When you’re working on a book, a book summary is handy. Here are two reasons:

  1. Your book summary keeps you focused as you write.  The summary can be a road map for you when you’re lost in the depths of the manuscript.  You sit back from your computer for a moment and ask, “Where am I going with this?”Write-book-summary-now and your book summary gives you a clue.  It’s especially helpful if you tend to wander off onto tangents when you write. Plus, as you review your work, you can check your chapters and paragraphs to see if they are congruent with your book’s overall message and intent.
  2. Your summary is how you introduce your book to potential publishers, reviewers, booksellers and readers. Besides your book’s cover, the summary is the most important element of your book’s presentation to the marketplace.  If it’s well written, reviewers, booksellers and readers will take another step towards your book.  It it’s poorly written, they’ll move on to something else.

    The book summary is used on your Amazon listing, in Bowker’s Books in Print, in your marketing materials like postcards, in press releases, in catalogue listings both print and online, on your website…anywhere and anytime you have the opportunity to promote your book.

NOTE: Book summaries can change!  If your book morphs into something different as you write it – as books often do – your book summary will just have to change along with it.  That’s okay.  You’re in a creative process so change is part of the game.

Not sure what a book summary is?  Here’s what you need to know:

  • A standard book summary or synopsis encapsulates the heart of what your book is about.  It’s straightforward and factual and can be one to three paragraphs or 250-500 words.
  • A book summary is used frequently for marketing purposes; in this context it’s often called a ‘blurb.’  This blurb must be genuinely enticing to potential readers or reviewers.  A book summary or blurb is often the foundation for the text on the back cover of your book.
  • A short summary – 25 words or so – is also your hook.  It’s an important one-liner that piques interest or not.

You’ll start using your book summary long before your book is finished, so it’s definitely worth writing yours now if you haven’t already. Write the long one first, writing as much as 1000 words if you need to. Then cut, cut, cut until you have a gem.  Extract the juiciest essence for your short hook.

Once you have a good book summary written, you’ll want to keep it handy.  It’s much easier to act on marketing opportunities when you have your summary ready to go.