Synopsis for Literary Agents – Book Agents

Synopsis for Literary Agents Synopsis for literary agents, what is it? That’s easy. The much more difficult question to answer is, “How do you write a synopsis for a literary agency?”

That’s because most publishing professionals can’t agree on the best way to write a book synopsis for literary agents. Poll a hundred successful book agents and editors, and you’ll get a dizzying array of opinions.

Scroll below now to find out how you can write a great book synopsis for literary agents. This article is part of a 17-part series called Get a Literary Agent Now.

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Synopsis for Literary Agents – Definition

What is a book synopsis for literary agents?

A book synopsis is a summary of your book that helps readers understand what your book is about and why they should want to read it. Those are two very different things. Now, here are some tips to help you write a book synopsis for literary agents. If you follow these guidelines, any book agent or book editor will be pleased with your effort (and want to read your book).

Write a Book Synopsis for Book Agents

Now let’s move on to the tips so you can write
your book synopsis for book agents…

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Tip 1 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Literary Agents

Length:

  • Fiction/Memoir/Narrative Non-Fiction: Create two versions of your fiction book synopsis for publishing agents. The short version should be 1-2 pages. The long version should be approximately 1 synopsis page for every twenty-five pages of manuscript. Submit the short version to book agents unless they ask for the long version.
  • Nonfiction: Create two versions of your nonfiction book synopsis for book agents. The short version should be 1-2 paragraphs while the long version should be 1-2 pages. Use the short version in your query letter and the long version in your book proposal.

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Tip 2 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Publishing Agents

Format: Make sure the format of your book synopsis for book agents is double-spaced. Indent your paragraphs.

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Tip 3 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Literary Agents

Plot: If you’re a novelist, include information about your plot/subplots (but don’t delve into subplots unless they directly affect the central plot). Think of your plot as the external events that take place.

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Tip 4 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Publishing Agents

Themes: Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, your themes drive your book and make readers feel something. In other words, they are the reason that your book matters. So don’t neglect to include them.

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Tip 5 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Literary Agents

Spoiler: Don’t worry about “spoiling” your ending. If an agent or editor doesn’t want to know what happens, he/she won’t read the synopsis until after reading the book.

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Tip 6 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Publishing Agents

Main Characters: If you’re writing fiction, introduce your central characters? What motivates them? What are their conflicts? What are their relationships? Why should readers care about them? These are important details. Don’t list minor details that aren’t important, or give detailed descriptions.

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Tip 7 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Literary Agents

Tense: Write a book synopsis for book agents in the present tense, in third person (even if the manuscript is written in first person). If you’re writing a memoir, your synopsis should be written in the past tense, first person.

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Tip 8 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Publishing Agents

Suspense: You don’t have to write thrillers to create intrigue and suspense. Begin with a strong hook whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction. Your book synopsis for book agents should be more than accurate. It should be interesting. Tease the reader and make him/her want to know more. One of the best synopses I ever received from an author included dialogue. It read like a novel. What a great way to pull the reader into your story.

Synopsis for Book Agents Suspense

Tip 9 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Literary Agents

Style: Write your book synopsis for book agents in the same style as your book. If your book is funny, write a funny book synopsis for literary agents. If your book is literary, be highbrow with your synopsis for literary agents.

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Tip 10 – How to Write a Book Synopsis for Publishing Agents

Flow: Make sure the paragraphs in your synopsis for publishing agents flow smoothly… from one to another. Weave them together carefully so your transitions feel natural and don’t draw attention to themselves (the same way you would in your book)!

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Conclusion: How to Write a Book Synopsis for Literary Agents

Don’t get lazy or try to take shortcuts when you write a book synopsis for literary agents. Book agents and editors will use your synopsis as a sign (just like they do with your query letter)… to help them decide if you’re a true professional (and if your book is worth reading). It might not be fair, but it’s the way the system works. So understand it, and use it to your advantage. Craft your synopsis for literary agents as carefully as your book.

Now, click here to read the next article in this 17-part series
and learn How to Write a Book Proposal.

Learn how to write a book proposal for a literary agency

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