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

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What is Fantasy Fiction?

If you read a lot in the genre, recognising a book or film as “fantasy fiction” is probably something innate and automatic. However, if you’re not familiar with it, or if you’ve wondered where the lines are drawn, a definition might help to clarify things.

But how do you define something as slippery and changeable as a genre? Continue reading

How Many Pages Do You Read Before Giving Up On a Book?

Anyone who reads regularly will be familiar with that feeling of struggling through the first pages or chapters of a book, pushing on because you’re waiting to see if it will get interesting. At some point the book either gets better and grabs your interest, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, you have two options:

1) force yourself to read a whole book you’re not enjoying, or
2) give up and start a different book.

Believe it or not, when I was younger I always selected option 1. Continue reading

Fantasy and Optimism: What’s the Use of a Happy Ending?

For me, happy endings have always been one of the biggest draw cards of fantasy fiction. However, I didn’t really place any significance on them till I was listening to a TED talk about gaming.

In this TED talk, game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal discusses the countless hours that are invested by humanity worldwide in playing video games every week.  Continue reading

Epic Fantasy Novels and Long Beginnings

It’s been a while since I’ve read a typical epic fantasy novel. I’ve been caught up in the realm of fantasy romance and science fiction, and only recently found myself returning to a more old-school breed of fantasy when I picked up Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind.

I’m about halfway through it and am really enjoying it so far, but reading it reminds me of the love-hate relationship I have with epic fantasy. This relationship is largely caused by one thing: beginnings. Continue reading