The Book Synopsis vs. The Book Description

Fallen Medicine: A Nurse's Dark Journey Through Ptsd, Drug Abuse and Sexual Addiction

This fascinating story of a nurse suffering from PTSD was a collaboration between D. F. Thompson and Mark Graham Communications.

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.