You’ve selected the key words culled your brand profile and created an author brand tagline. Yes? No? Well if you haven’t yet or you’re stuck, read on. Help and inspiration is on the way.
An author tag line is almost always a recommended part of branding. It is your brand positioning taken to a high concept, creative level. You want the line to be memorable, yet flexible enough to allow you to grow as a writer––but not so all encompassing that the line ends up trying to say too much. I see examples of author taglines that are working too hard all over cyberspace.
How can you tell if your tagline is trying too hard? Count the commas. Too many commas in a tagline usually means: 1. Author can’t self edit. 2. Writes in several subgenres. 3. Describes the tone and style of the writer, usually without much tone or style.
A quick piece of advice. Avoid puns. Always. Unless a pun is really, really great, please try to resist. I know this is tough for you clever ones, but you must trust me on this.
How about a few examples of taglines?
A little bit of laughter, a pinch of spice, and a sprinkling of magic dust.
Critique: Generally, this does not sound adult. The tone is younger than YA. Disney-ish. Avoid being too cute, or too friendly or folksy, unless, of course, that is what you write.
How about this tag? Edgy, elegant, erotic romance.
Critique: The alliteration takes this no more than a half-step away from what I call a blueprint tagline. The author has basically taken words and phrases from her brand profile and strung them together. Note the commas.
“Science Fiction, secret agents, and bad boys gone good.”
Don’t use quote marks. It’s cheesy. And those commas are back again. Does this author write cross-genre or does she write in three different genres? Bad boys gone good, begins to get me interested. A playful line, but it needs something more. An erotic author who writes troubled, darker heroes might edge that up a notch. Now, bad boys gone good, becomes:
Bad boys can be very, very good. In bed. Why not bring the author’s voice into the line? Let me show how very good bad boys can be. Keep playing with ideas and tossing around lines. See how outrageous you can be––take it way out there and then pull back.
Which leads me to the two sentence tagline. A descriptive sentence, then a second shorter sentence to punctuate the tone or concept of the first line.
And now for an excellent example.
Erotic Romance writer Delilah Devlin’s tagline seems to be the one used and quoted extensively in blog’s all over the internet. Here it is.
Get in bed with Delilah. Everyone else has.
Critique: Note the use of two sentences. One to set up a provocative premise. The second to drive home a clever bit of humor. Implied in the second line is the idea that many readers have read and enjoyed her novels. And no commas!
Now get back to work and create the next great tagline. No pressure! And please remember that you are allowed to refine your tagline as your writing matures or changes. It’s not the end of the world to freshen up or evolve a brand tagline.
COMING NEXT WEEK: You’ve got your brand strategy and your tagline. Now what do you do with them? Website and social networking are the foundation of your brand. A quick pass through those in the weeks ahead and then we’re on to advanced work in advertising and promotion for pubbed and unpubbed authors.
G. Jillian Stone
There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.
Jillian is a recent Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com firstname.lastname@example.org