Posts Tagged ‘synopsis’
If you think writing a synopsis for your manuscript submission to TLC is difficult, try minimizing it to just a book blurb. Before becoming an assessor for The Literary Consultancy, Tom Bromley worked as a copywriter for Little, Brown, producing countless blurbs for books of all genres. Free Word‘s interview with Tom about the delicate art of writing book blurbs, explores the positives and negatives of reducing a book to a few sentences.
“One thing I found is that the better the book is, the fewer superlatives that you use. You always knew when a book wasn’t up to much because you’d find yourself saying ‘fascinating’, ‘extraordinary’, ‘remarkable’ and all of these kind of words. The one I always tried to avoid using was ‘absorbing’ – it’s a terrible word and always reminds me of a sponge or something…”
Click here to read the full interview.
Rebecca Swift’s article on how to write a synopsis originally appeared in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, 2009.
Writing a synopsis
The dictionary definition of ‘synopsis’ (derived from the Ancient Greek meaning) is ‘a brief description of the contents of something’.
The purpose of a synopsis is to inform a literary agent or publisher of the type of book you are writing/have written in a concise, appealing fashion, conveying that you are in command of your subject matter. If you want your manuscript to be given serious consideration, a good synopsis is a crucial part of your submission.
The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook will inform you that most publishing houses no longer accept direct submissions but those that do (usually the smaller houses) will usually ask for a cover letter, synopsis and sample chapters rather than a whole work in the first instance. The same applies to literary agents. To put it simply, the sample chapters are to show how you write, and the synopsis is to tell the reader what happens when they have finished reading them. This will help inform the publisher/literary agent whether they think it is worth their while to read more. Then, if they do want to read more, they will ask you.
So, the bottom line is this – if you want to have your manuscript read in its entirety you must invest time in getting your cover letter and book synopsis right. I know from my experiences at TLC that many writers can get disconcerted and nervous by having to produce a synopsis and there are usually two reasons why.
To read the rest of the article, please click here.