my daughter? Could I simply say I’m from Ithaca and I’m writing a memoir? My pulse thundered in my head as I tried to think.

Suddenly I remembered I had an elevator speech.

“Hi. I’m Robin Botie from Ithaca. I’ve written a memoir about hanging onto my rebellious young adult daughter through the wilds of cancer, crying, ‘Your cancer is my cancer,’ as she blasts back, ‘Mom, get a life’ – which is exactly what I must do on the other side of the journey.”

My heart was still pounding as I sat down. It was the first time I used my premise. It wasn’t perfect and I’m sure I stuttered. But I got it out and my elevator is still climbing:
I write and Photoshop about finding life after loss because anything’s possible – even joy.

The power in putting the mess and the mission of my life into one line is exhilarating.

What is your elevator speech?


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10 thoughts on “Healing Words: Elevator Pitch

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    You did it, Robin. A whole new version of the elevator speech. I miss the title (maybe it was only a title in my head) ‘In the Wake of Marika.’ Such a great double meaning to the word wake and also riding behind this young woman who threw out huge waves. I imagine if you keep saying your one sentence elevator speech, it will get easier with practice. Most everything does. So glad I never had to make one magic sentence to describe my book in an exciting way. It’s hard. Wishing you well in the next step of your quest. You’ll get there. You have so much to offer. (Still no box to check next to post comment boxc so I get an email notice when and if you respond.)
    Warmly, Elaine

    1. robinbot Post author

      Hi Elaine. Do I get a notice if you respond to my comment on your site? I’m not sure I do but I’ll ask my guy about this tomorrow. Maybe things will start getting easier once I stop changing things. Thanks.

  2. Nicole

    Ahh. I like this post. I like the idea of boiling down what is really important to us about ourselves. I have a similar kind of empty head when people ask “how was your trip?” And how brave of you to use it at the conference! Go girl!

    1. robinbot Post author

      Thanks Nicole. It’s really difficult but very worthwhile doing. Of course it won’t be easy if your life changes from one week to the next. Can’t imagine what your elevator speech would be like. Great seeing you and finally getting rid of the care package. Cheers!

  3. CarolynBarnabo

    Lovely elevator pitch/sentence, Robin. Hope the reaction in the room was positive and would guess it was! You do convey ver well the characters and the ‘challenge’ so to speak, from your own viewpoint, so we the readers know what to look forward to in your book 🙂 From your 1-sentence summary, I would expect to read much about your beautiful daughter and also much about your own journey through and ‘beyond’ her death.

    I love memoir and look forward to reading your book when published. Cheers and happy writing/agent-ing etc.

    1. robinbot Post author

      Thank you Carolyn. Yes, my memoir has the two parts. I’m so glad you like the pitch. I’m still working on it. Have you ever tried summing your life up in a sentence? Interesting exercise. Cheers to you.

  4. Kirsten Wasson

    This is poignant and hilarious. And the picture–WONDERFUL!! Good for you, Robin. And you elevator pitch is fantastic!
    Mine is a bit brief and bit uninviting, I fear: MEET, BRAY, SHOVE.

    1. robinbot Post author

      MEET,BRAY,SHOVE? Seriously? Whoa. I love it. Why can’t I be hilarious like that? If I move to LA do you think I could learn that? Where is my funny gene? Not fair – I wanna make people laugh. Cheers, Kirsten.

  5. Mary

    So, so, so beautifully done!
    So, so, so proud of you!
    Fly Robin!
    And when you can, remember to float, and to soar around those things you’ve accomplished.
    . . . as for me, I’ve been working on an elevator speech for four years and still, I’m no closer to capturing it than I was four years ago!

    1. robinbot Post author

      Well it doesn’t help the elevator speech when so much in your life is changing so quickly. Anyway, you don’t need an elevator pitch. You’re so positive and supportive, you don’t have to pitch yourself. Thanks for being a friend. Cheers!


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