I’d better write three novels than a synopsis, because, it is THAT difficult. For my next flick Dirty Martini – My editors and I re-wrote the synopsis for almost 50 times 🙁 though we are convinced now, we also know how challenging and painstaking it is. Agents ask for synopsis along with your query letter most of the times.
I thought this post would be of some use to the newbies and also, for the authors to use this as a checklist.
Quintessential a synopsis:
- 1-2 pages in length
- Single spaced
- All the essential details of your novel should be summarized
- It must be interesting enough to be picked
Yes, Challenging indeed.
- Protagonist, the conflict, and setting
As I usually say, all the stories are about pushing the protagonist in a situation and helping him/her to come out of it. Make sure it is fresh, new and exciting. Ensure that your elements in your story don’t reflect or imitate any other.
Explain the motivation of your protagonist, emotions of the characters involved during these plot turns should be recorded
- How the major plot is resolved
The ending, the surprise factors, etc.. should be listed
Points to remember/ Checklist:
- Give a clear picture – the roadmap of your novel (the complete skeleton) the reader/agent should not feel confused. Focus on clarity
- Don’t cram too many characters – just your protagonist, antagonist, and one or two major supporting characters
- No descriptions – No unnecessary details
- No to jargons
- Don’t refer other novels
- No adverbs and No cliches
- A good opening line is a good brownie point
- Use active voice
- Avoid the character’s backstory in the synopsis
- Don’t split your synopsis into sections/don’t use labels as you do while brainstorming
If you have more points to add, please feel free to comment 🙂
Back with another Indian-Publishing-Scene post, if you’ve not read my Indian authors and book marketing post, please do!
Why this post? Because I hear a lot of issues between the publisher-author duo these days. To mention a few complaints:
The publisher won’t give the author royalty for the first 1000 copies.
The publisher asked to sign an agreement to buy 200 copies of your book.
The publisher has increased the MRP and is not ready to reduce which affects the book sales.
My book is out of stock, and my publisher refused to reprint.
My publisher is not sending my books to any bookstore.
I spent XXXXX on publishing my book, you know it’s my baby, but, I didn’t get any returns.
Having published a book already, and having gone through the ups and downs of the publishing industry in a short span. I thought this had to be said.
Dear Author, you’re facing these issues because of YOU. It was you who wanted to publish the book right away. It was your choice to go with a publisher whose vision is to make money than to produce quality literature.
Gone are the days when writers had to send hard copies of their novel to a publisher, wait for their reply for a year and then send to another post rejection. There were authors who took years to get published, who worked hard on knitting their stories, editing it thoroughly and wanted to publish it for the love of literature. But, are we the same? We want fame. We want a book release every year, no matter what the story is, no matter how poor the paper quality is, no matter how bad the language is, no matter who reads it and what reviews we receive because money does it all. All it takes is 10,000 INR to get ten 5-star reviews right? You know reviewers who don’t read but post reviews. All it takes is just 25,000 INR to market your book on all Facebook groups, right?
Vanity Publishing /Self-publishing platforms (Not all) have dragged and pulled the Indian literature down, but, why care? All we need is the author tag? Throw a few thousands and get published. No, am not blaming all, but at least 3/10 do this, as I acquainted almost 500+ authors and am a part of groups with 10,000+ writers all over India.
Ask yourself. Do you see authors who published via the publishing houses that fall under the creamy categories complain? including those who self-publish/kindle publish as per their choice. Do you see them struggling hard to establish/market their books? As far as I know, not really, at least when compared to us – those who paid to get published.
I can’t stop you from doing what you want my dear author, but, if I can give you a small advice – research about the quality of Indian literature and the books that are available. Understand where you are, work on your story, plot, language, grammar, diction, sentence structure, etc.. Hire a good editor and give the best possible manuscript to the right publishers who are passionate about publishing good books. Wait, even if it takes years. Choose your book reviewers right. Don’t send it to every tom, dick, and Harry, please! The best type of marketing is the word of mouth. And, that would eventually happen. If not now, sooner or later.
I indeed published via a self-publishing platform; I learned a few lessons and now, am working hard to correct the mistakes and do well with my next release. I don’t deny the fact that there are good vanity published books and there are traditionally published bad books as well. But, the equation and weightage when thought through makes a difference.
If this post helps to change even any one of the readers’ mindset – I’d be more than happy, else, I’d still be happy because I feel better when I blog.
P.S — This post is not for anyone in particular, because, I have the habit of dealing it in person. This is a very common post addressing the most common issues of authors-publishers duo.