What Is a Synopsis

Glossary > Synopsis

💬 Definition of Synopsis:

A book synopsis is a summary of your novel from start to finish. It's part of a book proposal and includes an outline of the main plot, main characters, plot twists, and the ending. An agent or publisher needs a synopsis to decide if the book has potential and whether they should represent the author.

Related questions about a synopsis:

What is the purpose of a synopsis?

A synopsis is meant to capture the interest of literary agents and publishers by giving them a clear understanding of what the book is about.

It also helps the authors to check the structure of the novel. By outlining the plot and characters, authors can spot the weak points and fix them before it hits the market. 

What is the difference between a synopsis and other terms referring to a book summary?

There are a few terms referring to a book's summary that are sometimes used interchangeably, and it may confuse you. They all have a few differences.

We saw what a synopsis is, but we should also define the other terms.

  • Summary: A summary is a concise recap of the main points and events in a story. It highlights the most important aspects and provides a quick overview of a story's content. They are typically brief and focus on capturing the essence of the story without delving into extensive details.
  • Blurb: A blurb is a short and concise promotional text on the back cover or inside flap of a book. Its purpose is to grab the reader's attention and convince them to read the book. A blurb typically includes a brief story overview, introduces the main characters or themes, and creates intrigue or excitement around the book's content.
  • Elevator pitch: An elevator pitch is a few-sentence long book summary that can be delivered within a short elevator ride. The goal is to make a memorable impression.

How long is a book synopsis?

Many agents have specific guidelines when it comes to a synopsis word count. However, a synopsis is generally between 500 and 800 words.

What should a book synopsis include?

There are five elements every book synopsis should include:

  1. The premise of your book – theme, setting, conflict 
  2. An overview of the main plot
  3. A brief description of your main characters
  4. An overview of the major subplots
  5. Your unique selling proposition

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