May 05

Book Synopsis, Book Description, Book Review – What’s the Difference?

Book Synopsis, Book Description, Book Review

The book synopsis, description, and review are three book marketing tools that your books will absolutely need.

But, when do you need these marketing elements and how do you use them?

Let’s look at each one in the order you would use them.

The Book Synopsis

You’ve written an amazing story – it’s traditional publishing ready … and worthy.

You do your research and find literary agents and/or publishing houses that accept your book’s genre. And, a few of the publishing houses accept unagented and unsolicited submissions. Yea!

Along with a cover letter and the first 10 pages of your manuscript, the agent or publisher will probably want a synopsis of your story. (The number of pages may vary from company to company, and you’ll send the full manuscript if you’ve written a picture book.)

So, what exactly is a synopsis?

According to an article at Writer’s Digest, “A synopsis conveys the narrative arc, an explanation of the problem or plot, the characters, and how the book or novel ends. It ensures character actions and motivations are realistic and make sense. It summarizes what happens and who changes from beginning to end of the story.” (1)

The synopsis will be part of your submissions journey. And yes, it gives away the ending.

Your synopsis should be one-two pages, depending on the length of your book. You don’t want to overload it with details, but you want to give enough information to whet the reader’s appetite.

Just summarize your story and be sure to include the ending.

An agent or publisher will want to know exactly what happens in the story and how it ends up.

Along with the number of pages requested from your manuscript, the synopsis will help determine whether the agent or publisher will want to see more.

The Book Description

Next up on your writing journey is the book’s description. This may be similar to the synopsis, but there’s a BIG difference: You don’t give away the ending or any other surprises in the story.

The description is a book marketing tool that helps sell your book. It explains what your story is about in a way that makes the reader want to read the book. It’s a hook.

If you’ve written a book and went to the trouble of submitting it to agents and/or publishers, or you’re self-publishing, you want to sell that book.

The short version of the book’s description (backcover copy) and the longer version for marketing and publicity purposes are pitches to the reader. These descriptions should be enticing enough to motivate the reader to buy your book.

The description could make or break the purchasing decision.

In fact, I can’t remember where I read it, but the #1 selling factor of a book is the cover. The #2 factor is the backcover copy.

The Book Review

As soon as you have a completed manuscript that’s about to be published or has just been published, whether traditionally published or self-published, you will need reviews of your book.

In an article at Jane, the author says that “book reviews build symbolic capital.” (2) This is what you need for book sales.

Okay, so what is symbolic capital?

Well, you may think your book is amazing, but the purchaser wants more evidence than your opinion. They want to know that others have read your book and loved it. “You need (positive) independent assessment to convince readers to spend money and time.” (2)

This is where book reviews come in.

Think of an author in one of the big five publishing houses. Think of an author on the NYTimes Best Seller list, multiple times. Think of ‘heavy hitters’ like James Patterson, Stephen King, Danielle Steel, and Nora Roberts.

This is symbolic capital.

While most authors won’t be in the category above, having lots of positive book reviews is another form of symbolic capital.

Book reviews are extremely important if you’re a self-published author. You won’t have any momentum behind you, so you need to create your own with book reviews.

You might consider giving the book away for free to get some word-of-mouth started. Ask if the readers will post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book sites.

Once you start getting positive reviews, you can use them in your marketing. Keep building on them.

Why are Book Reviews SO Powerful?

In an article at, it states, “In a recent study, data revealed that 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews.” (3)

It seems, salespeople and marketers are trusted only 3% compared to 2% for car salesmen and politicians. (3)

That’s powerful information.

Hope this helps you as you get your book out there.



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Shoot me an email at: (please put Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

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