Everything You Wanted To Know About Writing a Synopsis (But Were Afraid To Ask!)

You’ve finally finished that novel. Many hours and many drafts later you’ve got a finished manuscript. The inevitable question – what’s next? Unless you’re content for your mother to be the only one who sees your masterpiece, you’ll be selling your book, perhaps through a literary agent. An essential tool to dodge the slush pile is the synopsis. Here’s your hot take on what that is, and why you need one:

1. What exactly is a synopsis? Isn’t it just a summary?

A synopsis is a summary, but one that performs a specific function. It tells your publisher precisely what your book is about.

2. How is a synopsis different to a blurb?

Unlike a blurb, that block of text on the back jacket, your synopsis needs some spoilers! It forms part of the submission pack that you’ll send to your publisher, including the manuscript itself and a covering letter about yourself

3. What should my synopsis include?

Your synopsis should be just one page: 500-800 words. It should list the major plot points that drive your book, in neutral language. Every main character and important scene should get a brief mention.

4. Why is it important?

Ultimately, the synopsis and covering letter will determine if your manuscript is actually read by someone who can publish it. They need to be professional and compelling.

When writing the synopsis for your manuscript, consider the above before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys!

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