Writing a Synopsis

Between your covering letter and synopsis you should have informed the publisher on what the book is about, who it’s aimed at, why it should be published, it’s length, completion date, if, or where, you have been previously published, any other relevant information. Your synopsis should cover the following points:

Writing a Synopsis

  • Elevator pitch. Before writing a synopsis it is important to master the elevator pitch – the idea in which you are in a lift with a very important person and just have three floors in which to describe your book. You want to get the vital points across in order to intrigue and inform your editor, while still keeping it within a page or two. Practice this discipline before sending anything out.
  • Keep it brief. While all editors may seek out different information from plot summaries and synopses, its best to err on the side of brevity than to risk the chance of putting off editors with a long-winded and overly detailed description of your book. A publisher can always ask for a fuller synopsis at a later date.
  • Cover all the bases. As a general rule, your synopsis should include: a brief description of the book, an outline of characters, a brief chapter by chapter summary (if that’s your writing style), a summary of you and your work to date, and any other relevant details regarding your manuscript. Write within this framework and you will find yourself on the right track.

Next Friday we’ll be covering The Art of Pitching, before taking a quick break for the seasonal holidays. Don’t forget that you can request tips or guidance on specific topics; just leave a Comment and we’ll do our best to help!

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