I belong to a writing group. They’re a good group of folks and we’ve started to meet more frequently (from monthly to weekly) so we can get through more of our stories and people could hear the progression, etc. It’s been great in a lot of ways, but one of the downfalls is that there are a couple folks who feel they need to recap their entire story each week before launching into the new stuff.
I don’t mind so much when we’ve got new folks, but even then, people need to learn how to keep it concise and get on with it. This is were taglines, loglines or elevator pitches come in handy.
What’s the difference?
Elevator pitch: Imagine you’re waiting in an elevator to go to a meeting and the agent of your dreams walks in. It’s just the two of you and you have a few brief moments to pitch them your story and get them interested. You’re not trying to close the deal and get them to sign you, you’re trying to get them interested to want to know more. The pitch should be 30-60 seconds long and it should end with a “call to action” or a question so you know they were listening and gives them the opportunity to ask questions. Something along the lines of “Does this seem like something you’d be interested in representing?” could work.
Tagline: Whomever is doing your marketing tends to be the one to come up with the tagline. They are typically a short phrase to describe the plot. It’s a catch phrase to catch the attention of potential readers rather than an agent. Good example I found is for the movie Jaws: You’ll never go into the water again.
Logline: These are used to get the agent’s attention. They’re a one line synopsis that should tell what the story is about. For example (keeping with Jaws): A sheriff must find and destroy a killer shark that terrorizes a summer resort town.
Loglines are also handy for social media purposes, especially Twitter. They are short enough to get the already waning attention of those following you. Also, there are often contests running on Twitter that are based on your 140 character loglines. I’ve participated in a few and gotten agent requests to read my work.
In today’s society, people are used to a quick info dump. Everyone is in a hurry and are often distracted or (gasp!) bored before you get done explaining about your baby (aka manuscript). One of these short marketing ploys can help you gain their interest quickly and have them focusing their attention on you rather than the shiny thing moving past them in the other direction.
They can be difficult to come up with, but are a worthwhile endeavor. Go ahead and practice on me. What’s the logline for your work in progress or work you’re trying to pitch to agents?