Book Blurb vs. Synopsis – What’s the Difference?

Book blurb… book synopsis… what’s the difference, and why should you care?

To start with, a book blurb and a synopsis are not the same thing. Let me give you a quick breakdown that shows why it’s important for writers and readers to know the difference.

Here’s the definition of a synopsis: a condensed statement giving a general overview of a subject; a brief summary of the plot of a novel, motion picture, play, etc.

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A synopsis is primarily used by an author when submitting a new project to an agent or publisher, as most require an overview of what the work is about. A synopsis needs to convey the feel of the story to readers. If the story is a romance, then the synopsis should be romantic. If it’s a comedy, then your synopsis needs to be funny. When writing a synopsis you must include several major components. And because agents and publishers read hundreds of submission daily, your story must stand out, which you do with a “hook” to grab their attention in the first sentence or paragraph. Next you need to have the main character/s and setup their internal and external goals, show motivation and conflicts, this ultimately makes up the majority of your story. Finally, you have to include the ending. Yes, in a synopsis you must give a resolution to the story. If a girl is searching for a purple rose, then at the end of the synopsis she has to find that purple flower.

Now, contrast that with a blurb: a brief advertisement or announcement; to advertise or praise; a short description that praises something (like a book) so that people will want to buy it.

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A book blurb is a selling tool, and one of the most important. The sole purpose of the blurb is to pique the reader’s interest so they feel as if they must read this book. It should hint at the plot, without giving anything away. Words are what matter in a blurb, powerful words that invoke images and resonate with readers. Name the main characters and introduce a question or mystery that needs to be solved, without telling how it ends. The book blurb must be short and dramatic.

The benefit of a well written book blurb is new readership–stretching above and beyond genre specifics that many readers stick to. Opening a reader’s mind to new experiences is the ultimate goal of a writer. After all, a good story is a good story. And a book blurb should entice readers to buy the book!

Understanding the difference means never misinterpreting what you’re reading.

 

 

6 Responses to Book Blurb vs. Synopsis – What’s the Difference?

  • Great post! I have my favorite genres, but I have been persuaded by a good book blurb to read a range of genres outside of that. It’s story that counts more than anything. I like to be open to an author’s ideas – you can really learn something new or be taken on a fun ride when you let go of preconceived notions of what a story ‘should’ be!

    • admin says:

      I agree 100 %. Why restrict yourself to only a handful of genres? There are so many great stories to be discovered, and they don’t always fall within the perimeters of our favorite genres.

  • Ellen Smith says:

    Spot on! I think a good blurb gives just enough information to make the reader want to pick up the book and start reading. I’ve read a few blurbs that sounded interesting–except I felt like I already knew the whole story, so I didn’t need to read the book!

    Does the miniskirt analogy apply here? You know, long enough to cover the necessities, but short enough to keep it interesting? 😉

    • admin says:

      Ellen, I believe the miniskirt analogy does apply. A short glimpse that sparks the desire to find out more. 🙂

  • I’ve always been confused with blurbs and synopsis. I remember looking definitions of them years ago. It’s been so long; I call my blurbs “story descriptions” instead. This really helps clear things for me. Thanks!
    (This will totally improve my radio show and my YouTube channel!)

    • admin says:

      “Story description” sounds like a great way to go! Glad you found this post useful. Now I gotta go check out your radio show.

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