As you read on you'll notice below Marcy's also running a webinar on pitching. If you have not yet taken a WANA International course, I wholeheartedly recommend them and Marcy, who is smart and savvy! (Full disclosure--I have taught webinars myself through WANA, and I love the spirit of community and their mission to help writers. Plus the online classroom Big Blue Button Technology can't be beat as a tool for learning!)
WANACON coming in October. I attended the last online con, and unfortunately I am out of town for this one, but trust me, it is going to be amazing. You can't get this level of instruction and expertise for the price anywhere else.
*meep-meep* Okay, turning things over to Marcy!
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As writers, we hear about loglines all the time—how to write them, why we need them, when to use them. And so, when we hear about this thing called a tag line, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking tag line is just another name for a logline.
It’s not and we need both because the tagline is what goes on your book cover.
A logline tells you what a movie or book will be about—the main conflict, the main character, and the stakes.
A tag line is a catch phrase. It doesn’t tell you anything specific about the story, but it does give you a feel for it in a way that a logline can’t. A tag line is what you see on movie posters.
To help you see the difference between a logline and a tag line, let’s go through examples of both.
Lord of the Rings
Logline: A young hobbit needs to destroy an ancient, powerful ring before the evil overload consumes the world in everlasting darkness.
Tag Line: One ring to rule them all.
The LOTR logline gives you the main character (a hobbit), the main conflict (the hobbit wants to destroy the ring and the evil overlord wants to keep the ring), and the stakes (all the good in the world will be destroyed).
The tag line gives you the emotional feel of the book. It will be dark and serious. You could probably even guess that it will be an epic fantasy.
Logline: A sheriff must find and kill a man-eating and frighteningly intelligent shark before it murders again and scares away all the tourists who support his beach-front community.
Tag Line: Don’t go into the water.
Do you see how the tag line doesn’t really tell you anything about the movie? Based on just the tag line, Jaws could be about poisonous jelly fish or a deadly current. It’s not meant to tell you the plot. It’s meant to evoke emotion. It sets the tone for a story that’s going to scare you. You know it’s going to be either horror or a thriller.
When you’re writing your tag line, ask yourself what tone you want to set for your book. What emotions do you want to evoke?
Now brainstorm 5-10 possible tag lines, trying to keep them under 10 words each. If you want, share your attempts in the comments, and give feedback on the attempts of someone else!
Want to learn more about creating loglines, taglines, and pitches?
On Saturday, September 21, I’ll be teaching a 90-minute webinar where I give even more tips on crafting awesome loglines, taglines, and pitches. You can get 15% off by using the discount code MarcyLogline15. Sign up or learn more by clicking here. If you can’t make it at the time it’s scheduled but still want to attend, sign up anyway. The webinar will be recorded and sent to registrants along with a PDF of the slides.
Click here to sign up for your copy.
Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy) is a speculative fiction writer who believes fantasy is more real than you think. Alongside her own writing, Marcy works as a freelance editor and teaches classes on craft and social media through WANA International. You can find her blogging about writing and about the place where real life meets science fiction, fantasy, and myth at www.marcykennedy.com.