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  • How to Create Great Author Taglines

    Posted on May 16th, 2012 jean 41 comments

    I’ve been thinking about taglines lately and that maybe I need an author tagline to help strengthen my brand(s). By the way, taglines are those short, snazzy sentences you see on some author’s websites that encompasses their brand. It’s the feel of their stories. It’s an instant, “Oh, I get it” for the visitor and reader. You read a good tagline and you immediately know what the author is about, what they write, the feeling you are going to get from their books and basically, exactly what you are in for.

    (You may hear of taglines being called loglines. Loglines usually apply to your story, or your movie/TV script and not your website or brand. But some folks use the terms interchangeably. Personally, I think there is a difference, but we won’t get into that today.)

    Three Good Author Taglines

    Cynthia Herron: Heartfelt, Homespun fiction

    Heather Thurmeier: Heart, Humor, and a Happliy Ever After

    Pat Ballard (Queen of Rubenesque Romances): Romance novels with big, beautiful heroines

    Those three taglines give you an immediate feel for what they write, don’t they? That’s what you want. Short. Concise. Evoking good things.

    Why Do You Need an Author Tagline?

    Author taglines (or even writer taglines–you don’t need to be published to use one!) help readers, editors, publicists (hopefully!), and stumblers immediately recognize what you and your brand and your site is about. It should be memorable, short, and encompass what you are and what you write about, and in doing so, let folks know what you are not.

    Right now my blog tagline is “Always learning. Always writing.” That about sums up my blog and website at the moment. When you come here, you probably figure you are going to read about what I am learning in terms of writing. However, when I publish my fiction, that tagline will need to change–at least for my website where my readers land. My current tagline may still fit for my blog. (It’s okay to have two taglines.)

    A good tagline, when you are a published author can be whipped out all over the place. It can go on your business card or promotional bookmarks, your email signature or a sign out front of your house, your website/blog or your social media profiles. Everywhere! You hand out something to potential readers that contains your tagline all front and center, and immediately they know what your stories are about and if it is their “thing.”

    Why use your tagline everywhere? Brand recognition. They may not remember your name (doh!), but they may recall your tagline and what you are about.

    A good author tagline is like a publicist that never stops

    What a Good Author Tagline Can Do For You

    • Good author taglines create immediate feelings in your reader.
    • They make you memorable.
    • They help focus potential readers, site visitors, etc., immediately categorize you (in a good way).
    • They help publicity folks know exactly where you fit in and what they can do for you.
    • They help people setting up talks or book signings know who you are and what they are helping sell. They may be able to figure out whether a black table cloth or doilies are going to be best for you at the book signing table. Yes, a good tagline is that good!
    • Instant recognition.
    • A good tagline can help you retain your focus when it comes to projecting your image, deciding on your publicity, and even writing future books, etc. For example, if your tagline is “dark” something, and you know that is the essence of you, your brand, and your platform. Therefore, you probably aren’t going to go and pursue reviews from conservative religious bookclub mags, right?

    What Do You Encompass?: Brainstorming Your Author Tagline

    If, right now, you are like me, you may be writing and aspiring in several genres as you settle into who you are in the writing world. That’s normal. However, you may be noticing trends in terms of your story settings, the feel of your novels, the types of characters you create, the problems they must overcome, as well as your voice.

    For example, you may write kids books, mysteries, and commercial fiction. But in all of your stories you are a bit dark and all have a spiritual feel to them. Voila. You write dark spirituals. (Er… okay… dark spirituals. Work with me here!)

    For me, I have noticed that my stories tend to be light due to humour and tend to be set in small towns. So my future writing tagline may end up being something like “small town fiction with a dollop of humour.” (Ugh. Maybe not. Going to have to work on that tagline! But I think you get what I am saying here.)

    Create Your Own Tagline: A Primer

    But how do you really get to the meat of what your tagline should be and what you encompass (or want to encompass)?

    First, do a little brainstorming. Basically, all those adjectives you don’t get to use in your writing, you’re going to write down… now!

    1. How you want your readers to feel. (Ex. inspired, scared, hopeful, etc.)

    2. Common themes in your stories or types of stories. (Ex. coming of age, romance, good overcomes evil, believe in yourself.)

    3. What image you want to convey. (Professional? Goth? Religious?)

    4. Who is your audience? (This will help you direct you towards what will appeal to them and help you figure out how to aim straight at them.)

    5. What makes you, you? (How do you differ or standout? Humour? Sassy?)

    Now that you have a list of things you would you like to evoke, circle the top 5-7 that really speak to you or that you connect with. Are there synonyms that might evoke a stronger image?

    Almost There! Putting it Together to Make a Stellar Tagline

    Take your 5-7 words and play around with them. Do you have a few taglines popping out at you already? Write them down. All of them. Don’t go with the first one you like because you may (believe it or not) decide it isn’t the one after all.

    Have a few? Ask others what they think. Which ones do they think fit you best? Listen to their suggestions. Sleep on it.

    Hone it down until it is short and concise.

    A Tagline is Not Forever

    A few years down the road you may look at your tagline and realize you have evolved and your tagline isn’t quite right any longer. Don’t be afraid to modify it!

    As well, you may notice that bestselling authors are using their taglines less and less on their websites. Why is that? Because their name has become their brand and their tagline. Their readership knows what they stand for and what they are going to get from reading their stories. However, they still use taglines in their promotional material for reaching out to new audiences as well as keeping their eye focused on the ball.

    Don’t forget–you can put your tagline everywhere! Use it! It’ll be one of your best tools. You can even use it when folks ask what you write. If it’s good, it’ll intrigue them and open the conversation.

    This might be one of the hardest things you do (right up there with query writing) but it will be well worth it!

    You can do it!

    How about you? Have you seen some good ones out there?

    Do you have a tagline? (Share it!) If so, could you hone it in even more?