Monday, February 7, 2011

THE TAGLINE

The ANWA writer’s conference is fast approaching. I signed up for a pitch session with agent Kelly Mortimer. YIKES! It didn’t affect me when I signed up—I’d done one before—years before. Years before I knew enough to be nervous.
Before (that first time when I had a finished manuscript that I thought was perfect—but it wasn’t) all I did was bring a first chapter and eagerly answer questions like a kindergartener proving to her teacher that she knew her ABC’s. HA!
On the eve of my last rejection, it’s been all I could do to keep my head above water. Chanting, “I am an author, I am an author” had started losing its effectiveness, so I had to call on author and friend, Jennifer Griffith to help cheer me on. Hearing someone who has been there, and done that cheer me on, “You are an author. You can do it” has a much sweeter ring to it.
Okay, so I’m recommitted and refocused. But now, I hear the buzz—“Have a tagline!” What? I’d never heard of a tagline before—what was one and why should I care? At first, I thought a tagline was a jazzy 50-words-or-less book description. An elevator pitch.
No problem. I’m an award-winning writer. I can do this. But, no sooner had I gotten my nifty 50-words-or-less elevator pitch, I learned that a tagline was 15-words-or-less. BIG PROBLEM!!! I was having a hard time figuring out why I needed a tagline. After all, the agent wasn’t going to sit there and count my words when I spewed them to her. Would she put a red mark across my name if I gave her a 20-word tagline? I couldn’t imagine it would happen.
I’m one of those people who are annoyingly curious. I have a hard time doing something if I don’t understand the reason behind it. Just because everyone else is doing it isn’t good enough. I was the same way with piano lessons. Today I got up and decided to do a bit of research on the tagline so that I could get motivated to listen to those who were telling me I needed one. And, guess what??? I DO need a tagline.
Think of it as a super-hook. Short and succinct—and full of power-words. For anyone wishing they knew why they need a tagline, go to Kathryne Kennedy’s blog and read what she has to say on the subject.

2 comments:

Canda said...

Tag line? Good to know. I'm pitching at LDS StoryMakers. Yes, it's my first time. Thanks for letting us in on this secret.

Tina Scott, the writing artist said...

Sorry that the link didn't come through for Kathryne's blog. She says that a tagline can be used on the cover of a book to get potential readers interested. This jazzy line can also hook an editor at the beginning of a query.