Chat Between Chapters: What do you look for in a synopsis?

March 1, 2015 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 29


What do you look for in a synopsis? Is there anything specific that a synopsis must have in order to make you grab that book and buy it?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

I like the synopsis to tell me just enough about the plot to give me a feeling of whether I’ll enjoy the story. I want to know the plot will be exciting and eventful, and whether the book sounds like it will be a journey book (not a fan of those) or one with something happening all the time. I want to get just a glimpse of the characters to see if they are fun and spunky and not one-sided. I want the synopsis to sound unique, so it doesn’t feel like I’ve read that book before, a bunch of times. I definitely don’t want a synopsis that spoils an earlier book in the series though, and I’ve seen a lot that do that. I’ve also seen synopses that give away the book they are describing. A synopsis needs to be a teaser, but also be an honest glimpse at what the book will be. No bait and switches, please.

Rose review avatar Rose:

I am all about a good love story. I tend to like darker reads, or something tragic. I like a strong female protagonist that must overcome the odds to achieve her goals and I like a tortured hero… I see this in the blurb and I am a goner. One click.


The synopsis of a book is the starting point for me deciding to read a book or not. It has to grab and hold my attention. I need the synopsis to explain enough of the book that I have an idea of the genre, plot, and main characters. A quote or two from the book is helpful as well. For books in a series, I tend to only read the synopsis of the first book. I’ll read the synopsis of the second book after I’ve finished reading the first to avoid any major plot reveals. 

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29 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: What do you look for in a synopsis?”

  1. Jamie

    A good synopsis summary should give me just a bit of insight into the book. The basic storyline, genre, etc and any major warning (lots of violence, etc). I hate anything misleading or when authors don’t even have anything on their book. No name is a guarenteed read with me. I want to have a heads up of what I am about to get into.

    What about you? You pose the question but I would love to know your thoughts as well.

    • Julie

      Yea, it probably is hard when something pivotal happens in a previous book.

    • Julie

      I think that’s an interesting point you bring up – opinions of other authors or influential people on the book cover.

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    Great post, ladies. I think I agree with all of you on what to look for in a synopsis. Me, I want just enough info to hook me, make me curious about the story and its characters. I actually prefer a shorter synopsis to a long one as I think a longer one is either 1) telling me too much OR 2) trying too hard to sell me on the story.
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…That’s What HE Said ~ #20

    • Julie

      Ooh good point bringing up the length – a synopsis that is too long will get boring and I’ll lose interest in it. A paragraph is enough.

  3. Jackie

    For me, a synopsis needs to tell enough of a book to keep me hooked within the first couple of sentences. I don’t want “for fans of” if the book is nothing to the story it is being compared to. Synopsis of books that just say “a fast-paced novel” and such things don’t tell me anything about it. On the contrary, I don’t want a synopsis that tells me everything that will happen in the book.
    Jackie recently posted…Inside Out Book Tag

    • Julie

      I agree, “for fans of” is very misleading and books need to stand on their own.

    • Julie

      You’re right that it is difficult to blurb a novel in just a few sentences that fit on the back of the book and yet it is so important to be done well since everyone reads the back of the book before deciding to buy it, right?

    • Julie

      Well, I definitely don’t want a spoiler, but not enough details that show why that book is unique won’t catch my attention either.

  4. Ramona

    It’s got to hook me, that’s for sure. If it sounds like something I already read a thousand times, chances are I won’t pick it up. I want new and exciting all the time! And clever – it’s got to be clever or no deal 🙂
    Ramona recently posted…Zen Monday: Hello Spring

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