Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The 'Elevator Conversation'

A long time ago, I was working for a large generic pharma company and I learned a very good lesson.

If you get the ear of an Executive, you have 45 seconds to make your point. After that, you sound like the teacher in the old Charlie Brown cartoons to said 'muckity-muck.'

An example, if you will.

"To resolve the e-mail issue and avoid future failures, I need 45k and four days."

Straight to the point. The Exec who wears suits more expensive then my car doesn't care that:

1) The license for the spam-scanning software doesn't cover the new version which needs a LINUX system to run...
2) His son (Who was my boss) caused the problem by surfing porn all day...
3) We've added too many e-mail clusters into the environment and the software can not handle the load...

Etc., etc...

I spent last night reading
Emmett Spain's book (Finished it. Awesome.). I also spent it pacing around reviewing what I sent to the agent that earned me my rejection e-mail.

Something I'd mastered out of necessity in the business world, I failed to execute on in the query letter.

Here is a portion of what I sent:

[SIC] What if magic existed in the world, but the knowledge of such power had been hidden by organized religion for millennia? What would happen then, if globalization and the communication age threaten exposure of the most coveted of secrets to the masses?

The Prodigal’s Foole is the first in a planned series of books, seen from the point of view of Symon Bryson, the greatest wizard of our age. Raised in secret by the Catholic Church to use his God-given power to fight great evil, he has spent the last ten years of his life hiding from his destiny. When a cryptic telegram arrives pleading for his help, Symon returns to old friends and a familiar landscape to solve a mystery and face decade-old terrors with deeper consequences than he ever could have imagined.

"Wah, wa-wah wah waaaaaaaah, Charlie brown."

I mean it's ok....but if you get a couple HUNDRED of these every day, It's not the stand-out kind of verbiage.

So not only do I need to re-write the first 'hook 'em' paragraph, I need to apply a little of my business acumen to my queries.

After all, storytelling is a passion. Book publishing is a business.


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