I was kvetching recently on Twitter about authors who don’t send a requested synopsis with their material. I’ll admit, I don’t always read the synopsis, but I do like to have it on hand to see where the book is going and, in many cases, if it’s worth continuing. I never read the synopsis if I’m so engrossed in the manuscript that I can’t stop reading until I finish. For the record, that has happened twice in the past six months.
So when I asked why authors don’t send the synopsis I was told because they’re hard. Picture me now beating my desk with uncontrollable laughter. Honey, if you think the synopsis is hard you don’t have the fortitude to take on publishing. Compared to building a publishing career, the synopsis is easier than a cakewalk.
A synopsis is not something agents ask you to do because we like to torture authors. It’s also not something you will do only to find an agent. A synopsis is about to become an integral part of your career and the smart author will use it as such.
Your synopsis will be needed to get an agent, to submit to publishers, for your editor to evaluate whether the next book on your contract makes sense (Pantsers better get used to writing a synopsis before the book), and the smart author will use the synopsis to evaluate whether or not the book is working. I’ve seen it time and time again, but if you’re unable to break down your story into a few pages (and eventually a few paragraphs) then the problem isn’t your ability to write a synopsis, but the problem is that your book probably needs to be edited. Now granted, it doesn’t mean the synopsis will be easy, but if you find in writing it that it finishes at 25 pages and there’s no real heart to the story then I can guarantee your story has the same problems.
My words of wisdom today is stop hating the poor synopsis and start finding a way to use it as a tool for your career.