Today I'd like to talk about taglines. A tagline is used to provide a very quick, snappy summation of your books or series. The secret to a tagline is making it short and sweet. The shorter the better. Personally I think a tagline should never exceed 10 words and my preferred number is 4 words.
I know what you're thinking...that's not enough space to do anything. Well it is if you think about things properly. Let's look at a tagline that I recently came up with for my husband's Riyria Revelation Series. To understand the tagline let's tell you a bit about the series. Here is some marketing copy for the first book that I wrote:
They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.There's no ancient evil to defeat, no destined orphan, just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time...Royce Melborn, a cynical thief, and ex-mercenary Hadrian Blackwater make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles until they become the unwitting scapegoats in a plot to murder the king. Caught, imprisoned, and sentenced to death they have only one way out. And so begins this epic tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.
Okay so now I need to try and describe the books so I'll describe it with the following keywords:
- Genre: classic medieval fantasy
- Main character(s): cynical thief & mercenary
- Theme: Heroes rise to the occasion
- Writing style: Light, fast-paced, fun
Unlikely Heroes...Classic AdventureThese 4 little words actually sum up the series quite nicely. Let me go though the thought process.
- Notice that I didn't use fantasy (even though this is the genre) the reason is because fantasy has many connotations (fantasy football, phone sex, erotica) so instead I used the words "Heroes" and "Adventure" which both conjure the concept of medieval fantasy
- I wanted to point out that the book has more than one character and that character wasn't what you usually find (kings, knights, wizards, orphans) hence "unlikely heroes".
- I wanted to position the book as "a classic" because many reviews have noted that this book reminds them of the fantasy of their youth that made them fall in love with the genre in the first place.
- First, start listing words that describe your book - each one can't be more than 2 words.
- Try to determine a word or words that actually cover multiple ideas at once for instance "hero" has the notion of "good" "virtuous" "chivalrous" "winning" "strong"
- Don't try to make a sentence...try to have two ideas and play one against another.
- Any advertisement: web banner, print, goodreads, facebook, google
- Any swag material (bookmarks, key rings, pens, coffee mugs, tshirts)
- Emails to potential reviewers
- Book descriptions on forums
- Book descriptions when publishing your books
Feel free to share your taglines here as you develop them for your own books.