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Synopsis Length–What Exactly Do Agents Expect

I think one of the most frequently asked questions revolves around the synopsis. It’s probably because every author feels insecure over what a synopsis really is and how to successfully write one.

This from a reader:

Lately, I am seeing more requests, especially from publishers, for a one-three paragraph synopsis. This to me seems more like a summary, blurb, or query. I finally got a handle on how to write both a full and short synopsis, to hit all of the major plot points and emotional arcs, and now this. I’ve done several searches and found no examples of how to write a one paragraph synopsis. Often there will be an article titled this, but once you click in, it’s a summary.

This is a hard question for me to answer without seeing the context for the request. I agree with you that a one to three paragraph synopsis is not a synopsis but a blurb, the same you would find in the query. That being said, there are likely agents who don’t want to put time into a three-page synopsis. I guess anything is possible.

Here’s my suggestion, but probably not my last word, when it comes to the synopsis and the blurb. Write a really solid one to three paragraph blurb that “sells” your book for the query. Then write a really solid one-three page synopsis that will be submitted anytime you get a manuscript request. Then stop trying to appeal to every single agent’s different requests and peculiarities. No agent will reject you because the synopsis was too long. You could spend all year rewriting different versions to please different agents. Instead, submit your very best work and move on to your next book.

 

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