How to Write a Book Synopsis?

When approaching literary agents, you’ll want to include a query letter, a short book description, and a synopsis. That’s why you need to know how to write a book synopsis.

A synopsis is essential because it gets an agent interested in your work. It also helps them understand what they are getting into if they decide to represent you. Therefore, a synopsis must convey a book’s plot, characters, setting, tone, and theme.

Don’t confuse the synopsis with a sales pitch or the kind of promotional material that might appear on the back cover or inside the book. An overview is a summary of the story.

What is a Book Synopsis?

The word “synopsis” comes from the Greek word syn- (meaning together) and “opsis” (meaning sight). In other words, a synopsis is a condensed version of a larger piece of writing.

In publishing, a synopsis functions as a marketing tool for books. When submitting a manuscript to publishers, you must provide a synopsis. It is done by having someone else read the entire book and summarize its contents. The publisher may hire them, or they may volunteer their time.

If you have written a novel, you already know how much work it takes to create a complete-length book. You spend months or even years developing a detailed outline, researching topics, gathering information, and writing chapters. However, when it comes to writing a synopsis, all you need to do is condense this process into one paragraph.

If you don’t have a lot of experience writing a synopsis, you may find it challenging to create one that conveys the essence of your book. But there are some things you can do to make sure your synopsis is compelling.

First, start by reading sample synopses online. These samples will give you ideas about how to structure yours.

Second, remember that a good synopsis doesn’t just tell readers what happens in your book. Instead, it tells them why they should buy your book.

It means that your synopsis should explain the main themes. For example, if your book is about love, your summary should focus on romance, commitment, and trust.

Your synopsis should also describe the major conflicts within the story. Conflict is the driving force behind every great thriller, mystery, or romance. Conflict drives people to act.

Finally, your synopsis should clearly state the book’s genre. Most publishers require authors to specify whether their book is fiction or nonfiction.

For example, if your book is a crime novel, you could say something like:

“An exciting new series featuring a female detective.”

Or, if your book is science fiction, you could write:

“A Sci-Fi adventure about a young astronaut who must fight for her life on an unknown planet.”

Generally, a synopsis should be no more than one page long. You may write longer than this when you describe the main character’s personality traits, but keep it at one page for now.

The goal here is to give an overview of your book without giving away any spoilers. Don’t go into too much detail about the plot or the ending. Instead, focus on describing your protagonist and their journey.

Writing a Good Synopsis

Now that you know what a synopsis is and how to write one, let’s look at some tips for writing a compelling summary.

1. Keep It Short

When writing a synopsis, you want to get right to the point. Your goal isn’t to tell readers everything about your book. Instead, your job is to help them decide whether they’d enjoy reading it.

The best way to accomplish this is by keeping your synopsis brief. A short synopsis is easier to understand than a long one. A quick overview makes it easy for potential buyers to skim over your book.

2. Focus On What Readers Will Want To Know

When you read a synopsis, you’ll first notice that most writers try to include too many details. If you’re going to write an outline, you only need to cover the basics.

It would be best not to detail plot points, characters, settings, or other elements that aren’t directly related to your book. Instead, stick to the facts.

3. Include Key Themes And Characters

Your synopsis should contain two key components. First, you should highlight the theme(s) of your book. It includes the primary conflict and main character traits.

Second, you need to mention the essential subplots and supporting characters. Subplots are stories that occur during the action. Supporting characters play minor roles but still add depth to the story.

4. Use Action Words

If your synopsis contains many words describing events, you’ve probably written a boring one. Instead, use active verbs whenever possible.

If you can replace “the heroine was kidnapped” with “she was abducted,” you’ll make your synopsis more interesting.

Furthermore, always write the synopsis in the present tense and summarize key plot points.

5. Be Specific

Don’t just summarize the plot. It would be best if you also gave specific examples from the story. For instance, if your book involves a murder, don’t simply say that someone dies. Describe exactly how the victim died.

6. Avoid Using Exclamation Points

Exclamation points are essential in emphasizing a particular word or phrase. They’re often used to show excitement or surprise. But they have no place in a synopsis.

Instead, use simple language. If you do need to use an exclamation point, use it sparingly.

7. Don’t Overuse Emojis

Emojis are small images that appear next to the text on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. These symbols usually represent emotions.

Some people think emojis are good because they seem less formal than regular punctuation. However, these symbols are distracting.

8. Make Sure Your Summary is Easy to Understand

Your summary should be clear and concise. You may need to rework your synopsis if you struggle to explain your book.

9. Proofread Before Publishing

Once you’ve finished writing your synopsis, proofread it carefully before publishing it online. There’s nothing worse than having a lousy summary out there.

10. Keep it Short

A good rule of thumb is to keep your synopsis under 200 words. That means you won’t have to worry about formatting issues.

Essential Parts of a Book Synopsis

Here, you can read about the elements that every novel synopsis should include.

1. Characters

Ideally, you should mention the main characters somewhere in your synopsis. It helps readers get a feel for them. Remember that the protagonist and antagonist play an integral role in the story.

2. Conflict

The conflict occurs when the main character wants something. For the characters to achieve the goal, the characters must overcome obstacles. Describe each block and the central conflict in your synopsis.

If you’re struggling to create a wrenching conflict, Squibler’s AI features, such as Rewrite and Describe, are powerful tools for creating original conflicts for your novel. By using your characters as elements, you’ll generate events specific to your novel.

3. Narrative Arc

The narrative arc is a line connecting all of the significant turning points in the story. The first half of your synopsis should describe this arc’s beginning, middle, and end. Although the layers of your plot should be multiple, the hook should only contain two parts.

How to Write a Book Synopsis

Writing a synopsis isn’t tricky. All you need is some time and patience. Here are ten steps to help you write an excellent summary:

1. Choose a Genre

Choosing a genre is the most crucial step. You can look at different genres once you know what books you want to write.

If you’re unsure what your book genre is, Squibler provides genre templates to help jumpstart your novel.

2. Create a List of Potential Titles

After choosing a genre:

  1. Brainstorm potential titles for your book
  2. Try not to limit yourself by overthinking the title
  3. Let your imagination run wild
  4. Find inspiration

You might be surprised at where you find ideas for your synopsis. Look through old novels, magazines, newspapers, and even websites.

3. Start With the Plot

After you have a few ideas, create a basic plot outline. Think about how the story begins, ends, and moves between events.

4. Add Details

Now that you know your plot’s overall structure add more detail. Include everything from the setting to the characters.

Squibler is also great with creating the details that bring your book to life. For example, the “Ask Me Anything” feature is a powerful tool when you hit a creative wall and are unsure how to continue. Just ask Squibler and cherry-pick from the generated content.

5. Outline the Plot

Now that you have a rough plot idea, you can outline specific scenes. Each scene should follow the same format as the previous ones.

6. Fill in the Blanks

As you go along, fill in any gaps in your outline. You don’t necessarily have to use every word in your strategy; however, you should ensure that each sentence flows logically.

7. Rewrite

If you notice anything missing or confusing, rewrite the section until it makes sense. Remember, you can always edit later on if necessary.

8. Edit

Finally, once you’re satisfied with the quality of your work, publish it online.

9. Proofread

Proofreading is vital because typos and grammatical errors could ruin your entire synopsis. If using Microsoft Word, click the Review tab and select Spelling & Grammar. If you’re using Google Docs, click Publish.

Share it with friends and family once you’ve finished writing your synopsis. They may offer feedback that will improve your work.

Lastly, you can use Squibler’s Goal feature to create milestones, organize your writing process, and streamline the overall project.


Regardless of your experience, writing a synopsis can be challenging. However, following these steps will ensure your overview has a strong foundation. The Novel synopsis can help you understand the main characters from a third-person viewpoint. It is a literary agent for understanding major plot points and the story’s query letter.

The word count should cover a few pages to provide a brief summary of the plot twists. Sheck out writing sample options online for a story forward plot point and a compelling synopsis.

Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder and CEO of Squibler.