Authors: Use a Logline to Describe Your Book (screenwriters have been using them for years…)

Do you have a logline for your story? Screenwriters have been using loglines to sell their scripts for years. Authors can use them too.

LoglinesWait, what’s a logline?

A logline is the shortest good response to the prompt: “tell me about your book.”

Here is the definition from Wikipedia:

“a logline is a brief summary of a television program, film, or motion picture often providing both a synopsis of the program’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.”

And from scriptologist.com:

“A logline is a one-sentence summary of your script. It’s the short blurb in TV guides that tells you what a movie is about and helps you decide if you’re interested in seeing it. It’s the grabber that excites your interest.”

Here’s a logline example, for the movie E.T., from screenplayers.net:

“A shy, alienated boy bonds with an extraterrestrial child who’s been stranded on earth; the boy defies the adults to help the alien contact his mother ship so he can go home.”

Like many screenwriters’ tools, loglines can be very useful for authors, who can use them (just like screenwriters) to:

  • Describe their book when pitching.
  • Maintain focus when writing the manuscript.

Prepare Your Logline for the Willamette Writers Conference

The Willamette Writers Conference is coming up real soon (August 12-14). As you may know, lots of pitching goes on at the conference, and even if you’re not planning to pitch, the “what’s your book about?” question comes up often enough. Better have a short pitch ready!

How to Write Your Logline?

Here are some resources that will help:

Get Feedback on Your Logline

Try out your shiny new logline before you use it under fire in the pitching room. Here’s more from scriptologist.com on how to get good feedback:

“Read it [the logline] to your friends, your family, fellow writers. Find out if they’re intrigued by the logline and want to know more. Getting feedback from others is important. It tells you if you’re on track or if you have to go back and rewrite.”

And that’s it. You’re ready. Go pitch!

Orit Ofri

Orit Ofri

Orit Ofri serves as the president and chair of the board of Willamette Writers. She leads the organization’s strategic planning, oversees its programs and operations, and is the digital media manager for the organization, leading Willamette Writers's social media, web publishing, and more. As a software engineer and an MBA, Orit works with small businesses, nonprofits, writers, and creative professionals on marketing, strategy, online presence, and business planning. When working with writers, Orit focuses on discovering the writer's brand and building effective and personalized online presence that enhances each writer’s career path and fits the writer’s skill-set and aspirations. Visit oritofri.com for more or Contact her.