6 Steps to Writing a Knockout Book Synopsis

17 Mar, 2017 Book Writing

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A synopsis is a brief summary or survey of your book. It’s usually found on the inside jacket or back cover.

The synopsis should give your reader a pretty good understanding of what your book is about, what its value is and draw them in enough to make a purchase.

The importance of a book synopsis can’t be underestimated — a good synopsis is the difference between purchasing your book and putting it back on the shelf.

1. Identify the Major Points of Each Chapter/Section

Narrow down the core message of each chapter to a sentence or few short phrases. If you’ve partitioned your book appropriately, this should be the easy part!

Later we’ll talk about how to string them together and create a coherent summary

2. Tell the Reader What Problem You’re Addressing

Your book serves a particular purpose: what is it?

Your reader should quickly be able to understand the problem your book will solve or solution you endeavor to offer.

Don’t give away the solution — there should still be an air of mystery, so the reader has incentive and intrigue to purchase your book.

At the same time, don’t be too elusive otherwise, your reader won’t know what your book is about and thus not see the value.

3. Focus on an Over-Arching Theme

Circle back to step one. Can you identify a common theme among each major point?

Identify the core theme of your book, then simplify it to one or two sentences. If you’re familiar with social media, think of Twitter, where you’re only allowed a limited number of characters per tweet.

The same goes for your synopsis: it should be descriptive enough to engage the reader, yet brief enough to land on the back cover of your book.

4. Write a Longer Version, Then Edit It

Create a first draft; let yourself go and write a synopsis as long as you like.

Now you’ve got a great starting point to begin parsing it down. Look at what you’ve written and ask what can stay, what can go and what can be shortened.

Look for filler or repeating words. Did you repeat the same idea or theme more than once?

5. Go to a Bookstore and Do Some Research

Consider it market research. Peruse the aisles and pick up any book that catches your fancy (this is also great cover research!), read the synopsis and look at a few things:

  • Did it grab your attention?
  • If so, what in particular nabbed your interest?
  • If not, how long before you set the book down? You can even time yourself!

Look at books within your industry or niche to see what type of language similar authors are using.

The average attention span to grab a reader’s attention is only a handful of SECONDS. That means, to keep their interest, you’ve got to nail the first couple of lines.

In fact, the first sentence of your synopsis is the most important of all.

6. Use Appropriate Language

When it comes to word choice, your synopsis should follow the same guidelines as your book. If your aim is to inspire your reader, do so in the very first sentence.

If your goal is to solve a problem or show your expertise, offer a tidbit which proves you are the EXPERT.

Don’t forget; your synopsis should bait and hook your reader. Once they’re hooked, they’ll reel themselves in by purchasing your book.

Check out an example:

In six simple steps, you’ll learn how to write an effective book synopsis encompassing your book theme and offering intrigue to your reader.

A strong synopsis is the difference between purchasing your book and putting it back on the shelf.

Six steps — that’s all it takes to write a knockout synopsis. You’ll have your book hitting newsstands in no time at all!

What do you think? Did we hit the nail on the head? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Steps to Writing a Knockout Book Synopsis
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A strong synopsis is the difference between purchasing your book and putting it back on the shelf. Six steps -- that’s all it takes to write a knockout synopsis. You’ll have your book hitting newsstands in no time at all!
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2 responses to “6 Steps to Writing a Knockout Book Synopsis”

  1. Becky Wright says:

    Thank you for this, Michelle! Although I’m working on 3 very different types of books, my first one will be a devotional. My chlenve will be to convey WHY and how this book will help transform readers’ lives (by practical and transparent application of biblical wisdom), without implying that I “know it all”. Advice?

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