It’s hard to rate the importance of the back cover synopsis of your book. It is nearly as important as the cover. I say nearly because the cover is typically what catches readers’ eyes, but your synopsis is the second best tool you have to hold their attention. While this sounds like a fairly simple thing to write, for me it was one of the hardest parts about the entire writing process I did to publish my book.
The goal of your back cover is to build interest in the story, while at the same time not giving your whole story away in a nutshell. Your back cover should give enough information to give people a feel for what your book is about, but leave questions open that need to be answered. Otherwise, why read the book to find out what happens if you’ve already got the whole plot line spelled out on the back of the cover?
Even explaining this process is difficult to say nothing about condensing the elements of your story and making it into a hit movie preview for readers to check out before they decide to purchase your book. Initially I went over the book covers of the writers I loved to read, but even still after sharing my first attempts with my friends and coworkers I discovered I was missing something important to the entire process. While searching through the web I ran across an amazing blog that helped me learn this process titled: Miss Snark, Literary Agent http://misssnark.blogspot.de/search/label/Crapometer-synopsis .
Miss Snark doesn’t maintain her blog anymore. She is a Canadian Literary Agent who created this blog to help writers get through the minefield of the whole publishing process. She has a pre plethora of about the whole publishing process whether you’re trying to go the traditional publishing route or going about it on your own as an Indie Writer. What is really interesting is that she has had a number of new writers send in their synopsis to have her tell them if it makes the cut or not. She lists out all of the points that are good and digs into the problem areas with a stringent tongue. She’s not unduly cruel, but she’s doing her best to show you what Publishers and Literary Agents are looking for. Then she re-writes the sample given to her, in some cases, to how she would picture it should have been written.
While Miss Snark no longer offers this help, there is a huge amount of gems for anyone willing to dig in and go through the old posts to help tweak their style. Even then you will end up writing fifty synopsis before you getting something sounding like you want it to be and by that time you will have driven your friends and close acquaintance crazy with re-reading sample after sample. Even though this is a major pain and might take a month until you feel like you’ve gotten it right, it’s time well spent.
I would also limit your synopsis to be two hundred words or less. This is Amazon’s requirement for their Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. I figure that’s as good of number as any to keep you within the industry standard for a synopsis. Also from my experience more words then that just makes the writing difficult to read on the back cover of your book.
The first half month I tried writing this I kept summarizing my story, which is the LAST thing you want to do. Towards the second half of the month I started really creating something. I didn’t do it alone, but had a lot of help in determining what sounded good and what didn’t. I used my friends who liked Fantasy and Sci-Fi for this help and then compared what I wrote to the back covers of my favorite writers. What you see on Flight is the final result.
I have to start doing that process soon for Destiny, but I won’t do this until I hand this over to the DODEA Teachers who have volunteered to help me edit my manuscript. I’m sure I’ll be discuss this more in the near future, but for now I wanted to leave you with this advice from my own experiences.