Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Synopsis

Lately I’ve received a number of submissions that did not include the synopsis I requested. In some cases, the author sent the entire manuscript claiming the synopsis was too hard to write so it was skipped. In other cases the authors sent sample chapters and simply ignored my request for the synopsis.

I know a synopsis is a pain to write; I do realize that, and many times I don’t even read the synopsis. That being said, it’s still a very important piece of your submission package. There are times when I’m reading a submission and concerned that the book is heading off in the wrong direction, in a way that doesn’t make sense, and checking the synopsis can clarify that for me; it can also clarify whether or not I should continue reading. Maybe I see that the book needs extensive edits, but reading the synopsis can confirm that overall it’s going in the right direction.

If I look to a synopsis for clarification and it’s not there, often I will decide that if the book needs work it’s probably just easier to reject. A synopsis could have changed my mind. A synopsis also could have given me better understanding of the book, so if I am rejecting maybe I’ll be able to give feedback that relates more to the entire book instead of just the chapters I read.

Write the synopsis. You’re going to need it. If it’s not for me, you’ll need it for your editor, your copy writers, your cover artists, etc. You will need a synopsis.