Flushed with success and a little woozy from switching the font size from 11 to 12 and back again 50 or so times, I grabbed my trusty market guide and turned to the first publisher on my list. Looking for contemporary young adult fiction from 50,000-70,000 words. Couldn’t be more perfect! Query with synopsis and brief author bio. How hard can that be?
A dozen or so synopses later, I can answer that question. Writing a synopsis is like painting a mural on the wings of a hornet. You have to make the most of a very small space, and there’s no room for error. All that’s required is condensing your 300-page novel into a page, a paragraph, or—my personal favorite—a single sentence. Remember to describe the main characters, setting, and plot while capturing the voice of your story. And don’t be too wordy.
Coming up with a brief bio is equally difficult. What does “brief” mean? 100 words? 200? More? Should I include my education, publishing experience, interests, significant other, pets, blood type, and/or favorite shade of nail polish? When I Googled to find some examples, I got 25,000,000 hits on author bios. Just terrific.
It’s embarrassing that I can write a 50,000-word novel but can’t come up with a coherent summary of it. Two months ago my agent asked me for a one-sentence synopsis of my upcoming book, A&L Do Summer. After ten pathetic attempts I finally wrote something she didn’t have to change--too much. I can only imagine how much hair she pulled out as she read and politely rejected each one.
That’s my sad story. Does anyone else have synopsis/bio phobia? It would really help to know I’m not alone.