Tag lines are short, usually one sentence statements about something. They are marketing tools, like slogans. For example, a tag line for my novel *Accidental Colony* would be something like this, “Stranded on an alien world. How will you survive?” Well, something like that. The one for my cozy mystery, *Moonbeam Merlin and Murder* would be something like “Lights! Camera! Murder!” (Look for it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers).
Taglines are not the same as loglines. Loglines explain the action of the story in a few words. The logline for my upcoming novel (look for it at Christmas), Moonbeam Mistletoe and Murder is as follows. “Merlin and Moonbeam visit Merlin’s aunt Lynne at Christmas and must prove her innocent of murder.” The tagline would be something like this, “Merry Murder” or “Troll the ancient yuletide murder.” Something along those lines anyway. A logline sums up the story, a tagline sells the book. It’s a catch phrase or slogan. Taglines should be short. They should relate a little to the story, but shouldn’t give anything away.
That said they shouldn’t promise anything not in the book either. That is, don’t include anything in the tagline that isn’t in your book. I wouldn’t use a tagline like, “If you liked *Game of Thrones* , you’ll love *Moonbeam Mistletoe and Murder* .” They are completely different genres for one thing. It would set the reader up for bit of a disappointment and that’s what you want to avoid. Use something that fits your story. Use humor if it’s intrinsic to your story. Don’t use humor if your book is a serious story, not intended to make the reader laugh. “Lights! Camera! Murder!” tells you the story is about a murder on a movie set. That’s all it tells you. To find out more, you have to read the book. Another tagline for that novel could be something like this, “What’s a poor little cat to do?” A tagline should intrigue and foster a desire to read the book. That is their function.
Sometimes the tagline can be for an entire series of books. “A Magical Cats Mystery” is the tagline for Sofia Kelly’s series of cozy mysteries. A tagline for my Moonbeam mysteries would be just that, title, “A Moonbeam Shadowchaser Mystery.” Taglines aren’t just for movies and fiction. The tagline for *The Elements of Style* is a quote from the New York Times, “Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It’s as timeless as book can be in our age of volubility.” You get the idea.
A tagline can sell an author as well. “The Shining, by Stephen King, the best selling author of Carrie” sells the author. You get the idea. I’m not going to tell you a good tagline will turn your book into a best seller. It might not, but it will help you garner sales. Used correctly, this marketing tool can get your book into people’s libraries. Write your logline, then the book, and then your tagline. You won’t regret it.