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Chrisla
11-20-2009, 02:49 AM
I'm a little confused. Is the one-page synopsis simply an expansion of the query letter paragraph describing your book? Both are intended to gain the reader's interest and to sell them on the book. Can anybody help me out and perhaps give me some examples?

waylander
11-20-2009, 11:50 PM
No, absolutely not.
The one page synopsis is the bones of the story in 1,000 words, including the ending.
The pitch paragraph is the back of the book blurb to hook the reader's interest.

Go look at Queryshark for the best examples: queryshark.blogspot

Chrisla
11-21-2009, 12:09 AM
I checked out queryshark, and it looks helpful. Thanks.

suki
11-21-2009, 12:12 AM
No, absolutely not.
The one page synopsis is the bones of the story in 1,000 words, including the ending.
The pitch paragraph is the back of the book blurb to hook the reader's interest.

Go look at Queryshark for the best examples: queryshark.blogspot

I agree with Waylander that they are very different creatures, but I disagree that the query is the back of the book blurb - IMO, queries are different from both the one page synopsis and the back of the book blurb.

I agree with Waylander that the one page synopsis is the bones the of the story, including the ending - ie, all of the absolutely essential plot events that move the story from start to finish. And the most effective synopsis in my exprience focus on the cause and/or effect of those absolutely essential plot events.

The Back of the Book blurb is designed to hook the average reader, it rarely gives away anything beyond the beginning of the book/book's set up, and is intended to entice the average reader to buy the book.

Because the query is intended to entice the agent to scroll down or flip to pages, it also is intended to entice. But because the agent is more savy than the average reader, and looking at the query with a more critical and dissecting eye, it is usually approached a bit differently than the back of the book blurb. Now, I say usually because queries vary widely and some that are written as back cover blurbs do in fact lead to partial/full requests - which is the sole purpose of the query. The reality of queries is that sometimes even bad queries achieve partial or full requests if the concept for the book or something else in the query captures the agent's interest and she or he looks at the pages. But in general, from my experience, the query needs to give more away than the book cover blurb and needs to be more focused on the primary conlfict in the book, as opposed to the book's set up.

There is much more info on queries and synopsis in the Query letter Hell sub forum in the Share Your Work forum.

ETA: And yes, queryshark is very, very helpful as well. And if you google other agents, you will often find otehr agents who have posted queries for critique on their blogs or judged queries as parts of online contests, and so can find otehr agents' views of queries, as well.

~suki

waylander
11-21-2009, 12:29 AM
For example here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

Chrisla
11-21-2009, 01:47 AM
I agree with Waylander that they are very different creatures, but I disagree that the query is the back of the book blurb - IMO, queries are different from both the one page synopsis and the back of the book blurb.

I agree with Waylander that the one page synopsis is the bones the of the story, including the ending - ie, all of the absolutely essential plot events that move the story from start to finish. And the most effective synopsis in my exprience focus on the cause and/or effect of those absolutely essential plot events.

The Back of the Book blurb is designed to hook the average reader, it rarely gives away anything beyond the beginning of the book/book's set up, and is intended to entice the average reader to buy the book.

Because the query is intended to entice the agent to scroll down or flip to pages, it also is intended to entice. But because the agent is more savy than the average reader, and looking at the query with a more critical and dissecting eye, it is usually approached a bit differently than the back of the book blurb. Now, I say usually because queries vary widely and some that are written as back cover blurbs do in fact lead to partial/full requests - which is the sole purpose of the query. The reality of queries is that sometimes even bad queries achieve partial or full requests if the concept for the book or something else in the query captures the agent's interest and she or he looks at the pages. But in general, from my experience, the query needs to give more away than the book cover blurb and needs to be more focused on the primary conlfict in the book, as opposed to the book's set up.

There is much more info on queries and synopsis in the Query letter Hell sub forum in the Share Your Work forum.

ETA: And yes, queryshark is very, very helpful as well. And if you google other agents, you will often find otehr agents who have posted queries for critique on their blogs or judged queries as parts of online contests, and so can find otehr agents' views of queries, as well.

~suki

This certainly makes it much clearer, and from the research I've been doing, I understand, too, that the query paragraph, in most instances, should be more than a back-of-the-book blurb. I've looked at a lot of agent blogs on queries, so I think I have a handle on that, but I just got a little confused about the short synopsis and how it's different from that query paragraph. Your description of the short synopsis as being "the bones of the story" really clarifies it for me.

And thanks for the lead to the sub forum in Share Your Work. I never thought about looking there.


For example here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

Yes, thanks, I've looked at his site several times, and found it useful in understanding what makes a good query letter. I appreciate the help.