Book Synopsis: Write One that Sells

Book Synopsis How to Sell More Books

Selling Your Book Once Your Mom and Friends all Bought

OK, you got your book done. Edited. Up at KDP and CreateSpace. Your mom bought it. A few of your Facebook friends picked it up as well. (What’s with Doris? She is such a cheapskate! Couldn’t part with $2.99 and asked for a “complementary” version. Just unfriend her, she’s kinda a bitch anyway.)

To sell your book effectively, you want to do many things: Get people to help you promote, get “noticed” on Amazon as a best seller in your category, get placed in bookstores like a “real” book. One of the first things, however, is to create a synopsis or “blurb” for the back cover and for Amazon’s description.

Your Synopsis Should Be Carefully Thought Out

For many self-published authors, the “blurb” is an afterthought, a necessary evil in putting up their book online. But you’re smarter than that, right? Yeah, I thought so.

Dr. Meg is in the process of publishing her fourth book. Over the last few days she has been writing and refining her synopsis. She even wrote a funny blog post about creating a book synopsis here.

Here is the blurb she settled on for her new book, Tainted Inheritance:

Why would anyone want to kill Olivia Sutton? Her life was finally coming together after her divorce. She's come into an unexpected inheritance, found new love with contractor Leo Donovan and made a fresh start in a new home. When she becomes the victim of one too many random accidents, she realizes a killer is stalking her. Has something in her past come back to haunt her? And can she and Leo discover the killer’s secret before it’s too late?

(If you click here, you can get a copy of the first few chapters of her book, pre-release…)

Let’s break this down to show you how to create a compelling synopsis for your own book.

Your synopsis or “blurb” should create a mystery in the mind of the prospective buyer that can only be answered by reading the book

Meg’s blurb does a good job of framing the main conflict in the story: Someone is trying to kill her and she has no clue why. She has to find out before it’s too late – before the killer succeeds.

When you write your own synopsis, you should look for what some people refer to as “open loops.” Humans’ brains are “programmed” to look for answers to mysteries. That’s why you keep seeing those headlines like:

“This Indiana man found one weird trick to curing hemorrhoids –
proctologists hate him!”

You think: “Hey, I have hemorrhoids, and I hate going to the proctologist! What could this simple trick be?” and you click the link.

If your book is about hemorrhoids, that might work for you. On the other hand, your book is probably a story about sparkling vampires who are also professional soccer (football) players or a sorcerer with an elf fetish (I don’t judge.) Your synopsis should summarize the major conflict of your book without giving the reader resolution.

In Meg’s case it would have been a mistake to end her blurb by saying “but she eventually figured it out and lived happily ever after.”

Your synopsis should appeal to the prospective reader’s interests

Know your intended audience. Think about things they are looking for in your story. (You already figured that out before you started writing, right? RIGHT?)

Meg’s readers are looking for a little romance along with a compelling mystery/thriller. Her synopsis has an extremely important single word: “Contractor.”

Olivia’s love interest is a contractor. When I think of a contractor, I think of a smelly, pot-bellied man who bends over and shows your his hairy butt crack. But that’s me. When it comes to romance novels written for women, they picture a guy with tan skin, tall, heavily muscled with a strong jaw – and maybe a beard.

That one word gives the prospective reader a picture of this hunky guy. Who, surprisingly, looks much like I do in real life (I know you were wondering.)

Your synopsis might want to define the genre

It’s clear from Meg’s blurb, her book is a thriller/mystery as well as has some romance. It doesn’t mention it’s present day. If your book is present day, you don’t have to say that in the blurb. But what if you are doing a different era or setting?

For example: If Meg were writing historical fiction and this was set in the Civil War, a reader interested in such would probably pass it over unless she mentions that. Likewise, if it were set in the “boom-boom” 80s, she might want to mention that as well. John Grisham writes about lawyers and mentions that in his blurbs.

If you are writing for a specific genre, make sure to mention it…

“In the times of swords and sorcery…”
“At the close of World War I…”
“Caught up in the world of BDSM…”

You get the idea.

What’s Your Synopsis? Write one or paste one you already have done below – you can even link to your book in the comments

So write your own synopsis (or pull one you’ve already written) and share it below along with a link to your book or blog…

Plus…Meg is giving you a sneak peek of her book – click here now to get it send to your email.




22 Comments on “Book Synopsis: Write One that Sells”

  1. Thanks, Kevin. Maybe we should just share a blog…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this! I am struggling with the blurb, everything I write either gives away too much or doesn’t give enough info to pique a reader’s interest!
    How long should a blurb be in general?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blurbs should be like a woman’s skirt: Revealing enough to provoke interest, long enough to make him want more.

      I know that’s not what you want to hear.

      In my experience (almost all non-fiction in my “other” life selling people’s books online), it’s important not to get too worried about length. Say what needs to be said then stop. The goal is to provide a promise (this is an exciting compelling story), prove the book delivers on the promise (give enough detail for them to see it might be compelling) the expect them to buy. You want to give them enough information to say “yes” without so much detail they find a reason to say “no.”

      Let me know if this makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm makes sense, I guess. Problem is, whatever I have written as a blurb or at least what I think will be the blurb is a few hundred words, is that enough? Every time I try to add something, it feels like I am giving too much away. Maybe, I am overthinking! I was thinking if I could share my blurb with you and Meg for inputs/thoughts? Would that be asking for too much? 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shorter is probably better. See my second reply above. I might add that to the post as well.

        And you can certainly share it with me and I’m sure Meg would feel the same.

        Liked by 1 person

    • One more thing…

      Part of the “proof” you can deliver is your bona fides. If you’ve written other books that have been successful or it is part of an ongoing series, put that in as well.

      “Rashmi is the author of the Amazon bestsellers ‘My Kid Drives Me Crazy: But I’m Not Dead Yet’ and ‘All Men Are Jerks Yet I Keep Dating Them'”

      That gives the reader a higher expectation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. maharedwynn says:

    So did you work with Meg on this book, too?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Without claiming it is amazing, here is one of my first blurbs: “Captain Jamie Starling died of a broken heart, and he’s not interested in repeating the experience. But when his ghost ship brings him to a beautiful lady with beautiful Dreams, he can’t help but get entangled in her and her fiancé’s lives. There’s also the small issue of his previous girlfriend, the cause of his death…” The book is called Haunting Helen and is available on Smashwords, BN, Amazon, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is great! And no hermaphrodite vampire-werewolf hybrids! Take a second to reply to this comment with links to your book’s pages or author pages so people can actually buy your book. It will probably go to spam first, but I’ll unspam it if it does.


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