Dare I Reveal My Secrets In My Synopsis?

Dear Editor…

When querying agents and/or publishers, which type of synopsis would you recommend including in the query letter?: 1) a “book blurb” synopsis (similar to what would appear on the book jacket), which does *not* tell the whole story or give away the ending, or 2) a “comprehensive synopsis” that gives an overview of all major plot points from beginning to end, including revealing the ending. I am a debut author who is fairly new to this whole querying business, and I’ve read mixed recommendations about which type of synopsis should be included. I’d love to know what you recommend!


Dear Jamie…

Don’t be a tease: submit the “comprehensive” version, all secrets revealed. The reason agents and editors turn to the synopsis is because they’ve read that “book blurb”-type pitch in your query letter and liked the concept, and they’ve read your sample pages and liked the narrative voice and opening, and now they want to know your plans for the plot. ALL of your plans. Now’s not the time to get cutesy or try to entertain. Show step by step, in a 1- to 2-page, single-spaced document that’s more like an enhanced outline, how the plot will unfold for the main storyline. If the subplot is directly related to the resolution of your main plot, lay that out step by step, too. End with showing not only how the plot is resolved but how your character’s internal journey has been completed. Think of this as handing the agent the blueprints to your story.

Happy writing!
The Editor

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