A tagline for your life?

January 21, 2011 § 4 Comments

When did it become common to slap taglines on book covers?

We’re used to it in movies (though that doesn’t stop us from sniggering over the crudest of them as we wonder around Blockbuster). I still blanch a  little when I’m standing at WHSmith’s at the airport browsing the top 20 titles and I see…

THE CHOSEN ONE. When power is not enough…………..’ (Sam Bourne).


DIGITAL FORTRESS. The Ultimate Code. It’s powerful, dangerous – and unbreakable………… (I do not need to tell you the author).


THE REVERSAL. Can a man be convicted of the same crime twice? Mickey Haller is about to find out.’ (Michael Connelly).

BLACK LANDS. The boy wanted the truth… the killer wanted to play.’ (Belinda Bauer). Is it me or are these getting worse?

It seems to be a feature of the thriller genre, pretty much exclusively (as a side note, why is it that most of the airport top twenties are thrillers? A side issue. Send theories).

It’s a practice with a great deal of potential, however. See how pithy and memorable those taglines are? How much do they make you want to read those books? Desperately.

Let’s expand upon this.


A Dark Army.

A Great Weapon.

And the one man….

…….who can save the world.’

This has the advantage of being multi-purpose; you could apply it to approximately 50% of the fantasy books that have ever been written (more than that if you substitute ‘woman’ instead of ‘man’).


He was Forbidden….

and Therefore……

he was Irresistible……..’

Same as above, except in this case 95% of romance novels can be covered by merely exchanging the gender of the subject.

I could go on all night, but I won’t; because why stop at books? Let’s tagline everything. I am going to begin with my neighbour, who I like to think  of as Mr Noisy DIY:


One house.

An Epic Adventure that will go on….

…….for eternity.’

A tagline for my partner:


He has nothing but a white coat and a razor wit…

but he will rule ….


Taglining my father:


One man.

One language.


Taglining me:


(It is not that I’m feeling stressed at present).

So, play on. How would you tagline your book? How would you tagline yourself?


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§ 4 Responses to A tagline for your life?

  • Andy says:

    This looks really fun!

    Let me think, how about a tagline for Life.

    Life … you can play, but you can’t win.

    My “Book”: Two people, two worlds. One heart.

    Though I guess the thing about taglines is that the novelty quickly wears off if you overuse them. It is a useful brain exercise nonetheless!

  • Moby Dick: How far will one man go for revenge?

    Oliver Twist: In a world with nothing, one boy demanded more.

    100 Years of Solitude: The Buendias are about to find out that the only thing you can’t get away from… is yourself.

    • Charlotte says:

      I’m not surprised you’d be good at this, Mr Byronic. Comes from the same part of your brain that excels at acronyms, perhaps?

      I particularly like the Oliver Twist one – makes Oliver sound slightly demonic somehow. I can imagine a retelling of the tale where Oliver goes on to become the Dark Lord Robin Hood of nineteenth-century England.

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