Taglines, Teasers and Blurbs, Oh My!

I've been reading recently how these devices are used for promoting novels, movies, TV shows, even products like beer and insurance. I've participated in great discussions online about excerpts before, and learned a lot, but the other devices are important, too.

Blurbs, of course, are what you'd find on the back cover of a book. This one is from Sharyn McCrumb's The Songcatcher. "Folksinger Lark McCourry is haunted by the memory of a song. Passed down through generations, it carried her ancestors from a Scottish island, through the pages of American history, to western North Carolina. Over the years, though, the memory of the old song has dimmed and Lark's only hope of preserving the legacy lies in the mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, who talks to both the living and the dead."

Taglines are short, punchy, memorable. They don't tell much about the plot or characters. They're more thematic.  Some recognizable samples -- "In space, no one can hear you scream." "Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water." "Space. The final frontier." "The truth is out there." "You're in good hands with Allstate." "Great taste. Less filling."

Then, there are teasers -- very short (one or two sentence) summaries such as you might find in a TV Guide listing. Here are some examples taken from my Cox TV Guide:

From NCIS: "A murder prompts the reopening of one of Tony's old investigations, leading Gibbs and DiNozzo to reverse roles to solve the case."

From The Fugitive: "A U.S. marshal hunts a doctor on the run who was convicted of murdering his wife."

Househunters (on HGTV): "A former Navy flight instructor searches for a home with character in Savannah, Ga."

The Great Gatsby: "Jazz Age bootlegger learns the hard way about the wages of sin."

The Old Man and the Sea: "An old Cuban fisherman's dry spell is broken."

I've had writers tell me that these devices are more difficult to write than novels themselves, but if it doesn't come to you easily, it's just another one of those skills you'll have to develop. It was years before I developed good taglines, teasers and blurbs for Southern Man, but eventually, I got there. In fact, I managed to come up with several each for use in promoting the novel.

Taglines --

A story of love and betrayal in the sultry South
Chronicles the pernicious fallout of the sexual revolution
Reveals the dark underbelly of radical feminism.
Teasers --
"A family man is targeted with a false sexual harassment accusation by an amoral young woman and her uber-feminist mentor."

"A corporate executive is targeted with a false sexual harassment complaint by an amoral young woman and her uber-feminist mentor with harrowing consequences for himself and his family."
Blurbs --

Short (129 words)
In 1983, in moss-hung Verona, Georgia, the tender and tenacious love between a hardworking man and his adoring wife is tested by sudden adversity.
Corporate executive Troy Stevenson must confront his nasent alcohol abuse or he risks losing the wife, daughter and son he deeply loves. When his latent destructivness impacts his family, he moves to their weekend cottage to come to grips with his personal weaknesses.
Southern Man takes readers from the hills of Appalachia to the University of Alabama during the Paul "Bear" Bryant era; from staid New England to drug-drenched and sex-saturated Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love; from the glittering skyline of Atlanta to moss-hung south Georgia -- and reveals what can happen when a good man becomes the object of lust and the target of vengeance.
Long (173 words)
In 1972, they fell in love at first sight. He was a college football star -- good-looking and smart. She was sweet sixteen -- pretty, artless, chaste. A year later, Troy Stevenson and Patty Ayers were married.
But in 1983, in moss-hung Verona, Georgia, as they plan to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary, the tender and tenacious love between this hardworking man and his adoring wife is tested by sudden adversity.
Now a corporate executive, Troy must confront an old family secret that underlies his nascent alcohol abuse or he may lose his wife and the son and daughter he deeply loves. When his latent destructiveness is unleashed and impacts his family, he moves to their lakeside cottage to come to grips with his personal weaknesses.
But busybodies at his company assume he left home because his marriage is in trouble. Encouraged by the assumption, co-worker Brooke Emerson, an amoral, 1980s material girl romantically obsessed with Troy, attempts to seduce him, setting in motion a chain of events with harrowing consequences for him and his family.
I freely admit these aren't the best examples of taglines, teasers and blurbs, but considering that it hasn't been all that long ago that I was absolutely clueless about all three, I do believe I've made some progress.

And so can you! 

Writers, I'd love for you to leave samples of  your taglines, teasers and blurbs in the comments.