“A catchphrase or slogan, especially as used in advertising, or the punchline of a joke.”
The above is the Google suggested definition of a ‘tagline’. I’m pretty sure that as an Author I don’t want to be the punchline of a joke, but sometimes I think this marketing gig is one huge joke anyway.
When I started, I wanted to write, publish the book and write some more. Ah, the dream life. Spending time completely surrounded by my ‘league of imaginary friends’, drinking coffee and breathing life into words so they created spun gold.
Then many ‘somebodies’ brought me back to earth with a painful thud. If I wanted this Midas life, readers would actually need to be able to find my books, be interested in them, and eventually get around to purchasing them. (Having readers actually read them was – apparently – a whole other ball game.)
I did a bit of research, a lot of blog reading, and pestered
asked a lot of questions of Authors further up the rung of success; and I found out that one of the ways (not the only or even the best way – as there is a lot of ‘do what works for you, there is no secret formula’ advice received) to help readers discover your book is to help them identify with you.
Be active on social media but don’t push the books. I got that bit.
Be open, friendly and real. The ‘be open’ part is a little hard for an introvert like me, but okay, let’s do that.
Have something so readers can easily identify that you are the author of the book title. Sweet, TP Hogan splashed on every cover should do the trick. Ummm…what do you mean – no?
Apparently, this is where a ‘tagline’ comes in. A tagline is a condensed catchphrase of what readers can expect when they pick up one of your books. And, it’s not as easy as it sounds. (Yeah, I didn’t think it sounded that easy either)
Examples of taglines:
- Grit, Glory, Love – Amity Cross; Author
- She’ll keep you up all night – Jackie Collins; Author
- In space, no one can hear you scream – Aliens; Movie
- One ring to rule them all – The Lord of the Rings; Book
- There can be only one – Highlander; Movie
- To boldly go where no man has gone before – Star Trek; TV Series
Just by reading the tagline, the reader should be able to instantly identify author, movie, book or TV series. Well, that’s the idea of it anyway.
So how, the dickens, did I condense into a catchphrase what I thought readers may expect from my books? I only had two written at the time.
My work colleagues became instant interviewees. Anyone who had been soft hearted enough to purchase my book ‘to support me’, then expressed an actual enjoyment of the story, they were my targets. As were any of my friends and family, who’d done the same.
What did they like about reading in general, and what did they like about my books?
Actually, they were pretty good about it, and it wasn’t too intense for them. Some of them shrugged and had no idea, but of those who answered I found a common thread in their answers.
Cool. Now what?
It was about this time that I stumbled across a book, Discover your brand – Emlyn Chand, which really helped. It’s pretty much a huge questionnaire for you to dig deeper into why you write, and what it is that you want to provide to your reader. I found it very useful.
What I found was that I love stories where, what we think is normal, isn’t ‘normal’ at all. I wanted my readers to enjoy stories about the worlds hidden beneath normality. It took about three weeks of tweaking before I came up with my tagline.
When I said previously that I thought this marketing gig was a huge joke, it’s because I’m not very good at it. I set up my tagline about eight months ago, and I mentioned it to a friend of seven years, who is very supportive of my writing and books, just the other day…and she didn’t know I had one.
So today I’m going to show it to you.
And…um…I also have a logo. Forgot to mention that bit.
So if you see this logo and the tagline – Escape…and explore hidden worlds – hopefully you know that you’ve picked up a TP Hogan book, reached my website, facebook, twitter or blog.
Now I just have to get the word out about it.
Wish me luck.