The Silver Bullet Questionnaire

Write a description of your book that you can reel off in twenty to thirty seconds. Then, trim it to about twenty seconds, and ten to fifteen seconds for the media. Radio news segments come in ten-second increments, and if you can’t say what you need to in ten seconds, media people will stop listening.Make your elevator speech–your Silver Bullet–0interesting enough to attract immediate interest, powerful enough to be remembered and convincing enough to stir overloaded listeners into action. Explain in twenty seconds or less (1) what your book is about and (2) the benefits readers will receive from your book.

Examples of effective Silver Bullets are:

At 350 pounds, I nearly broke the scale. Now I’m a size 8. My book, Lopping It Off, will show anyone how to lose and keep off weight. Guaranteed!

Filled with exotic, heart-stopping erotic adventure, my new novel, Paris to Hoi An, will leave you breathless and glued to your seat. It will make every part of your body tingle.

Fire employees without being sued. Avoid costly, time-consuming, and disruptive lawsuits—even in the most contentious situations.

Save lives in the most critical medical emergencies with Dr. Fischer’s Little Book of Big Emergencies. It easily fits in your pocket or purse.

Reading Trapped Underwater will keep you awake all night and gasping for air the entire next day. It’s the thriller lover’s thriller!

Literary agents sell books. Find the right one for you in Author 101, where top agents tell writers how to identify, interest, and sign with the best agents.

My exciting new short stories in The Poetic Prize explore the frontiers of language, feelings, and communication in a bold new voice and vision.

Everything for Love tells the heroic, heartwarming, and inspirational true story of a man who walked across two continents to find the woman he loved.

Before writing your Silver Bullet, take a closer look at your book. Then insert the answers to the following questions:

What is most interesting or unusual about your book?

What makes your book most memorable?

What are the three most important benefits that readers will receive from your book?

1. ________________________________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________________________________
3. ________________________________________________________________________

What differentiates your book from titles on the same or similar subjects?


What are the first responses you receive when you tell people about your book?


What causes people to stop, listen, or say wow?


What questions do people ask when you tell them about your book?


Remember to explain in twenty seconds or less (1) what your book is about and (2) the benefits readers will receive. As much as you may be tempted, don’t go into why you wrote it.

Categories: Getting Published

Author: Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman