A Girl Needs a Good Tagline by Deb Tish

Marketing guru M.J. Rose is adamant about one thing–every book needs a good tagline. Patry Francis, author of Liar’s Diary, and I took M.J.’s Buzz Your Book class last spring and rattled our brains to come up with taglines that spoke of not only the style of our books, but also our respective audiences.

The tagline I came up with for Town House is… an eccentric metropolitan tale for the anxious at heart. Not only does this help cement the book in your memory–building brand recognition–it reveals that the story might suit any urbanite (or urbanite at heart) who has:

1) ever been stressed or anxious–a near-permanent state for most city dwellers–and

2) a taste for the offbeat.

The tagline proved to be useful; HarperCollinsCanada has printed it on the back of the book, and my publicist at HarperCollins U.S. is using it in some of her publicity efforts.

Thank you, M.J.

I’ve recently discovered that taglines can be dropped into any area of your life. My very best friend, Jennifer, has a three-year-old daughter named Olivia. Olivia is a wild, redheaded human pinball who could probably do your quantam physics homework if you hadn’t long ago had the good sense to drop the class. Since Olivia was born, she and I have shared a special not-quite-mother-daughter, not-quite-auntie-niece bond. She calls me her Tishie Mummy and I adore her.

Last Friday, Jennifer dragged me out of my office to go shopping. She needed to buy shoes and no mother on earth can focus on footwear with Olivia climbing out of her stroller and tearing out into the crowds with a giggle and a “bye-bye!”

I’d had my eye on a pair of sneakers myself for a few weeks, so I thought I’d come armed with a pocketful of bribery that might keep Olivia in the stroller: a red lollipop, a purple lollipop and a bag of tiny oatmeal cookies.

As Olivia climbed into my car, I told her I had something special for her. “What?” she asked.

I pulled out the handful of junk and showed her. I said, “Do you know why I brought this for you?”

Olivia shook her head.

Tagline alert…”Because Tishie Mummy is the mummy who cares,” I said.

Jen and I left the mall happy, but too tired to speak. We nearly lost Olivia twice, we left Jen’s new Diesel running shoes on a bench, and there was a very real possibility one of us swallowed Snow White’s tiny rubber shoe at lunch. Even Olivia was exhausted, she nodded off in the back seat with her purple sucker poised in mid-air.

When I pulled into their driveway, Olivia’s eyes flew open and she looked at me with a big grin. Then she popped the purple lollipop back in her mouth, looked out the window, and with a wiggle of her toes, she said to no one in particular, “I love my Tishie Mummy. She’s the mummy who cares.”  

That’s the kind of brand recognition I can get behind.


9 Replies to “A Girl Needs a Good Tagline by Deb Tish”

  1. Great tagline for Townhouse, Tish.
    I love coming up with taglines for my books
    AND for my kids. I’ll say, “Mom is … (pause with
    eyebrows raised expectantly as child frantically
    searches his memory)… a writer on the edge!”
    Of course this can be looked at two ways:
    That I need medication desperately or else
    that I’m a “writer on the rise”. Leaning
    towards optimism, I prefer the latter.

    I hope you’ll humor me here, Tish.
    My 2nd novel debuts today and I probably
    should be on some sorta medication! 🙂

  2. Ooops! Lost 1/2 of the above post. Now how did that happen?

    Here it is: The Penny Tree is a moving tale involving a determined anonymous admirer and a woman who’s unexpectedly offered a second shot at happiness while dealing with the fall out from her failed marriage.

  3. Tish, you write super tag lines and links that DO work! MJ Rose (took a different class from her)is incredibly talented, motivating and generous, but so is “Mummy Tish who cares” to give Holly the stage.

    Congratulations, Holly, I didn’t realize THE PENNY TREE’s release was today…will be looking for it.

  4. Love the taglines, Tish! I am terrible at these myself. Maybe I need to go bother MJ? The writer on the edge is already taken (good one Holly, and congrats on Penny Tree!!), hmmmm, well, at least I know what will be distacting me from writing today!

  5. Like Kristy, I’m terrible at taglines. I guess I need a class with MJ too! Your taglines are terrific, Tish! I would leap at Town House based on the tagline alone.

    And congratulations to Holly!

  6. Har, I LOVE this! In fact, I think I’m going to start referring to you as Tishie, the Mummy Who Cares.

    I lucked out with Berkley – they came up with a tagline that, while I didn’t like it at first, grew on me. “Living simply isn’t simple.” It was also great because it distinguished the book from being too Martha Stewart-y, and focused more on the living simple concept from the book and Deidre’s show. Duh. I totally wouldn’t have figured that out.

    I have no way to get to MJ right now – can’t you do a little crash course for us? Puh-leaze?

    And Holly, I’m so stoked for you! Congrats!

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