Pitches, Taglines and Summaries

Writing a pitch, tagline or back cover blurb

“In a world..”  I bet you can hear the announcer’s voice, describing the latest movie coming out.  It answers the question, “what’s this movie about” in a few seconds.  Or doesn’t, and leaves you scratching your head.

An important tool in marketing your novel is being able to describe it succintly.  While you are creating or rewriting, it helps you focus on what the story is really all about.   When you are ready to sell your novel, you need to be able to quickly sum it up to editors, agents and other writing contacts.  This isn’t easy, though it seems like it should be. For one thing, cutting it down to minimalist proportions is like trimming bonsai.  You could lop off the wrong thing and be left with just a stick, or you could leave in too much and have a bushy lump.  The other problem I encountered was I didn’t want to give away too much.  I discovered there were many formats of descriptions.

“One of the most egregious and common mistakes that both amateur and seasoned writers make is underestimating the power of the pitch.”– Arielle Eckstut and David Sterry, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, 2010


Tagline or logline

A one-sentence description, like you would find in TV Guide.

Random log-line generator (with zombies)

Here’s mine:

When Jack and Lucy meet, their connection in the dream world could ruin their future.

Eh, not quite right.

Jack, former seller of dreams, must save the world when the dreamworld encroaches.

No, not really.

This is hard!!!

Comp tagline

Comparisons, splices and hybrids.

Here’s mine:

Inception meets paranomal romance.

What dreams may come without so much death.


The pitch:

About 200 words describing your novel- think about what you’d want on the back of your book or the flap.  I read hundreds of these every week as part of my job as a librarian.  It doesn’t necessarily give away endings, but you get a real feel for the book.

My first attempt:

Seeking Clarity. When Lucy was thinking of the man of her dreams, this wasn’t what she meant.  Jack, a burned out seller of dreams, has lost control of his dream powers and is being tortured by the King of Shadows.  He accidentally connects with Lucy in her dreams.  As the world begins to fall asleep, Lucy goes on a quest for the mysterious Clarity, and Jack races to find a way to wake everyone before  it’s too late.

I’m not happy with that.  I’ll keep working on it.


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