The Perfect Synopsis

I published Ruthless back in February 2014 and slowly I have been gathering readers and buyers online. One element of the book I have recently changed in order to improve interest and sales, is the synopsis. Using wattpad, I can see how many users are reading the synopsis and then deciding NOT to continue on with the story. Unfortunately, there have been many. So I went back and reviewed the “hook of the book” and found it was not nearly as catchy and gripping as it could be.

The synopsis is really as important, or perhaps even more so, than the book cover design. It needs to pull readers in- quickly! My synopsis for Ruthless was a little slow and only really got to the intriguing part after 2 paragraphs. I changed it up on wattpad first and then updated Amazon after I saw a significant increase in reads. This is what I ended up with:

Corporate life just became deadly. Succeed or seek salvation…

When career-driven Ruth lands a seemingly perfect job at GlobalCore- a chic yet mysterious global corporation, she prepares to dish out her cold and merciless brand of Human Resource Management. But there is something different about this company… Ruth soon finds herself climbing the corporate ladder but this time as a matter of life or death. She must compete with industrious angels, hell-bent on success, as she struggles with her new eternal occupation that redefines “employee termination”. Follow Ruth as she delivers damning employee evaluations to the most wicked souls that California has to offer. These aren’t the mild-mannered office workers Ruth is used to firing, these employees are rotten to the core, and they won’t be leaving without a fight.

So how does one write the perfect synopsis? First of all, I think keep it short and punchy. Originally, mine was quite long as I felt I needed some real content on the back of the book- not just a few lines. Not necessary. Have a look at some of the more popular author’s books. They are mostly covered with review quotes- not the synopsis.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to start with a teaser line at the top. I used Corporate life just became deadly. Succeed or seek salvation… This will serve to pull the reader in if it is something bold or mysterious and it may also help you when readers are searching for your book online. Often, search engines- whether they be built in to applications like wattpad or Amazon, will only return a snip it of a synopsis or book description. Usually, just the first line or two, so make you point in that first line. Make it interesting.

Don’t give too much away. In my case, I have planted twists and turns throughout Ruthless so it was hard not to give some of those away by describing events in the story. You want to offer a teaser of what is inside so people will actually want to read the book. If they feel like they have the whole story from reading the back, then they are going to just put it down and move on. It is a tricky balancing act but you also don’t want to be too abstract or ambiguous. Aim for something in the middle.

I am about to publish my second book and the sequel to Ruthless so I am beginning to write the synopsis for Heartless now. I’ll publish on my blog soon. I’d love to hear your comments.


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