Taglines and loglines and blurbs, oh my!


Okay my darlings, I don’t normally do this type of post, but I see these terms misused so often, I thought, why not? The biggest confusion seems to between taglines and loglines, so let’s start there.


What to remember:
TAGLINES reflect a marketing concept, usually ten words or less.
LOGLINES are plot—a one line summary with a hook.

How about some examples?

The TAGLINES for the JAWS films:
JAWS – Don’t go in the water.
JAWS 2 – Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.
JAWS: THE REVENGE – This time, it’s personal.

Now let’s look at a LOGLINE for the original JAWS movie:
After a series of horrifying shark attacks, a sheriff fights to safeguard his small seaside community against the savage monster, despite a greedy town council.

See the difference? Little to no overlap between taglines and loglines.




THE PITCH goes by many names: pitch, elevator pitch, pitch blurb, book blurb, or blurb, but it always amounts to the same thing: a brief summary of your story, including the hook. Think of it as a extended logline. Love it, learn it, internalize it, and be sure you can communicate it in clear, concise, unrehearsed language in thirty seconds or less. 

Personally, I don’t like the use of the lone word “blurb” for the pitch, because it confuses the pitch blurb with the cover blurb (discussed below).



COVER BLURBS (sometimes referred to as blurbs or book blurbs, which leads to the confusion mentioned above) are testimonials – comments on an author’s work by others and usually printed on book cover/dust jacket, inside the front cover, and/or used for promotion.


Cover blurbs my favorite book: Barry Unsworth’s SACRED HUNGER



Now for a real life example. Below are the tagline, logline, and pitch for my manuscript, A TWIST OF HATE. Since I don’t write high concept, they’re not as exciting as JAWS, but it’s the best I can do:

Tagline for A TWIST OF HATE
You can’t change history to create a future.

Logline for A TWIST OF HATE
A Priceless legacy threatened by secrecy and revenge turns one man’s search for a stolen masterpiece into a test of friendship and a fight for family honor.

When his family’s priceless Cézanne disappears from a local museum, newly minted security consultant Del Miller leaves the investigation to the FBI. But that’s before an art dealer claims Del’s grandfather, a victim of the Nazi death camps, stole the masterpiece seventy years before. To find the truth, Del must travel through the secrets of his family’s past, a journey that leads from Nazi occupied France to present day San Francisco and betrayal.

Cover blurb for A TWIST OF HATE?
Hope to have one some day.

Next to synopses, pitches are my least favorite writing chore.

How about you? Do you enjoy writing pitches?

Have you ever pitched one-on-one to an editor or agent?