As I mentioned in last week's post, a logline is an extremely compact summary of a book, and it's an important requirement for query letters and pitches, as well as for keeping focused on your core story while writing.
However, many writers get confused between loglines and taglines, so today I'm going to look at the difference between them.
Both terms originated in the movie business where they are used to market movies, but they are just as applicable in publishing, and
A logline is a single sentence which provides a synopsis of the central conflict and plot of the book, as well as an emotional 'hook' to stimulate interest.
So the logline for my novel Last of the Summer Vines would be:
When an ambitious workaholic inherits a Tuscan vineyard, her determination to sell the crumbling castello is frustrated by the vineyard's gorgeous but infuriating winemaker.
Another example would be this logline for the movie Men in Black:
When a New York cop is recruited to an agency that monitors alien activity on Earth, he and his new partner must race to save the world from an attack that would end life as we know it.
When would you use a logline? You would use a logline if you're taking part in a Twitter pitch, if you meet a publishing luminary in the toilet queue at a conference, or when someone at a dinner party asks you "what is your book about?"
A tagline is a piece of marketing copy designed for use on posters to sell the film, or by publishers and authors to sell the book. Also a single sentence, the tagline isn't a summary, but rather a compelling, high concept teaser designed to entice readers to buy the book.
The tagline for Last of the Summer Vines is:
Love grows where you least expect to find it…
The tagline for Men in Black is:
Protecting the earth from the scum of the universe
When would you use a tagline? On marketing materials (such as Facebook or Twitter posts) or as the header for your book description on retailer websites.
It's really as simple as that!
Next week I'll look at book blurbs - what they are, when you'll need them, and how to write an effective blurb.