What Is “Quirky”?

Today I worked on two blog posts before starting this one, but they were both on pretty serious subjects and, honestly, I have enough of a cold that they not only were getting me down, I simply couldn’t do them justice. And then the idea for this post popped into my head…

Not long into my novel writing career, I discovered I needed a tagline to describe my writing and express my brand. (What a “brand” is is a far more complicated topic, one I don’t want to tackle today.)  Since my first two published books were for young adults (teens), I started out with “Young Adult Christian fiction rippling with laughter, tears, & YES! moments.” I thought that was pretty accurate.

What it wasn’t was easy to remember. In fact, I had to go look for an old business card a minute ago because I couldn’t remember it now.

But there was another problem. Although none of my novels for adults had yet been published, I thought I should not only have something easier to remember (how I envy Brandilyn Collins’ “Seatbelt Suspense,” a tagline so special she actually registered it as hers), but also something that would work for both teen and adult books.

I thought coming up with the original tagline was challenging? Thinking of something unique that used only three or four words proved nearly impossible.

I couldn’t tell you how many words and combinations I tried before coming up with “Quirky inspirational fiction.” Fiction because I wanted readers to know that’s all I write (blog posts being the exception). Inspirational to assure readers that my writing is clean and positive; I opted against using Christian because I didn’t want to scare any potential readers off. Better to let them discover that inspirational means Christian while they’re enjoying my books.

But quirky? I frequently refer to WordWeb on my computer, and it defines quirky as “strikingly unconventional.” That’s good. But one of the synonyms is “kinky.” Not so good.

So why not whimsical? Whimsical implied humor, or at least I thought it did, and I believed it accurately described my books. But quirky was more descriptive.  After all, kinky was only one of the synonyms, and combining it with inspirational lessened the likelihood anyone would expect a kinky novel. So I stuck with quirky.

I was talking to several prospective agents at a writers conference last year, and doggone if both of them didn’t ask me to describe quirky. Well, I didn’t have a dictionary on me and I’m sure I bumbled my way through that answer somehow. Looking back, I assume I tried to differentiate between whimsical and quirky, but I have no idea what I told them.

Things worked out okay, though. I didn’t end up with either of them as an agent. Good thing. Why would I want an agent who doesn’t know what quirky means?

What do you think? About this or anything. And before you leave a comment, would you please pass the Kleenex? *G*


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