Sunday, September 17, 2017

How Do Authors Develop A Tagline That Sells Books?

Authors may not see themselves as a company brand, but they do have a brand.  They even could benefit from a tagline, even if it doesn’t rival corporate slogans that we’ve become familiar with (Coke is it, Just do it, A diamond is forever, Americans run on Dunkin’).  So how does an author come up with his or her tagline?

Writers can have several taglines.  One may summarize or come to represent the essence of your writing voice and give shape to your persona. This is the one that may stay with you for your whole life and even live beyond the grave.

The other taglines you may call upon will be book-specific, the way a movie trailer tries to leave you with a lasting line, image, or phrase that compels one to watch a movie or read a book.  This is similar to how a company has its brand slogan but it also has a specific slogan to sell a new product or service.

So what process should an author follow in order to figure out a branding message that is effective and something he or she envisions living with for a very long time?  

It’s like getting to pick your own nickname in grade school – but it will stay with you forever. Pick wisely and choose something that you anticipate will reflect the quality, style, and feel for your future writings.

Here are some things to consider when establishing your motto:

1. Compare against fellow writers. What do your competitors say about themselves, whether in your genre or another?  How will you differentiate yourself?

2. Look at corporate models to see how they position themselves and see what ideas you can extract that can be applied to someone at our level.

3. Think about specific words that you want to use vs. ones you absolutely want to avoid.

4. Give thought as to the lasting image your statement will provide the consumer.  Is it one of humor?  Is it one of power?  Does it play on people’s passions and dreams?  Does it use fear or anger?  What emotional state or state of mind do you want to leave people in?

5. What really makes our writing unique, different, or better than others? Is there one thing that you can single out and build up? Like a DNA marker or a finger print, where each of us has a unique code for life, can you identify your writing DNA that helps others recognize your writing over someone else’s?

6. Is your slogan understandable or easily misunderstood?  Test it on others. Ask them if they understand the meaning behind your phrase or do they misinterpret your intention?

7. Does your catch – all phrase imply a clear benefit?

8. Is it catchy and memorable?

9. Does it impart positive feelings about your brand?

10. Does it sound contrived or dispassionate?

Your tagline is something that can be used for many things, from business cards, email signatures, and advertisements, to press releases, book jacket copy and website content. From social media to seminars, your tagline will come to define and hopefully promote you.  The words may not come so easily initially, but over time you will likely come to self-define what you truly offer others.  But your tagline will come to define (and hopefully promote) you.  The words may not come so easily initially, but over time you will likely come to self-define what you truly offer others. 

Taglines are really about perceptions.

Taglines aren’t intended to make you feel good, though you could use them as a rallying mantra during dryspells or writers block to remind you of exactly what you are all about.  Taglines are created for the sole purpose of inviting others to explore your writings.  So don’t be married to any words or phrases except the ones that others tell you they buy into.

You may find writing a 70,000-word book is far easier to pen than a nine-word tagline, but this is your chance to craft an image that could help you sell lots of books.  

What would you like people to think and say about you?  Now say it!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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