What Makes a Good Book Tagline?

A great tagline can help sell books and give readers an idea of what kind of story they’re picking up. However, titles, covers and blurbs play a much larger role in book marketing, so taglines (aka straplines or endlines in the UK) are rarely discussed. We’re more likely to associate them with the subtitles on movie posters or trailers, and most of us would be hard-pressed to quote the tagline of our favourite novel. In spite of this, I’d wager that at least one out of every two books you pick up will have a slogan or catchphrase that appears on its front or back cover.

So this week I’ve collected 20 stand-out taglines from various books on my shelf and analysed which ones I like, which ones I don’t, and why I believe they do or don’t do a good job of selling the novel. Continue reading

A Trip to Braavos and King’s Landing

I recently spent a week in Spain and made sure to fit in a day in Girona into my schedule. It’s a beautiful, ancient city with an impressive medieval wall, and it’s also got an airport with cheap flights to the rest of Europe… but I’d be lying if I pretended it was anything other than pure nerdy Game of Thrones fandom that peaked my interest. Continue reading

How My Dad Ended Up in a Potter Queue

Okay, so this is going to be a bit of a short post this week, but I wanted to write about something that happened to my dad recently because I found it amusing, and because Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday (in Australia anyway). Continue reading

The Most German Fairy Tales

Germany has long been considered a land of fairy tales. The Brothers Grimm collection of Märchen popularised the tales they collected here, and plenty of German villages, houses and forests look like they might have sprung straight out of a story book.

But having moved to Germany a little over a year ago, I’ve become more aware of the smaller ways in which the famous fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm reflect their cultural origins. For the first time, I can see evidence of the roots they sprung from in the world around me – roots I wouldn’t have noticed while in my Australian homeland. Continue reading

Why I’m Staying Right Here on Earth

For years science fiction has been making us consider what it might be like to travel through space, visit other planets and colonise them. But with the Mars One mission and Virgin Galactic space tourism, the question has become more personal. People can apply to join a one-way mission to Mars, agreeing to leave everything behind in the hope of becoming one of the first human colonists on another planet. Continue reading

How I Decide to Read a Book

Last week I listed the ways a book can get my attention. I looked at how things like awards, recommendations and online lists can help a novel to stand out from the crowd for me. However, once a book has my attention, it usually still needs to jump a few extra hurdles before it becomes something I want to buy and read.

So this week I thought I’d analyse all the little factors that come into play when I’m investigating a book to see if it’ll go onto the “to-read” list, or even straight into the shopping basket.  Continue reading

How a Book Gets My Attention

I’ve always been fascinated by how books are discovered – by how a person ends up finding and deciding to read a particular novel amidst the ever-growing sea of books swirling around them. Since starting to write myself I’ve become even more fascinated by this process, knowing I may one day have a book out there that I hope to get into readers’ hands.

Sadly I don’t have the expertise or the data to analyse how most people find the books they read. However, I do know my own habits and behaviours as a reader, so for interest’s sake I thought I’d take a look at how a book can stand out from the crowd for me and make it onto my “to-read” shelf. Continue reading

Ways of Measuring Time in High Fantasy

There’s no rule that says Fantasy authors have to avoid clocks and calendars when writing their fictional worlds. Many authors simply stick with seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years.

After all, the 24-hour clock and the Gregorian Calendar pre-date the Middle Ages, so if a fantasy is set on a medieval earth-like world and characters refer to hours and months, it won’t feel immediately anachronistic (though admittedly these measurements wouldn’t have been available in handy wristwatch or smart phone format). Continue reading

The Power of Competitions and Selections in YA Fiction

If a best-selling young adult novel sucks me in after only a few pages, it’s often because the book is wielding a secret weapon. Or rather, a not-so-secret weapon, because I’ve seen it many times before. And although I recognise it, it still has the power to peak my curiosity and get me rooting for a character I know next to nothing about. So what is this clever trope?

It has two components, and these usually form a kind of structuring device that shapes the plot and climactic points of the novel: Continue reading

Two Year Blogiversary

So my blogiversary came and went in May and I completely forgot about it. I’ve been blogging for two years now, though it feels like I’ve been at it for longer… maybe it’s because my memories of pre-blogging days have gotten a bit faded at the edges, or because I’ve had a lot happen in the past two years (including moving to a new country!)… or just because I just have a terribly distorted concept of time.

Regardless, it has been 2 years, so as I usually do on my blogiversary (well, I did it last year, so I may as well make a tradition out of it), I’ve put together a list of the most popular posts on Thoughts on Fantasy from the past 12 months: Continue reading