Pretend you’re sending inquiries about your book to literary agents or publishers. Pretend you’re marketing your book on Amazon or GoodReads or Facebook. The former requires a synopsis of your book. The latter calls for a book description or book blurb meant to entice your readership.
Let’s begin by saying that a book synopsis and book description are not synonymous. There are differences, and authors like you and I would be well-served to know what the differences are.
At Mark Graham Communications, we are frequently asked to define the two. A synopsis gives a concise but entertaining summary of the plot of your novel, the events behind your biography, or the driving message behind your business book or self-help book. A well-written synopsis mirrors the voice, tone, and style of the actual book. A synopsis needs to grab the attention of the agent or publisher you’re querying and sell your idea. If it’s a novel or biography, you have a finite number of words to blow your reader away with regarding your plot and your characters. If it’s a business book or self-help book, you have the same limited number of words to sell the uniqueness of your message and why you are the right person to write such a book.
A book description – some people prefer the term book blurb – is shorter than your synopsis and does not give away the entire story or detail your whole premise. A book description is a selling tool. You are trying with 50-100 words to entice your audience to at least read a sample of your book and, hopefully, pluck down the money to buy the print book or ebook. A book blurb is an attention-grabber. If it doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, you need to start again.
Even the best writer understands the difficulty of writing an off-the-charts synopsis; it’s hard to capture everything about your story or message in a page or two. Every word has to “tell.” Every word has to drive home what is special about your book. A book description is just as tricky and just as important. Take the time that these two very essential pieces require. They are meant to do one thing: convince the reader of his or her desire to read your entire book.