Picture this. You go to an author’s website. Or you end up on the website because … well … you’re not quite sure how. The homepage of the website includes the author’s name in huge letters, on top of a large, adorable photo of him or her. “Aw … what a nice photo,” you think.
But then what? I mean, what have you learned about this author from that homepage? That he or she is attractive? That he has spent some money on online marketing? What’s most important is what you don’t know: who this person really is and what he or she writes about.
You see, when you stumble across a website that says “Seth Jones” — with no additional information — you have no idea if Seth Jones is a respected attorney who has written a book about his area of expertise or if he is a novelist who writes about alien invasions from his basement.
Enter the idea of an author tagline.
One thing that I frequently recommend for authors is that they add a brief line of text underneath their name to quickly and succinctly let visitors understand whose site they’re on and what they should expect to find there.
Examples of good author taglines we’ve created include:
- Ekaterina Books: Fiction for the young at heart
- Amy Beth Arkawy: Author. Creativity coach. Radio host
- Thomas Richard Harry: Challenging today’s party politics
- Steve Roberts: Action adventure, new characters, new places
- Veronica Tiller: Native woman writing about her native America
- Lauren Bloom: Practical, ethical solutions
- Richard A.M. Dixon: Adventures of an infantry soldier
- Jim Flinchum: Advisor for the rich and author for all
See what these taglines give you? They not only give you an idea of what type of books the author has written, but they also give you an idea of the author’s personality and voice. A funny tagline translates to a funny author. A provocative tagline translates to a provocative author. And so on.
So how does an author go about finding the right tagline? Here are some guidelines…
- Define what makes you unique. Sure, you’re a novelist. But what makes you different from the other millions of people out there who have written fiction? So go beyond just naming your genre and think about what makes you different. Do you offer historical fiction with a twist? Is your book where adventure meets romance? Be as specific as you can about what makes your writing different and unique.
- Sit with it for a while before finalizing it. This is going to be your brand. So don’t make a decision on it too quickly. Make sure the tagline is written in your voice and signature tone. Make sure your personality is interjected into it. And pick something that you can stick with for a while.
- KISS: You know what this stands for. Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t write an entire paragraph explaining what makes you unique. Keep it memorable and short (think three to eight words). No one is going to read anything longer than that.