Showing posts with label marketing a novel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing a novel. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Taglines and Loglines

My Kindle advertises to me, temptingly placing book covers on my standby screen.  After a while I noticed that they all had something in common:  a tagline or logline right on the cover.  Then I noticed something else.  When I looked up the books on Amazon, most of them didn’t actually have these pithy teasers on the cover.  It was something Amazon added, to help sell books.  Which tells me that a tagline may accomplish what a book cover alone can’t.

Since my greatest talent does not lie in writing taglines…or loglines…or synopses…or pitches…I started writing them down, to see if I could learn anything.  I thought my fellow writers might find the examples interesting.

Can a troubled young man and a desperate mother save each other?
Through the Fog by Michael C. Grumley
(asks a rhetorical question, uses classic adjective-noun descriptions of characters)

After she loses everyone that she loves, Mikayla struggles to find a new forever
More than This by Jay McLean
(names a character, hints at backstory, genre, conflict)

A gripping tale of seduction and survival in the court of King Henry VIII
A Love Most Dangerous by Martin Lake
(establishes setting and main premise, uses no verbs, praises itself)

In postapocalyptic Boston, supernatural factions battle for human souls
Marked by Sarah Fine
(plays on the popularity of a trendy genre, gives setting, hints at what’s at stake)

You may know their faces—but you don’t know their dangerous, deadly secrets
Ourselves by S.G. Redling
(second person, fairly generic—may apply to about 40% of novels—but still intriguing)

Her secret admirer:  a world traveler with a sense of humor—and a job to kill for
Ice Man Cometh by C.T. Wente
(specific, clever description of one character, a hint of intrigue)

A murdered angel, an elusive hero—just another day for Gideon and Sirius
(humor, quick character descriptions, hints of genre, no verbs)

Glassblowing was a man’s art—until three enchanting sisters elevated the craft with a woman’s touch
The Glassblower by Petra Durst-Benning
(past tense, unusual topic)

When hard evidence points to you, how do you clear your name?
(second person rhetorical question with high stakes)

He must choose between love and loyalty, paying with either his heart…or his life.
(The hard choice.  Generic but intriguing)

A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
(clever wordplay, hints of sci-fi, hints of urgency)

A medieval killer and his current-day copycat terrorize the walled city of Zons
Fatal Puzzle by Catherine Shepherd
(intriguing premise, setting)


Benjamin thought he couldn’t feel anymore…until Charlie came along

Beneath a picturesque New Orleans mansion lurks a deadly force
The Vines by Christopher Rice

In search of a missing boy, a DEA agent ends up on the run.

One man fights to regain his family’s land—and win the woman he loves
Deepest Roots of the Heart by Chautona Havig

How well do you really know those closest to you? 
Never Smile at Strangers by Jennifer Jaynes

Years after her sister’s murder, Detective Crosswhite fights to find the truth.
My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni

All the rules I’ve read about writing taglines and loglines are both exemplified and contradicted here—which seems to be the case with rules about writing queries and blurbs too.  But the main advice still holds true:  make your readers want to read the book.

And perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from this came from the examples I jotted down without noting the book title, and then later couldn’t find.  Once you have a tagline you like, make sure people can find it online.  Use it everywhere you can:  your website, blog, Facebook, guest posts, Amazon/Goodreads/B&N descriptions…whatever and whenever you can.  Then, prospective readers who may not remember your name or title but who remember part of your hopefully memorable tagline can Google it to find your book.  Make your tagline work for you.

Melinda Brasher writes short stories, travel articles, and YA novels.  She loves the crunch of snow and the smell of old books.  She's currently living in the Czech Republic teaching English.  To see a little of this beautiful country, visit her online:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Buzzing Your Book

by Shelby Patrick

I spent a week in New York City recently attending ThrillerFest. While there, I went to several workshops and my favorite was on "Buzzing Your Book". The presenters were very professional and full of knowledge. After providing an introduction, they asked for volunteers to stand up and tell everyone what their book was about in one sentence, then the presenter was asked a few questions, and afterward the workshop instructors brainstormed FREE ideas to market their book. I'd like to share a few with you here now.

M.J. Rose, one of the instructors, told us of how she got a new puppy and started frequenting an online forum for the breed of dog she had. At the end of every post, she would put in a simple tag line (M.J. Rose, author of Lip Service). She posted a lot and after about six months time, someone on the board finally asked her what Lip Service was. When she responded, 400 books were sold overnight. Wow! That would be nice, wouldn't it? Posting to forums is a tried and true method of getting the word out; however, don't go in there with the intent to advertise straight out. Do it subtly, in a small signature line.

Another idea, as pertains to fiction, is to create short stories centered around each of your characters. People will get more involved with the overall book if other stories use those characters. Popular books and movies do it all the time with their fan fiction. Readers love to see their favorite characters in other settings outside the original one.

Once you have tried that, or even if you prefer not to, then let's move on. Try picking five things from your book that catch your eye. For example, in my upcoming novel Behind the Masque, I might choose the following: University of Michigan, The Whitney Restaurant, Society of Former Special Agents of the F.B.I., Alcoholics Anonymous, art history majors. Then do a search online using those terms. Find places, organizations, forums, etc. where interest might lie in those subjects and get involved, once again subtly advertising your book.

Books don't get sold by themselves and most of us probably can't afford an expensive advertising budget or to hire a PR firm, so we have to find easy and cheap ways of getting the word out ourselves. It's not as hard as one would think. If you can write, you can come up with new and exciting ways to market yourself. Good luck!


Shelby Patrick, author of When Angels Sing and The Fear Within.

Follow me on FaceBook and Twitter (@shelbypatrick)


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