In a recent post on the synopsis I gave you some advice on writing your synopsis. After reading a number of comments and questions, I want to expand on that post and give you a look from the other side. How important a role does the synopsis play in my decision-making process and what happens if the book doesn’t match the synopsis you’ve already written?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret . . . more often than not I don’t read the synopsis. Every agent is different, but for me if the book is really good and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, I will often ask for more material without even reading the synopsis. After all, I hate a spoiler. However, if I’m on the fence about the book or I don’t think I want to see more, but I’m just curious, I will definitely read the synopsis. Sometimes it’s just to find out what happened, even though I know it’s not strong enough to sell, or at least not strong enough for me to take on (the two are not the same). Where the synopsis truly comes into play for most agents is to make sure the book doesn’t run aground at any point. Reading the synopsis allows me to know that the author hasn’t gone off in some weird direction that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t suit the genre she might be targeting.
These days a lot of published authors are required to submit some sort of short synopsis to their editors either before another book deal is made or as part of a current contract. And let me tell you, very, very rarely does that synopsis match the final product. I always tell my authors to think of it as giving a rough idea to your publisher. The primary concern your publisher usually has regarding this synopsis is that your character names and general plot don’t change too much since this synopsis is often used for cover and catalog copy.