My Twisted Writer Brain…

Building Your Brand and Tag Lines. Why It’s Imperative to Identify the Genre and Sub-Genre of Your Work.

When you begin your writing career it can be enough to write just for the sake of getting it done, but that changes when you start thinking about marketing.

If you’re going to publish your book and want to build a brand then you need to look at your work, answer some tough questions, and decide how you want the public to see you.

First and foremost, you must be able to identify the genre of your work. While you may be able to identify your work as fiction or nonfiction that doesn’t tell the reader much, does it?

Here is a list of genres from Wikipedia … And really it’s the sub-genres that you want to look at.

So if your book is fiction, what kind of fiction? is it a romance? is it Christian? is it erotica? is it young adult? coming of age?

You can see how many different types of identifiers you can put on your genre.

Work through carefully and try and pinpoint where your writing fits in.

Who Cares About the Sub-Genre?

Your reader does–so do agents and publishers.

Heck, I do.

Sometimes the cover description tells more about the story and doesn’t necessarily pinpoint the sub-genre.

No one wants to waste money or order a book on line only to have it arrive and not be what was expected. That could end up in a negative review.

So beyond “fiction” and the “obvious” genre–like romance, thriller etc., what else is important?


  • level of sex in romance
  • is there a religious slant?
  • what age group is it aimed at? YA? NA?
  • is it gory?
  • is a sub-culture involved? Goth? old Hollywood?
  • LGBTQ?
  • is it nerdy and academic?
  • is it a girl slasher story?
  • would your grandmother read your book?
  • is there a cultural slant or influence?
  • is it innocent or illicit?
  • full of angst, issues, and rage?
  • contemporary or historical?
  • women’s fiction–story is about a woman’s life, issues, or both–leans literary
  • how old is the protagonist? 25? Female? is it ChickLit?
  • is the story based around a political issue? or question?

You can see now how important it is to identify your work as best you can.

So you may have written a book that is Fiction- Young Adult Christian Romance.

Wow….that’s a lot more information for the reader and will help your book find the correct readers and vice versa.

What’s a Tag Line?

This is a very short branding tool, or slogan, that identifies the product within.

Whoa, that sounds pretty darn good doesn’t it?

We hear tag lines all the time in ads. Think about it….

  • McDonald’s: “I’m Lovin’ it”
  • Nike: “Just do it”
  • Subway: “Eat fresh”
  • KFC: “It’s finger lickin’ good”
  • Red Bull: “Red Bull gives you wings”
  • Loreal: “Because you’re worth it”
  • Mastercard: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.”

These popular brands are identifiable by their tag lines. They’re short, memorable, and even emotional.

Your tag line for your book should relate back to your fiction to illustrate what it contains.

How to Write Your Own Tag Line

Once you’ve identified the genre and sub-genre write a short paragraph about the overall emotional appeal of the book.

Now take that paragraph and rewrite it with 50% less words. And then again–until you’re down to one line and the true essence of what the book is.

Play with the words.

Let the words roll around.

Think about the sounds and syllables.

Consider alliteration or single words spaced by (.) periods. That. Can. Be. Very. Effective.

Here is the tag line of my blog:

My Twisted Writer BrainA journey of discovery through the quagmire of random thoughts that never stop.

(I actually should update that as it’s a bit long–hmm)

The tag line tells you what to expect and what not to expect.

For my blog, things are “random”. It’s about “discovery” and a mishmash of “thoughts”.

If anyone came to my blog seeking literary genius, I’d refer them back to my tag line.

Making Your Own Tag Line

Make a list of words that describe the inside workings of YOUR book.

Is it:

  • sweet
  • innocent
  • confused
  • coming of age
  • the genre
  • the sub-genre
  • strong
  • fiesty
  • soft
  • delicate
  • searching

Use your imagination. Use a thesaurus. Now get rid of the ones that don’t speak to you.

You’re going to go back to that one line you wrote that encapsulates the book and add some description if necessary.

An “innocent romance” suggests no graphic sex or thoughts, a “confused” teen suggests a contemporary teen issue leaning. Use the words sparingly and thoughtfully.

Play with it. Rewrite it. Make it your own and reflective of your work.

You can have one tag line for your blog or website and another for each of your books or projects. Doing a tag line to describe a body of work is great because then the reader or buyer knows what to expect. Take the same steps as above and relate them back to who you are as a person, brand, writer.

Good Luck. You got this.

Let me know how it goes.

Happy Writing.

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