Writing a synopsis is what you use to sell your vision of your book to agents and traditional publishers. When they read your synopsis they are looking for a unique twist, a new voice, a different perspective – something that is genuinely new to this world. As such, they need to know why your book will captivate the readers.

To help you understand the requirements of a good synopsis we list below some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to writing your synopsis. Here goes:

DO: Describe what the reader benefits are, and what the takeaways are (relates especially to non-fiction).

DO: Outline the plot to the very end – do not leave out any surprises. If you want them to publish your book they really need to know the end.

DO: Explain the main character(s) journey, showing how they grow/change (applies more to fiction).

DO: Write your synopsis in the third person.

Now for the opposites:

DO NOT: Explain why you have written this book. They are not interested in personal details at this point. You may be asked if the book is taken up.

DO NOT: Fill it with hyperbole unless you can back it up. You may describe it as amazing, but be prepared to explain exactly why is it amazing.

DO NOT: Say the book is for 'everyone.' Believe you me, there is no book published that is suitable or liked by everyone. All readers come at a story from a different viewpoint and, where fiction is concerned, with different emotions and experiences.

Next, make a note to do the following:

> Sum up the book in one catchy sentence. If you can create a sentence that catches the feel of your story it will go a long way to impressing the relevance of the book.

> Who is the core type of reader for this book? You must be aware of who you are writing this book for. Take care to research and make sure you describe them fully.

> What problem does the book solve? There will always be a problem or conflict within the storyline. The question is being able to show this in your synopsis.

> Why is it unique/different? Now, this can be difficult to answer. To write what makes your book different from anyone else's means first you must believe in it. If you believe then that will show in what you write. Give this much thought before answering.

And finally,

> ONLY, and I mean only, if it is important, explain why you wrote the book. If it is non-fiction then it is probably easier to respond to this, However, when it comes to fiction it is a far harder element to cover. So, beware that you only write about it if it is absolutely relevant.

To conclude.

A synopsis, unless otherwise stated on the agents or publishers submission details will have a word count of between 500 and 700 words only. Always, always, check the submission details thoroughly.

Submitting your synopsis.

So, having written your synopsis, carefully edit it, then put it away for a few days and forget about it. Like all first drafts in writing, it will probably be incorrect. Meaning, that when you return to read it you will find elements of it that need to be changed. So do that. Then leave it again for a couple of more days.

In the meantime don’t forget to double-check the specific and individual agents or publishers' submission requirements. If you fail to comply with them then your synopsis will, more than likely, disappear into the ether. Once you have done all this you can submit.

But remember, the submission must be concise, punchy, and compelling for the agent or publisher to take it on and not turn it down. Good luck.

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