Blurbs and Synopsis

Great Blue Heron trying to eat fish

Great Blue Heron trying to eat fish

A question to authors out there.

I have made it no secret that I am working on my novel, The Halley Branch.  I am taking it easy between drafts right now, but I am trying to get other things done.  One thing I recently did was write a blurb.  I see the blurb as something that can be on the book cover and on the Amazon site.  This gives an idea of what the book is about.  It is just under 160 words.  Short but sweet.

Do I need more of a synopsis?  If so, what do I use it for?  How long should it be?  I started writing one, but wasn’t sure how much detail to go into.  I was at about the 160 words of the blurb and had barely gone beyond the first few chapters, the set up.  Also, the more I go into the synopsis, the drier it seems.  The story should be exciting, and i hope is!  But the synopsis?  So far it is dull.

What do you think?  Is the blurb enough or do I need a good synopsis?  If I do need a synopsis, what is a good length?  And why do I need it?

Slowly learning how things work… Thanks!

(The photo at the top?  Just saying the bird bit off more than it could handle ;) )

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Blurbs and Synopsis

  1. Sandra Conner

    Short is actually the best rule — for every situation. People today are in a mind set that is fast-moving, and it’s always best to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. I remember one agent who required authors who queried her to provide a one-paragraph synopsis of the whole book, and the paragraph couldn’t exceed a half page. When I saw that requirement, I almost gave up on her, because my assumption was that I couldn’t sum up a 250-page novel in half a page. But I found out it can be done, and it’s worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      In ways that is a good exercise to ensure you really understand the novel. I agree that short is usually best, I’ve just seen a few longer ones recently and scratched my head over them. So the question. Thanks!

      Like

      Reply
  2. Marilyn Armstrong

    You need a blurb. Actually, you need two — one at about 100 words and another at around 300. You also need single page explanation of the book, where it fits in the world of new books. It needs to have a clear, understandable description of the story that will appeal to people who don’t know you or follow you.

    AND you need a few chapters, INCLUDING the first one — three is the usual number.

    And brush up on publishing buzzwords du jour.

    I was terrible at this. Maybe you will do better. But the reality is — you have to do it. Unless you have the money to hire someone to do it for you, you aren’t just a writer. You are a promotional agency for your work. Can you imagine Faulkner or Hemingway or Thomas Wolfe doing this? Boggles the mind. On the other hand, Dickens was VERY good at it as was Twain.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I am an awful promoter. Something I’ve been trying to improve, but…

      I did a lot of research while I was shopping The Fireborn, or planning on shopping it around, since I did a lot more planning than actual shopping. I have seen a lot of the things that were talked about, many that you mentioned, for using when talking to an agent, but it was never clear to me how they can be used for self-publishing. For instance, for the synopsis part, I read that one is needed when trying to find an agent or publisher, but I’ve never seen where it would fit other than that. And I have seen different requirements for non-fiction vs. fiction.

      All of that being said, I get what you are saying in that a publicity kit needs to be created before the book goes out. The proper tools are needed to sell the idea and the book to the target audience, even if we are skipping traditional agent/publisher world.

      If I self-publish (about 80% sure), it will be in about 6 months. Hopefully that will give me time to get everything together.

      Thanks!

      Like

      Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yeah, I think I’ll stick with just a blurb. Maybe have the synopsis ready for just in case, but the blurb should be good.

      That Great Blue was full of good analogies today, wasn’t it :)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. D. Wallace Peach

    I’m not an expert on this, Trent, but here are my two cents… for a back cover blurb, 160 words is just fine. It will fit without looking crowded and it’s short enough that someone browsing will take the time to read it. I tend to write a longer version of a blurb for the Amazon site description. They give you a lot of space, so I include more detail about the book, more description about setting, characters, goals, obstacles, etc, all of it focused on getting hooks into the reader. And without giving away too much!

    Synopses are often requested by agents when you query. They want the whole story including the ending. Stuffing a whole book into a couple pages is hard, but infusing personality into it at the cost of some detail has gotten better results for me than a drier detailed version. If you aren’t querying, then you shouldn’t need this. That’s my understanding anyway. Hope that helps. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Actually, I consider you an expert since you have experience in both traditional and self publishing. At least much more of an expert than me…

      I may send a few query letters out and so will be prepared for a synopsis if someone bites, but am 90% sure this will be self published. I’ll think about a slightly longer version for Amazon but won’t worry if I end up with the short version.

      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. prior..

    HI – I do not have any suggestions for your question (not my area) but had to say best wishes and I also love the photo – and actually Trent – that bird will likely do just fine with the fish – it just looks too big -but once he breaks it down into parts and takes his time = well it is manageable and wonderful (get the analogy)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks Prior. I love the photo too – I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to get it. Actually, the Great Blue gave up on the fish. I think it was dead already when he picked it up (the bird landed and picked the fish up without a struggle), so possibly it was too far gone and (s)he decided not to. (S)He played with it for several minutes, gave it one try, spit it out and then left.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Lol, I wasn’t thinking about your analogy when I wrote that. I know I didn’t bite off more than I could chew, but I wanted an excuse to repost this photo ;) The bird landed maybe 20 or 30 feet away and played with the fish for almost 5 minutes, so I got quite a few photos. There was a branch in the way for most of them, but it finally moved out to deeper water, away from shore and branch, and I was able to get a few as it gave it’s last mighty try at it.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  5. monsterinthecookiejar

    As a reader and writer, I prefer a short blurb. If it’s a long one, then why do I need to buy the book? That’s just my way of looking at it. However; I have author friends who write LONG ones. Drives me nuts, but that’s their thing.

    If it seems dry, maybe shorten it :)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I usually like just a short blurb, too. A few times recently I have read book reviews that started off with a 1000 word synopsis taken from Goodreads. I don’t want to do that unless I have to! Thanks for your input!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Lol, I get what you are saying. I don’t mean on the cover, but like a synopsis on Goodreads or something, beyond the short blurb. I think the blurb might be fine, I have just seen the longer form a few times recently and had to think about it…

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply

Express Yourself

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s