A well-crafted summary of your book can serve many different purposes. Whether employed as a descriptor for potential agents and reviewers, or as a product description on an ebook site, writing a synopsis of your title is an essential aspect of generating interest. Typically the first exposure any reader will have to the work, nailing it is vitally important to the reception of your effort.
Here’s how to get it done properly.
Read Your Book
Yes—read your book. And right about now you’re saying, “This is ridiculous advice; I wrote it, I know exactly what’s in it.” And, well, you do. However, you know what’s in it from a writer’s perspective. To write a good synopsis, you need to get to know it from a reader’s perspective. This will enable you to speak in terms that will help generate sales. You want the synopsis to give someone just enough information to stimulate their interest, but leave them wanting to know more so they’ll pick up the book. As you’re reading, make note of “hooks” you can use to accomplish this.
Get Others to Read It Too
Enlist the services of someone you can count on to be objective. Ask them to tell you what they feel are the most significant aspects of the tome. Seeing it for the first time, they may have a different point of view. This gives you an opportunity to pick up on details you might have missed. You can also ask them to provide a testimonial to use if you’re considering how to sell ebooks on your own website.
Write a Draft Synopsis
You’re now ready to compose your first draft. Write in the tone your ideal reader tends to employ. This you will have gathered from your efforts to get to know your audience before you wrote the book. You want to get inside their heads so they can relate immediately and be intrigued. Employ three to five of the best hooks from the book—but again—being careful to not give away too much. The idea is to feed them just enough to get them to want more. Write with economy. Condense ideas into short, punchy sentences to ignite the reader’s imagination and compel them to read the book.
A Call to Action Is Essential
Your efforts will be wasted if you fail to include a compelling call to action. Always end your synopsis with a one- or two-sentence summation telling readers to buy the book. Be careful to avoid huckstering. You’re working to appeal to the sensibilities of an individual who loves to read. The best approach is with a sense of dignity appropriate to the audience of the book.
Read the Synopsis Again
Go back over it looking for embellishment opportunities. Punch up the language where appropriate. Expand upon ideas where you can and above all, make sure it fits into the format of the places it’s likely to run. For example, Amazon limits them to 4,000 characters—which works out to be roughly 1000 words. Frankly, that’s a bit on the long side. You want it short, punchy and to the point. Make sure the focus is the book and that the copy flows smoothly from idea to idea.
While it might sound like a simple task, you’ll want to approach writing a synopsis of your ebook in a very methodical fashion. You want to make sure every element is the best it can be. After all, this is the first exposure readers will have to something you’ve put a lot of time, expense and energy into producing.