One piece of advice given to authors is to come up with a tagline that describes who we are and what we write. Personally, I’m a huge fan of taglines. I love the idea of helping readers quickly and easily get a sense of my work. It sounds so simple, too. One evening of brainstorming with a bottle of wine, and boom, we’re done—right?
Perhaps that’s how it works for some. Me, not so much. Consider this: first drafts of my novels are usually over 100k words. With the help of editors, we tighten them up to somewhere between 70-90k. Coming up with a 300-word back cover blurb takes me hours. Many, many hours. So, boiling down the whole of my work to under eight words? Not so simple, after all.
There is also a square peg/round hole problem. A workable tagline can be as simple as stating one’s genre. Technically, I write paranormal romance/suspense, but my books have been described as “atypical” for various reasons. For example, they are “paranormal,” but there are no supernatural characters. They have spiritual elements without fitting into the usual definition of “religious/inspirational.” And while it is sometimes assumed that “clean-with-steam” books are YA, mine are geared toward an adult audience.
Then there is the problem of complexity. A recent (beautiful!) Amazon review of my latest book, ALL THE LIGHT THERE IS, was entitled: “A lovely mix of Marine/civilian, Parapsychology, skeptics, New Age and Old age lore, science, political subterfuge, and Romance!” When I came across this, I was absolutely thrilled to see this reader’s wonderfully thorough yet succinct description of my work! Unfortunately, even this fabulous summary is over twice the maximum length of a tagline.
For all of these reasons—and the fact that I tend to overthink things ad nauseam—my search for a tagline has involved trial and error. Those who have visited my website or social media pages may have noticed a variety of different versions in rotation. This is how I often decide whether something works, creatively: try it on for size, walk around in it, see how it feels. While some attempts came close, nothing stuck.
Some time ago, I was playing around in Photoshop, creating images of THE HEALING EDGE SERIES for use on social media. Wishing to add some text to the images, I wrote a list of words describing themes and ideas that appear in my work. I circled a few, tried some out together, and ultimately came up with, “Light vs. darkness. Love vs. fear.” Recently, as I once again attempted to create the perfect tagline, I discovered that this particular image resonated more than any other with readers, generating the most attention, sharing, and feedback. You, my readers, had already told me what my tagline should be! All I had to do was listen.
“Light vs. darkness. Love vs. fear.” These are universal, epic struggles, and certainly not unique to my work. But I believe these words do an excellent job of describing what I write and what I’m about. Thank you, my incredible readers, for helping me to see what was right in front of me. 💗
Also, stay tuned! I’m working away on a new series starter called THE CRACKING (titled thus in part so that when it’s published, I can say, “Release ‘The Cracking!'” 😁). It’s going beautifully so far, and I can’t wait to share it with you! And hey, you’ll never guess what some of the major themes are…. 😉