What is the difference between a blurb and a synopsis? For some, especially newer, writers, the words blurb and synopsis may seem interchangeable, however, they serve very different purposes and each follows its own set of conventions. Therefore, it is important to understand the differences. Let’s go through them:
What purpose does a blurb serve?
A blurb’s purpose is to entice you to read the book so it should sum up the main aspects of the story without giving away anything that could spoil the reader’s enjoyment of it.
Where does a blurb appear?
The back cover of a book is the blurb’s home, or close by its digital image online.
To confuse things further, the brief quotes on the front of traditionally published books by well known authors giving their opinion of the book is also referred to as a blurb. These are often along the lines of “Compelling!” or “Utterly twisty!” and help promote and sell the book due to its association with the quoted author.
How long should a blurb be?
Your back cover blurb needs to be succinct as there isn’t a lot of space on the back of a book! Around 150-200 words is the usual length. Writing a blurb is a great test of an author’s skill in summing up and selling the premise of their book.
What information should a blurb contain?
As its purpose is to pique the reader’s interest, your blurb needs to reveal enough of the story to reassure the reader it’s a story they want to read, without giving away any essential plot points that render reading the book to find out what happened pointless! Think of a blurb as a film or Netflix trailer – you want your readers to think ‘this book sounds right up my street’ and buy (or borrow it from a library) there and then. Reedsy has some great tips for writing a book blurb that sells.
What purpose does a synopsis serve?
The purpose of a synopsis is to outline your complete story, including any spoilers. Agents and publishers usually require a synopsis, along with the first three chapters of your novel (although always check submission guidelines carefully), during the querying process. Querying is simply sending off your manuscript(s) to your chosen agent(s) and/or publisher(s) in the hope of becoming a traditionally published author. As agents and publishers see many, many synopses, yours needs to be well written and intriguing enough for them to want to invest in you and your book idea.
Where does a synopsis appear?
A synopsis does not appear on or within your book but, as stated above, is usually written to send to agents or publishers when querying your novel. In the self publishing arena, book cover designers or book marketing professionals, should you choose to work with them, may also ask to read a synopsis of your book, to give them a good idea of your story and help them to do their job well for you.
How long should a synopsis be?
A synopsis is usually between 500-1000 words, but definitely no more than 2 pages long. Always check agents’ and publishers’ guidelines before submitting. A synopsis is a detailed summary which should be clear and concise without being waffly!
What information should a synopsis contain?
Your synopsis needs to include everything that happens in your novel. A synopsis doesn’t need to sell or promote in the same way a blurb does, but it does need to state the events in the story in a logical, easy to read narrative. Jericho Writers has some great tips for writing a synopsis for a novel.
Now you know the difference between a blurb and a synopsis!
A-Z of Storytelling Techniques for Authors is available to buy or borrow now! Get it here.
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