Do You Have an Author Tagline?

The following is reblogged from a Magic Monday Tip on 30 Day Books:

Sometimes it takes me 20-30 minutes of looking over a client’s website, social media and Amazon page before I really understand what their books and writing are about. 20 minutes! That’s not cool. I do it because it’s work, but your reader is not going to stick around that long to work out what your writing is about and whether or not they’ll like it.

Make it easy for people.

You want to make sure that potential readers understand in an instant what your writing is about. You want them to “get” you in an instant and to be attracted to your books (or to turn away to something more fitting, which is fine.)

A tagline is a short, catchy one-liner that encompasses the feel of your stories and writing. It’s telling your readers exactly what they are in for.

Here are some great author taglines to give you more of an idea…
“Smart, Sassy Fiction with a Southern Twist” Lauren Clark
“Heart, Humor, and a Happliy Ever After” Heather Thurmeier
“I’m the author your mother warned you about” Shelli Stevens
I have to admit, I’m horrible with summaries–especially the one-line variety. And, as you may have noticed, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, I like to defy classification. I write about my writing, about publishing, about vampires, about society, about medieval history, and about random things in general. “Vampires, Ladies, & Potpourri” is all about being random, or, as I like to say, “liberal arts.”
Currently, I have a published novel about vampires, a novella that’s a fairy tale, and a novella that’s a contemporary romance. Next up on my publishing schedule is a historical romance. Just to confuse things more, I’ve started writing some non-fiction, but we won’t try to incorporate that under an author tagline.
Maybe instead of looking at genres, I should look at my style. I’m very character-centric. Some people write sweeping descriptions of setting. Some people delve deep into the psyche of a single character, or society in general. Some weave rich histories of imaginary places. I, on the other hand, love characters. I frequently have more than one main character (although, so far, I stick to one POV) and pretty lively secondary characters. My favorite character from my Acceptance Trilogy is Joshua, a secondary character.
So, I’ll have to do some thinking about my author tagline as it relates to my rich tapestry of characters. I’m not quite up to Dickens or Harry Turtledove’s level of multiple character development, but certainly I aspire to it.
P.S. Someone contacted me about a job interview this week. Keep your fingers crossed that a job offer is in the not-too-distant future for me. I’ve been putting an ever-loving smackdown on the house and getting so many things done that I’ve been neglecting (due to my writing), but, as General Grant said early in his career, “Poverty, poverty stares me in the face.” I don’t get paid to do my own dishes.
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6 comments on “Do You Have an Author Tagline?

  1. Ahhh, and I thought writing the back cover was hard. Now you want me to make a tagline? Eek. Oooh wait, I’ve got the perfect tagline for you. Ready? “Jewish vampires gone wild. Bloody wild!” Although that only pertains to Acceptance, and it’s not actually very relevant at all, is it? Sigh. Never mind, you don’t have to use it.

    You may now invent a tagline for me. I expect it to be suitably ridiculous.

    Also, good luck with the interview 😀

    • Keri Peardon says:

      I like your tagline for my book. Maybe I should invite every who has read it to submit their own one-line sentence.

      How about this for you? “Proving Canadians have a sense of humor, one book at a time! (Apologies in advance if that offends anyone.)”

      What all do you plan on writing? (Do you even know yet?) I know your upcoming book is in the vein of Douglas Adams, but are you looking to stick to space comedies, or branch out into general science fiction, comedy, or something else entirely? How would you define your writing and/or audience? Is the humor subtle, ironic, geeky, slapstick, or some combination of all of them?

      I guess what the author tagline should do is draw in the people who will most like to read your books. Which is probably why I have a hard time with it; I plan on writing across audiences. But maybe I should look at having more than one tagline–one for each major genre.

      • I definitely agree with having more than one tagline — how can a single phrase define everything you’ll write, ever?

        Um, I’m totally using that tagline you made for me … but only if I get to including the (Apologies in advance …) part.

        Well, I am having fun with the space comedy/romance/adventure genre, no doubt. I’ve been dabbling in fantasy as well. I’ve written a few short stories that are just weird, although I doubt I’ll ever let anyone read them. My friend once commented that I wasn’t mean enough to my characters, so I wrote a story in which all the characters suffered unnecessarily gruesome and painful deaths, just for funsies.

      • Keri Peardon says:

        Of course you have to use the apologies parenthetical. That’s what proves you have a sense of humor. LOL

        As you well know, I’m totally into torturing and killing my characters. Just when they’ve found love… bam! Dead. Or love triangle. Which is, in actuality, a form of torture. I don’t kill so many people in my second book, but someone does have a nervous breakdown, complete with a PTSD flashback to the sacking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, which is probably the most gruesome account of warfare that I’ve ever studied. We get to walk in blood and and across bloating, putrefying corpses being torn apart by vultures and dogs.

        It’s hard work being a writer, but I admit, I sometimes take a perverse pleasure in doing horrible things to my characters. But, really, I’m doing it to my reader. I want an emotional response, because I think those are the books that people remember the most–the ones that make them laugh, and cry, and hold their breath.

  2. Wallace says:

    Since you don’t confine yourself to a single genre, perhaps a tagline that is about you and how you write, not about what you write. Something like: Observational fiction from an educated Southern woman. Or maybe: Historical and contemporary fiction written by a Southern historical scholar.
    Or even: Stories your Momma would have told you if she knew as much as I do.

    Of course, since most of your stories are fantasy about vampires, maybe: You want vampires? I got your vampires right here, and they don’t glitter and the heroine actually has a personality, unlike some other vampire stories.

    And maybe a separate tagline for your contemporary and historic romances: Smart women making smart choices and taking their lives into their own hands without the need for a man to save them. Tho this does sound a little like Lesbian fiction, but that sells too.

    Or maybe just the direct approach: I write good stories, damn it, and you should read them; you’ll like them and maybe I can pay some bills.

  3. jackie john says:

    Vampire is a dead person without any feeling left only lust of human blood which make him/her powerful and half dead to survive but in fantasy stories when every a vampire fall in love with a young beautiful lad/lady, it nature changes that become the saviour guardian for his/ her life, because love have that much power that it can re- arise even from the death.

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