When you tell people you have a book coming out, they tend to ask you what it is about. Then I have to explain the people I made up and the problems I forced on them while trying not to sound like a lunatic.
This is something I have avoided for some time. Although my critique group is intimate with the story, and one or two of my more forgiving and indulgent friends who let me talk out story problems have a vague idea, everyone else has no idea what this book is about. My own mother did not know until last week. When I finally told her, she asked me why I wrote about that, which I immediately took as criticism.
So I am working on my elevator pitch. This is one or two lines that sums up the story and gives the hook. It has to be well rehearsed and quick, in case an agent from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency walks onto your elevator and you have two floors to make her drop to her knees and beg to represent you.
"Divided Moon" sold before I got the chance to ride many elevators in New York City. Not that I would really stalk the elevators used by editors and agents. The Andrea Brown Literary Agency doesn't have an office in New York City. Now I have to write my elevator pitch to explain to my friends and family what I have been doing in obscurity the last five years.
Here is what I have:
"Divided Moon" is about arranged marriage in America. The main character is the 15-year-old daughter of Hmong immigrants. What her parents think is normal is not even close for a teenage girl who grew up in America.
Yeah, that needs some tweaking.
If my editor happens to be reading this, I promise to work on those other things too, right after I nail this elevator pitch. I still have to tell my brother about the book.