Say your piece and then shut up.

Boot and cardPhil: Ernest Hemingway once wrote what is probably the greatest short story ever:

For Sale:
Baby shoes, never worn

6 words. Every one of them is essential. No padding whatsoever. You have a story and mystery all in one.

All this is fine for your well-known writers, but some of us have books to sell. We can’t be giving away everything in one hit. That’s why this blog contains excerpts from our manuscript but not the whole thing. The internet might be full of free stuff and porn but you are on the wrong site for the later and as for the former, well, it’s tasters only. We want you to be in a froth of excitement and anticipation, champing at the bit to know more and writing to publishers wanting to demand they sign us up (please).

To help stimulating people into an off-line froth we’ve put together a business card. On the front, as you saw in the last post, there is the web address for this site.

On the back we have a short version of the book. Marketing people called this an “elevator pitch”, the little speech you are supposed to have ready should you find yourself in a lift with someone who can advance your career. I guess the assumption is that you are following them up to the penthouse suite rather than a quick trip between floors of course but conciseness is the key. Say your piece fast and shut up.

Writing this is much harder than writing a book. We weren’t concerned between floor speeches, ours had to fit on the back of a normal business card. Not a flyer, not an A5 bit of paper. Certainly not a full synopsis. If it wouldn’t fit in a wallet, then it wasn’t any good. No cheating and using a stupidly tiny typeface either – not many people carry a magnifying glass around with them these days ! Text was written, and pruned, and pruned again. Then a bit more went in to replace something that had been hacked out and so we had to trim elsewhere. Writing for a tiny space certainly focuses the mind !

Anyway, after much bashing of ideas back and forth, we came up with this:


Kate Smith, MD of change management company KOD, a woman with the world at her Jimmy Choo clad feet … almost. Great job, great flat, great wardrobe, but something was missing.

KOD’s next job – closing down the Horticultural Investigation Agency, a motley collection of scientists and ground staff  whose enforced unemployment a Minister hopes will give him a leg up within the government.

As the boffins fight back, moles surface, giant cabbages take suicide leaps and the entire cast of Friends are rampaging in the fields, Kate has an even bigger problem to deal with – her old flame. Can she find love, keep her company and save her precious shoe collection ? It’s every man, woman and legume for themselves !

Help !


Hopefully this give the reader a flavour and hints at some of the more uproarious moments to come. I particularly like the word “legume” which I’ll be adding to my dictionary of amusing vegetables immediately.

For added impact, the card finishes with “Help !” tastefully rendered in an amusing font. This wasn’t supposed to be part of the pitch, Candice was having a bad day at work when she sent it, but I didn’t realise this and stuck it on the card anyway. It seems to fit with the general chaos going on.

So, we have a card. It can be carried about the person easily and be distributed in a moment. I always have some in my wallet so in case I am in the elevator for a one-floor hop, I can still stuff it in someones hand. Not that this would have done Ernest any good – his entire story would have fitted on the card which wouldn’t leave much to sell would it ?

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1 Comment

Filed under Phil, Writing

One response to “Say your piece and then shut up.

  1. 1.Legume is a woody type of word-I particularly like “plinth”.
    2.Maybe you could laser-cut the pitch onto a carrot or cucumber?
    3.You’ve spoilt my day by mentioning moles-the little buggers seem intent on reproducing a miniature of the Pyrenees in our veg patch.
    4.Sounds like you should produce the Seeds of Change cookbook with Hugh Furball Hittingmall.

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