Heart Breathings

Mini Marketing Tips For Authors: Great Taglines

April 12, 2018 by Sarra Cannon

Self-Publishing Tips

I have a great mini marketing tip for you guys today. Writing a handful of punchy one-liners that hook readers in and make them want to read your story is an amazing way to increase your return on investment when you’re running ads or talking about your book. These are called “taglines” and they are extremely valuable when advertising or talking about your book.

Watch my video or keep reading for how to create a great tagline for your book that will help you sell more copies!

The One-Liner Hook

When writing a one-liner, or tagline, you don’t want to describe your entire book. You don’t necessarily need to even talk about your specific characters.

What you DO want to do is give readers a sense of the genre and what your main “hook” is. Why should they read this book? What type of book is it? How is it going to make them feel?

This is your chance to really play with words. Double-entendres (like in the recent Fifty Shades Freed poster where they wrote, “Don’t Miss The Climax”), rhymes, mysterious words, powerful words that give a real sense of the tone of the book.

Brainstorm At Least Ten

When your book is finished and you are looking at marketing or publishing, I recommend you sit down with a notepad and your favorite pen and brainstorm at least ten great one-liner descriptions for your book.

(And as a side note, it doesn’t actually have to be just one line! You will often see two lines, maybe even three if they are short!)

Don’t be afraid to be silly or cheesy. Just write out every possible thing that comes to mind.

Play with ideas of genre, tone, expectations, well-known phrases you can twist to make your own.

Once you have a bunch, go to friends, family, readers, whoever will listen and see which ones make an impact.

This could take some time and some tweaking before you find the perfect little one-line punch, but it’s so worth it!

Finding Inspiration

Movie posters are a great place to look for good examples of taglines. You can often also find them in Netflix movie descriptions. RedBox. Look through the TV listings in your digital TV subscription.

You can also go to Amazon and scroll through their sponsored product listings on book pages.

Look up some of your favorite books at any ebook retailer or walk through your local book store. Not every book will use a tagline, but lots of them do, and it’s extremely effective.

How To Use Your Taglines

Once you have chosen your two or three very best one-line descriptions or taglines for your book, use them in advertising, on teasers, on your website, post them to social media, give them to bloggers to use when promoting your book, and put that hook at the top of your book’s description.

These short, punchy “hooks” or one-liners are absolute gold for advertising. The public has a very short attention span, and you need to get them interested and convey the tone of your book as quickly as possible.

Put your one-liner directly on the book cover, use it as ad copy on your Facebook ads, send out tweets with an eye-catching image. The possibilities are endless!

The hard part is coming up with the perfect  tagline, but if you spend the time on it and really put your best into it, I know you can come up with some good ones!

Some Examples

I pulled these from some of my favorites.

“Hard work will pay off later. Laziness pays off now.”

–Slouch Witch by Helen Harper


“Never make a deal with a vampire. It always comes back to bite you.”

–Push and Pull by Emily Cyr


“A murder..A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.”

–Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty


And a couple of examples from my own books:

“The deadliest secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.”

–Deep Dark Secrets by Sarra Cannon


I use two different ones that have been very successful for my Beautiful Demons boxed set:

“Dark Secrets Hide Within…”


“Never Trust The Popular Girls…”


Here is an example of a Facebook ad I ran with that second one-line tagline that got tens of thousands of clicks!



What Is Your Favorite One-Liner?

I hope you have found this mini marketing tip helpful.

Do you have a favorite one-liner or tagline that’s been used in a TV Show, Movie, or Book? Let me know in the comments!

If you have a favorite example from one of your own books, I’d love to hear that, too!


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Sarra Cannon

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Sarra Cannon

Hi, I'm Sarra!

I have been self-publishing my books since 2010, and in that time, I've sold well over half a million copies of my books. I'm not a superstar or a huge bestseller, but I have built an amazing career that brings me great joy. Here at Heart Breathings, I hope to help you find that same level of success. Let's do this.


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