Never Elaborate But Sometimes Vague: Logline and Tagline
In the midst of preparing my third novel’s synopsis, logline, and tagline, I researched other author’s book covers and came across numerous taglines that inspired a satisfactory completion of my own. With all the subplots, twists, and characters it took many drafts before I successfully summarized an 80,000-word novel into one sentence, and it left me wondering if one-liners and catchy phrases are necessary.
Yes! Taglines and loglines are essential parts of a writer’s media kit. Especially Indie Authors who may not have the followers or media endorsement bestselling authors have to promote their books. But before you start crafting your own, understand taglines and loglines aren’t synonymous. They both serve different purposes, but the one element they have in common is they’re not elaborate descriptions of your book but succinct statements.
A logline is essentially an elevator pitch, a concise, succinct summary of your book in one or two (preferably one) sentence. Imagine you have only thirty seconds before the elevator reaches your destination to tell a person about your story. The logline should be a sentence of no more than thirty words that convey the main conflict, main character, and what’s at risk before the elevator door opens.
A tagline is essentially a marketing slogan (a catchphrase) that enhances your book cover. It’s not a summary of the story and is often times vague, with no hint of what the story is about. However, it does bestow a captivating tone or mood that a logline doesn’t. Essentially taglines are a tease that creates intrigue and hooks the reader’s attention, inspiring them to open your book. Like a movie slogan, a book tagline should be a short catchy phrase or one-liner that’s clear, simple, and original.
Simplicity – Keep it simple and neat with a few words
Provocative – A tagline should evoke emotion so make it memorable and intriguing. Play around with words, their rhythm, and tone
Originality – Don’t try to imitate other taglines. Be true to your book. Once you craft your perfect tagline, make sure it hasn’t been used or trademarked by someone else. Type your tagline in Google search to determine if it’s in use already.
Here are a few loglines and taglines from bestselling novels.
The Girl on the Train
Logline: Despite her struggles with memory loss, a voyeuristic alcoholic tries to help police solve the mystery of a missing woman whose house she passes daily while taking a train. (29 Words)
Tagline: You don’t know her, but she knows you
Logline: When his wife’s disappearance becomes the focus of an intense media circus, a man’s portrayal of his happy marriage crumbles and he soon becomes the main suspect. (27 Words)
Tagline: There are two sides to every story
Logline: In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.(22 Words)
Tagline: Odd by name, a hero by nature
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Logline: After learning he is the son of Poseidon, a youth must prevent a war among the gods and rescue his mother from Hades, the king of the underworld. (28 words)
Tagline: Half Boy, Half God, All Hero
Video by E. Denise Billups