Writing a good summary of your book is not only possible but also necessary if you want to convince readers to go further and buy it! Along with cover, title and price, it is the fourth key element of your author marketing strategy.
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Once you’ve finalized your novel, don’t jump right into writing the synopsis. It’s tempting to start right away, the story is still fresh in your head. But you will need hindsight to write it without saying too much. Your first objective: get out of your author’s skin to put yourself in that of your future readers. Indeed, to be effective, you must write your summary by putting yourself in the shoes of your readers. To do this, put away your manuscript, forget it for 48 hours and go for a walk! It is with a fresh look that you will then approach the writing of your summary.
Why do readers read Summarize? To know if the story of the book makes them want, if the style of the author pleases them and of course, if they will buy the book. Pay particular attention to the beginning of your summary, its catchphrase. The first line should be punchy and make you want to read more. The first words must challenge the reader, either by questioning him or by intriguing him. To do this, forget long sentences or overly descriptive sentences.
The solution: a quote from your text, a context, the introduction of the main character can be good options.
After reading your summary, the reader needs to know if the book is likely to be right for them. He must immediately identify the type of book in question (thriller, adventure, romance novel, etc.) to know the tone and the emotions it will give him. Then, highlight the strengths of your book, its distinctive elements: suspense, disturbing or endearing character, original context, humorous tone… What makes your novel unique and interesting for the reader?
To write an effective book summary, don’t just tell, analyze. Indicate to the reader the function of the book (to make people laugh, move, frighten…) or the audience for which it is intended or the references … For this, you can use readers’ opinions as selling points: if you have already had feedback on your book, for example from beta readers, do not hesitate to place one or two at the end of your summary.
However, be careful not to make false promises! If there is no suspense in the book, no need to invent any, there are other ways to inspire readers. Moreover, you will disappoint their expectations and they may leave bad feedback.
This is the difficult balance of the summary. It should say enough about your book, without revealing everything to the reader. Take care of your surprise effects, but don’t be too mysterious either: you risk missing your target.
A good technique to go to the essential is to use the 5 W of the journalist (or in French: QQOQP). The abstract should answer the following questions:
-who/who is the main character (or the characters if there are several);
-what/quoi, i.e. what is the subject of the book or the quest of the main character;
-where/where, in which universe, country, region the action takes place;
-when/quand your story takes place;
-why/pourquoi, that is to say the issues related to the story.
Obviously, a good summary will evoke these different aspects in a roundabout way, putting the reader in the mood. Think of your summary as if you had to say it to someone in a living room to make them want to read your book.