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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 01:19:58 PM

Title: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 01:19:58 PM
I'm trying to get some eyes on my fantasy book later this month.  Thank you!

ETA:  My blurb is not finished...I'm rewriting it, but have to wait for my book to go 'live' after changing the price for the weekend.

(https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/27971784_2006490296307429_6484357548337564560_n.jpg?oh=9a6eb35b80a22b7087ce9924d6a8540e&oe=5B184476)
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: C. Gold on February 09, 2018, 01:27:49 PM
It's safe but generic. Is there anything that would make the protags or villains stand out from the crowd?
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 01:29:27 PM
The one thing that's unique about my story...three characters (heroes) are never specified by gender.  It hasn't been a great selling point, but maybe I'm not approaching it the right way.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: VirginiaMcClain on February 09, 2018, 01:32:53 PM
It strikes me as a rather long tagline. Any chance of hitting the high points in ten words or less?
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 01:38:04 PM
Here's what I had for my blurb.  It's not great.  I'm trying to change my genre from fairytale to fantasy.

An evil threat has returned to the lands! Robin and Jamie must help a fractured group of heroes reunite to solve an age-old prophecy. There's action, adventure, magic and romance in this epic fantasy with fairies, humans, villains and even a shape-shifting kelpie.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: C. Gold on February 09, 2018, 01:39:31 PM
Are the fractured heroes going to have problems working together?
Are they enemies calling truce to fight a greater evil? Bitter rivals, lifelong enemies, distrustful of one another?
What type of characters are the heroes? Magic? Swords? Unarmed? Bard?
Dark lord and evil sorceress... do they do anything interesting besides evil, yarrr?
Any terrible prophecies to spout poetically?

Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 01:57:12 PM
1. Are the fractured heroes going to have problems working together?
2. Are they enemies calling truce to fight a greater evil? Bitter rivals, lifelong enemies, distrustful of one another?
3. What type of characters are the heroes? Magic? Swords? Unarmed? Bard?
4.  Dark lord and evil sorceress... do they do anything interesting besides evil, yarrr?
5.  Any terrible prophecies to spout poetically?

1.  Yes, the four elemental fairy groups have been divided since the last epic battle, 800 years ago.

2.  The dark lord and evil sorceress don't trust each other, plan to betray each other...but have to work together for now.  They're also sleeping together, but each is cheating on the other.  It's a bit twisted.

3.  The two main heroes are human, but the rest are elemental fairies and a kelpie.  They have magic, while the humans have a crossbow and sword.  One is a commoner and the other a noble.

4.  I refer to point 2. They have a twisted 'romance' and are stuck together until they can defeat the others.  Any more and I might ruin the story.

5.  The prophecy is written on a stone in the middle of a vineyard...the location of the previous battle.

Here lie the fallen people of our lands, who stood as one
Against the invaders.  They were separated in thought and deed,
Betrayed by the dark magic that corrupted one of their own.

They remain divided, even though the threat has been
Buried for eight hundred years.  The fighting stopped
But the battle was never over, merely waiting to begin anew.
 
When destiny meets itself, four will act as one and all will return.
Water must decide the fate of others to make up for its betrayal 
As the king's fruit circles and hinders evil with all its secrets.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: ShayneRutherford on February 09, 2018, 02:09:06 PM
The one thing that's unique about my story...three characters (heroes) are never specified by gender.  It hasn't been a great selling point, but maybe I'm not approaching it the right way.

Are you saying that the reader has no idea what gender the three MCs are?
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: C. Gold on February 09, 2018, 02:13:52 PM
As the king's fruit circles and hinders evil with all its secrets.
HAHAHA! Oh lordy, save us now from the evil flying banana!!

All kidding aside, I think you might have some fun stuff in the prophecy.

Once corrupted and betrayed, the four must become one to see evil undone.

The prophecy says they will unite. Over Robin's dead body. Never trust a Kelpie!

The prophecy was doomed to failure. Faries and Kelpies working together? No way. Unless...
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Patty Jansen on February 09, 2018, 02:14:57 PM
Are you saying that the reader has no idea what gender the three MCs are?

Agree if the reader has no idea it's a gimmick that will probably end up annoying more people than it's worth.

I'd also offer another suggestion: change your title.

"Robin & Jamie" sounds like a romance title where the author couldn't think of anything better than the names of the main leads. There is nothing fantasy (fairytale or epic) about it. It's as uninspiring as titles come.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 02:17:25 PM
Are you saying that the reader has no idea what gender the three MCs are?

I'm saying the reader decides.  I never use third person/singular pronouns with those three characters.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 02:18:56 PM
Agree if the reader has no idea it's a gimmick that will probably end up annoying more people than it's worth.

I'd also offer another suggestion: change your title.

"Robin & Jamie" sounds like a romance title where the author couldn't think of anything better than the names of the main leads. There is nothing fantasy (fairytale or epic) about it. It's as uninspiring as titles come.

I can't afford a new cover.

Gimmick might not be the right word...it's more of an attempt to have the MC's known for what they can accomplish, rather than if they're the guy or gal.
Title: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: ShayneRutherford on February 09, 2018, 02:26:22 PM
I'm saying the reader decides.  I never use third person/singular pronouns with those three characters.

That would be the opposite of a selling point to me, because it feels really gimmicky. The gender of a character is a big part of who they are, and I would expect the writer to give me that info, not force me to make it up myself. Having to do so would ruin a lot of my immersion in the story, because I would always be wondering if what I was making up was right.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 02:29:58 PM
That would be the opposite of a selling point to me, because it feels really gimmicky. The gender of a character is a big part of who they are, and I would expect the writer to give me that info, not force me to make it up myself.

I don't mention gender in the blurb.  I know it's difficult without reading the story, but I really don't think of it as a gimmick.  Do you have any suggestions about the tagline?
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Monique on February 09, 2018, 02:36:01 PM
What happens when the fallen people rise?
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 02:38:13 PM
What happens when the fallen people rise?

Did you read my book?  That happens. :)
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Monique on February 09, 2018, 02:39:08 PM
It's in the prophecy. I'm suggesting it as the tagline.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: ShayneRutherford on February 09, 2018, 02:50:58 PM
I don't mention gender in the blurb.  I know it's difficult without reading the story, but I really don't think of it as a gimmick.  Do you have any suggestions about the tagline?

As a reader, I do think of it as a gimmick, though. And it was noticeable enough to me when I read the blurb and the Look Inside a couple of months ago that I didn't go past the first couple of pages. I'm sorry, I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, because it's off-topic, except for the fact that you mentioned in another comment that you thought it was a selling point, and I thought having a different opinion might be useful.

I find the tag line a bit generic. Making it a bit more specific might help drum up more interest.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 03:25:33 PM
It's in the prophecy. I'm suggesting it as the tagline.

Thank you, Monique. :)
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Patty Jansen on February 09, 2018, 03:45:28 PM
I can't afford a new cover.


Aww geez, I can just change the title for you.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 03:49:12 PM
Aww geez, I can just change the title for you.

Thanks, Patty. :)
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: ShayneRutherford on February 09, 2018, 03:51:18 PM
Aww geez, I can just change the title for you.

The cover designer might be willing to change the title for free. It can't hurt to ask.

Also, cover designers tend to frown on other people changing their work.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 09, 2018, 03:55:03 PM
The cover designer might be willing to change the title for free. It can't hurt to ask.

Also, cover designers tend to frown on other people changing their work.

Shayne, I bought the cover from Patty.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: SueSeabury on February 09, 2018, 04:04:56 PM
It's not really grabbing me. Can you come up with a double entendre, or perhaps a surprising contrast to make it catchier? That can include images in the cover itself.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: ShayneRutherford on February 09, 2018, 04:13:35 PM
Shayne, I bought the cover from Patty.

D'oh! Now I feel dumb. Sorry, I didn't realize that.

It's nice, and quite eye-catching.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Kate. on February 09, 2018, 06:17:43 PM
Both the tagline and the blurb are very generic. A band of heroes unite to defeat a dark lord. That can describe thousands of epic fantasy novels. What makes yours more exciting than the others?

Can you give us some sort of emotional connection? What's at stake if the dark lord isn't stopped? Sometimes personal threats are more interesting than large, general ones like "the whole land will be plunged into darkness". In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo sees a vision of Hobbiton burning and the hobbits being enslaved. Hobbiton is a tiny, insignificant location in Middle Earth, but it's deeply personal to him, and that drives him (and the reader) to want to see the ring destroyed, no matter the cost. Is there something like that motivating your heroes?

A character-based emotional connection could work, too. Maybe something like, "Ten years ago, bickering split this band of legendary heroes. Now they must reunite to battle a newly-risen dark lord." I have no idea how accurate my version is, but it's similar to the tagline you already use, just more specific and using conflict as a hook.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: VirginiaMcClain on February 09, 2018, 09:50:25 PM
That would be the opposite of a selling point to me, because it feels really gimmicky. The gender of a character is a big part of who they are, and I would expect the writer to give me that info, not force me to make it up myself. Having to do so would ruin a lot of my immersion in the story, because I would always be wondering if what I was making up was right.

Some readers really enjoy reading about protagonists whose gender isn't part of their identity. Just because you aren't one of them doesn't mean that they don't exist. If the author is making the conscious choice to do it and is aware of the risks that's their choice to make. If you're worried it won't sell I recommend taking a look at any book by Ann Leckie and the various best seller lists she appears on, and then reconsider it.

I will say it has to be done well to work, but then so does anything interesting in writing.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: ShayneRutherford on February 10, 2018, 12:12:01 AM
Some readers really enjoy reading about protagonists whose gender isn't part of their identity. Just because you aren't one of them doesn't mean that they don't exist. If the author is making the conscious choice to do it and is aware of the risks that's their choice to make. If you're worried it won't sell I recommend taking a look at any book by Ann Leckie and the various best seller lists she appears on, and then reconsider it.

I will say it has to be done well to work, but then so does anything interesting in writing.

I know there are plenty of people who like reading about protagonists whose gender isn't part of their identity. And of course it's the author's choice to do it. I never said it wasn't.

But I think you might be misunderstanding what's going on with this book. As far as I can tell from reading the Look Inside, it isn't that gender isn't a part of the protagonist's identity. It's that the author is deliberately obscuring it, and making the reader chose the gender for each of the three characters.

I'm saying the reader decides.  I never use third person/singular pronouns with those three characters.

Which is not at all the same thing as having a character who is genderless.

If a character has a gender or not makes no nevermind to me. But either way, they can be described by their physical appearance, and I'll know how to picture them in my head regardless of what pronoun they chose to use. But when the gender is concealed, not just by lack of pronouns but by lack of physical description as well, it leaves me with no idea how to picture the characters, and so I have two people-sized gaps in the canvas of my brain, which severely messes with my immersion in the story. I would imagine there are plenty of people who would like being able to make up the entirety of the characters as they chose, but I'm sure there are also plenty like me who would find it a distraction, which is why I brought up the fact that it might not be a good selling point to use. I made my comment strictly for the sake of offering a differing view point. The author can take it entirely with a grain of salt.

Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: C. Gold on February 10, 2018, 01:45:14 AM
Some readers really enjoy reading about protagonists whose gender isn't part of their identity. Just because you aren't one of them doesn't mean that they don't exist. If the author is making the conscious choice to do it and is aware of the risks that's their choice to make. If you're worried it won't sell I recommend taking a look at any book by Ann Leckie and the various best seller lists she appears on, and then reconsider it.

I will say it has to be done well to work, but then so does anything interesting in writing.
Ann Leckie used a single pronoun (she) which gave her a bit more variety with her sentences. That's probably the only downside I see to trying it this way without using any pronouns. Also, people had gender, it was the way to address them that was uni-sexed, especially since some races couldn't tell other races' genders apart which I thought was pretty realistic. It was weird getting used to, but I loved the characters and it stopped bothering me after a while.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on February 10, 2018, 11:16:43 AM
Here is another useful link

https://rwasd.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/loglines-and-taglines-are-different-and-you-need-both-for-your-novel-by-r-ann-siracusa/
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Herefortheride on February 10, 2018, 11:23:50 AM
Songs were sung of the deeds of Robin and Jamie...and then forgotten.

A new evil has emerged.

Separated by time and tragedy can forgotten heroes rekindle the old magic to save the world and themselves again?

Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: EC Sheedy on February 10, 2018, 11:39:48 AM
Sorry, I can't help with the tagline, but I applaud your taking a second look at it. The one word in the tagline I had trouble with was the verb "stop."  Stop what exactly? The word left the tagline unfinished somehow.

I like what Monique suggested. :-)
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: elalond on February 10, 2018, 11:55:06 AM
I agree with the rest of the comments, itís not bad, but itís quite generic.

You could use lines from the prophecy.  There were some lines that jumped out to me, so maybe something in the line: ďOn the battlefield they had stood as one and now they are separated in thought and deed, but the battle was never over, merely waiting to begin anew.Ē Just shorter.  Or just use:  ďThe battle was never over, merely waiting to begin anew.Ē Itís a great line. It doesnít give much information, but it sounds cool to me. 
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Lorri Moulton on February 10, 2018, 11:57:35 AM
Thank you so much for all the thoughtful responses! :)

I decided to change the title, the cover and the blurb...so I may be back to get help with the new one.  Hoping it will go 'live' before my promo is over this weekend.  It's my paranormal mystery, but it would be nice to see if sales increase for this one.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Skip Knox on February 10, 2018, 12:46:50 PM
I would lose fractured. It makes it sound like the heroes themselves are fractured. Since they must reunite, "fractured" is superfluous.

"Group" is unnecessarily vague. Why not just say "four heroes"?

I have to agree about the title. The cover lists two (presumed) heroes and the blurb says four.

Lose the ellipses. We know more is to come. And it's a complete sentence.

The whole of the tagline is awfully generic, as someone else said. Heroes. Dark lord. Sorceress. There's no indication as to what is at stake--a kingdom? the world? Just our four heroes? Their home town? Reality itself?

Do you have to mention dark lord *and* sorceress? A browsing reader might be forgiven if he thinks the dark lord is robin and the sorceress is jamie. Or vice versa.

Without knowing more about the book, it's hard to say what might work, only to say what isn't working. I look for something that is personal to the main character. Some risk they must take, something they might lose. Or gain. Sorry I can't be any more specific.
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: VirginiaMcClain on February 10, 2018, 06:20:34 PM
Ann Leckie used a single pronoun (she) which gave her a bit more variety with her sentences. That's probably the only downside I see to trying it this way without using any pronouns. Also, people had gender, it was the way to address them that was uni-sexed, especially since some races couldn't tell other races' genders apart which I thought was pretty realistic. It was weird getting used to, but I loved the characters and it stopped bothering me after a while.

In her newest book (Provenance) there are people who are called neman (outside of Radch space, but still in the same universe) who are completely non-gendered and non-sexed. Which is what I was referring to.

But even in Radch space, everyone is "she" and no, people do not have gender. They have a sex, but that's not the same thing. The whole point is that gender identity in the Radch is nullified. People are whatever they are, but they can change it any time, and what we think of as gender (long hair, short hair, curves, planes, more muscular, less muscular, does not enter into anyone's gender identity in the Radch--though it may inform other parts of their identity). There's a part where the main character even addresses that specific thing. Anyone can bear children in the Radch. (Sorry for getting slightly off topic, but I particularly enjoy how Ann Leckie addresses this, so I find it a very interesting discussion.)
Title: Re: Does this look like a good tagline?
Post by: Skip Knox on February 10, 2018, 08:02:43 PM
While I agree that I like to be able to picture the characters, I can think of one exception. Mickey Spillane. In all those books, he never describes Mike Hammer. He did this deliberately, so the reader would picture themselves in that role. It was an odd choice, and I won't pretend that's great literature--and certainly not genderless!--but I offer it as an example of how one might get away with no physical description of a main character.