Your book’s cover and title are the most important selling features. They combine to differentiate your work from the hundreds of others on the bookstore shelf or the Amazon list. If you use a tagline, that will be the next attribute a prospective buyer will scan. If he likes what he sees, his eye will next move to the synopsis, the paragraph or two that summarizes the book.
But your synopsis serves as much more than a book summary – it must use language that makes the story appealing. The best ones say a little about the plotline…but not too much; they evoke an emotional response…that draws the reader in and doesn’t turn her off; they are written clearly, concisely and succinctly…but with powerful language. It’s not easy.
Before you write your synopsis, read others and make a list of what you like and dislike about them. Are they grammatical? Are they hard to follow? Do they say too much or too little about the story? Are you left feeling confused or drawn in? Now sit down and compose your best synopsis. Be sure to sell, not just tell.
Ask a friend or family member to read what you’ve composed and ask for an honest reaction. First, select people who haven’t read your book. What do they think your story is about? Would they fork over their hard-earned cash to buy it? Next, ask someone, such as your book’s editor, to read it. Does it adequately reflect the story’s best features? Is there room for improvement?
You may think this is a lot of effort for just a couple of paragraphs. It is, and it should be. After all, the synopsis serves as a sample of your writing. Make sure it’s your very best!