Tagline Time: Creating an Author Tagline

Lately I’ve been thinking again about marketing, which leads to the author tagline. And how I’ve been trying to create a new one.

Big button issues deserve big buttons. (Photo by me.)
Big button issues deserve big buttons. (Photo by me.)

A tagline, in case you’re curious, is a marketing tool where a short phrase (usually 7-10 words) sums up and encompasses what an author brings to their reader, and what readers can expect from their books.

My current tagline is: True Love, Know Thyself, since all my books deal with self-discovery in some capacity. But I think this really doesn’t necessarily tell you other things you need to know about my writing: the humor, paranormal aspects, plus the journey to acceptance. And since I have to order new business cards anyway for the RWA Conference, I’ve been considering how I might better tailor my tagline and the rest of my marketing to help make my “brand” (aka: me and my books), more memorable and marketable.

To start with, I did some research with my good friend Google. πŸ˜‰ Here are three of the most helpful descriptions of author taglines I found, which I thought perhaps you might likewise find helpful.

Branding 101: Do you Have a Tagline? by Jami Gold

How to Create a Great Author Tagline by Jean Oram

How to Attract Readers by Creating a ‘Lighthouse’ Author Brand by Jonathan Gunson

Following the suggestions in many of these posts, the first start is brainstorming a few key items:

  • what makes you unique from other authors in your field?
  • what emotions do you most want your readers to come away with?
  • what do you think you bring readers?
  • how do you picture your “brand” and your books? What words would you use to describe your books?
  • what universal message / emotion do you bring to readers?

Next, you start narrowing it down and playing around. Let yourself just have fun picking out the most significant of the descriptions and words. Then start combining them in fun and unusual ways. I did find one author who suggested too many commas in a tagline meant that you weren’t focused enough. I’m not entirely sure whether I agree with that or not (potentially as a significant portion of my list had commas – I love commas. And dashes. Have you noticed?). The other danger, and one which I may already have fallen into, is being “too clever” or too vague, meaning your tagline might be nice, but it doesn’t actually say anything about your books.

My honed down list (which I didn’t necessarily only stick with) was: Curious, playful, smart-ass, fun, acceptance, strong, curious, paranormal, magic, kiss*ss heroines, shifters, humor, duty, doing your best, accepting yourself and your magic, funny, shadowy, gallows humor,

Next is the fun part: playing with those words and ideas. Come on, start playing. I’ll wait. πŸ™‚

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Discovering the person in the beasty, and the humor in the dark.
  • Come for the magic. Stay for the fun.
  • Acceptance, one Magical at a time.
  • Finding the normal in the paranormal.
  • Accept yourself and your magic.
  • Humor and acceptance, one magical beastie at a time.
  • Magic and humor standard. Acceptance guaranteed.

So how’d you do? I my list, I find I’m leaning towards the last one in the line. But I think I’ll talk to my husband. Sometimes it’s so much easier for someone else to encapsulate our writing better than we can. Stay tuned to the website when a new tagline should appear soon!

And remember, you’re not necessarily stuck with the tagline you choose today forever. Your writing and focus may shift and change. If you write in two very disparate genres (maybe fiction and nonfiction even), you may need more than when tagline. And, if (when!) you become big enough, your name itself becomes your brand and you won’t need a tagline as much.

What do you think of my list? Any ideas? What about your taglines – willing to share?

Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a great week. πŸ˜‰





3 responses to “Tagline Time: Creating an Author Tagline”

  1. Jami Gold Avatar

    Thanks for the shout out to my post! πŸ™‚

    Good luck figuring out your tagline. I liked “Come for the magic. Stay for the fun.” the best–for whatever that’s worth. πŸ˜‰

    1. S.C. Chalmers Avatar

      Thanks for stopping by, and hope directing to your post was okay. Was definitely one if the best I found on the topic. πŸ™‚ I like the one you’ve suggested too, but not sure its specific enough.

      1. Jami Gold Avatar

        Ah, good point. That tagline says magic and fun, but if you wanted a more specific brand, it would need more. This isn’t easy. :/ Good luck!

        And yes, absolutely–I appreciate the shout out! πŸ™‚