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How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good

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Do you hate writing blurbs? Do you wish there was an easier way to summarize your novel and get more sales in the process? Author and copywriter Bryan Cohen’s book descriptions have hit both the Kindle Store’s Top 50 and the USA Today Bestseller list. Let him show you exactly how to craft the copy you need to hook new readers. After writing hundreds of book descriptions for other authors and helping thousands with informative training, Bryan has learned what all the best book synopses have in common. Through easy-to-follow tips and helpful examples in a variety of genres, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis gives you the tools you need to get a steady stream of online book browsers to click the Buy button every single day. Finally, you no longer have to take on the challenge of copywriting alone. With a more intriguing synopsis in place, all your future promotions, ads, and marketing campaigns can perform significantly better. You want more readers to buy your books, and Bryan’s system is a great way to make it a reality. If you like detailed writing guides, plenty of examples, and a touch of humor, then you’ll love Bryan Cohen’s look behind the scenes at how he creates copy that sells.

95 pages, Kindle Edition

Published July 9, 2016

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About the author

Bryan Cohen

74 books124 followers
Bryan Cohen is a bestselling author, experienced copywriter, and the founder of Best Page Forward and Amazon Ad School. He has written or co-written over 30 books crossing a variety of genres. Learn more about Bryan at www.BryanCohen.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 166 reviews
Profile Image for Susan May.
Author 233 books619 followers
August 31, 2016
This book is a must read for authors wanting to sharpen their synopsis. I thought I was pretty good at writing blurbs, which I find pretty difficult like all authors. Bryan Cohen certainly gives you some great tips. Bravo, Brian. I also love his Sell More Books show. My go to show for indie author and publishing news. I listen every week, without fail.
Profile Image for Bernard Jan.
Author 10 books214 followers
February 24, 2018
We all know how to write a book but we suck at writing a capturing blurb! Either it is too long or too boring to hook our readers. Writing a sizzling synopsis is possible if we follow a few simple rules and use the tools to get online book browsers click our Buy button every single day. This book is a gold mine! Dig in!

I thank Derek Doepker for recommending it to me and I extend this recommendation to everyone.
Profile Image for Lola.
1,569 reviews246 followers
July 21, 2016
So I have this weird fascination with book marketing, so when an author in an author facebook group that I am part of recommended this book I just had to pick it up. It sounded informative and I thought it might come in handy when giving advice to other authors. I wasn't quite sure what to expect of this book as I read very little non-fiction (I am trying to change that), but I really enjoyed it and found it very informative.

How the Write a Sizzling Synopsis delivers exactly what the title promises you, tips for writing a great synopsis. Each chapter has a specific point the author addresses and at the end of the chapter there is an exercise, which I thought was very handy for applying to knowledge. I started writing synopsis for books I recently read and I realized just how difficult it was. I enjoyed seeing how my synopsis changed over the course of the book and this book definitely made me look at synopsis in a different light. And the last chapter gives a step by step guide for how to write your synopsis. I found the tips and advice to be very practical.

On the other hand I do think not each tip is for every author or every synopsis, but that's almost impossible. And I think the advice in this book is only one way to write them, but it does sound like an effective approach. I don't know if applying these rules to your synopsis actually brings your book more sales, but it would be interesting to hear from authors who apply these tips to their blurbs. I do agree with the author that a blurb is very important for selling your book, so giving these tips a try when writing your next blurb does sound like it's worth a try.

I think the author makes a lot of great points and also explains why these techniques work. Overall I think most authors would learn a few things from this book that they can apply to their synopsis or least become more aware of possible techniques. Some points you can take with a grain of salt or apply as you see fit, but most of the times the author makes a good point and also explains his reasoning for why you should write your synopsis in a certain way.

The chapters are pretty short and the book is very easy to read. There's even a bit of humor in it and overall I read through this book easily and even enjoyed getting some new knowledge about the topic and applying it. At the end of each chapter there is an exercise and a short recap, which I thought was very handy. And like the author I would encourage you to follow these exercises as I thought it was very interesting to see the synopsis I wrote develop while I worked my way through the book.

To summarize: This was an enjoyable and informative read. I learned a lot of new things about writing synopsis and found the book to be well written. The author explains why you should write your synopsis in a certain way and gives advise that makes sense and is easy to apply. The exercises and recaps at the end of the book are very handy. It makes you sure you have a chance to apply the knowledge you just learned and read the most important points another time. Maybe not all advice can be applied to each synopsis, but I think most authors will find some pieces of advice they can apply or new techniques to learn for writing synopsis. I felt like I learned a lot more about writing synopsis and found it an interesting read. I would definitely recommend this book to authors who want to know more about writing synopsis.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,251 reviews3,563 followers
December 28, 2020
As most self-published writers will tell you, writing the synopsis (otherwise known as the blurb) can be one of the most difficult parts of the whole process. Trickier than writing a 100,000-word novel? Yes... because you've got to condense those 100,000 words into a couple hundred in a way that makes a potential reader want to read the full 100,000-word story.

Enter How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis, which promises to help you with this task. While it does have some good basic information, I almost feel like it could've been condensed down to one chapter (which, incidentally, the author says he almost didn't include!).

The guidance for writing the synopsis itself is decent. However, near the end the author mentions that the synopsis is just one part of the four parts of the book's description:

1. Tagline
2. Synopsis
3. Selling Paragraph
4. Call to Action

1, 3, and 4 are glossed over, which is a shame because they're all important. I particularly would've liked more instruction on the Selling Paragraph, since those are a bit difficult to do without sounding like an egomaniac (e.g., "From the genre's newest star comes this brilliant tour de force! John Doe has created the novel of the century. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll be terrified. Perfect for fans of The Stand and Pride and Prejudice.")

Aside from that, I'm annoyed by the editing. All the -ly adverbs used for modifiers are followed by a hyphen. I mean... isn't that basic punctuation/grammar? I expect more when I'm reading a book that's supposed to help people polish their writing before publication.

Overall, I think this is okay, but I was kind of hoping for a bit more. Chapter 8 is good and concise; the rest of the book just kind of expands on that chapter. And to think that the author questioned including it at all...
Profile Image for C.J. Darlington.
Author 15 books368 followers
November 29, 2016
Who would think a subject that's seemingly short could fill an entire book with little wasted words? Cohen did a great job tackling this oftentimes sticky subject for authors. He boils it down so even those who hate synopsis writing can approach the task with more confidence and less trepidation. Includes many model synopsis' at the end that I thought would be boring but actually were interesting to read. Pick this up if your definition of the word "synopsis" is synonymous to "colonoscopy".
Profile Image for Suzannah.
Author 31 books490 followers
October 26, 2018
Extremely helpful. I wouldn't call it a one-stop guide to synopsis writing, but it's a great beginning and will definitely help take a lot of the mystery and also PAIN out of blurb-writing.

Also see the information in Brian Meeks' Mastering Amazon Ads.
Profile Image for Kate M. Colby.
Author 18 books77 followers
July 21, 2016
A great guide for taking the heart of your story and condensing it down into an emotionally charged and attention-grabbing synopsis. While the majority of the book focuses on purely the synopsis part of your book description, there is one chapter that discusses taglines, calls-to-action, etc. Overall, this is a quick and easy read (written in the humor Bryan's podcast listeners will enjoy), with helpful exercises that will help you craft your synopsis as you move through the book. Highly recommended for self-publishing authors.
Profile Image for Siobhan Davis.
Author 105 books8,413 followers
November 7, 2016
Most Indie Authors I know say they are terrible at writing blurbs and absolutely dread that part of the process, and I'm no exception. I've tried outsourcing it in the past but it doesn't work so it's something I need to master so that I can overcome this "mental block" I have every time I'm getting ready to release something new.

I searched for a good book on blurb-writing previously and was surprised to find there weren't that many options that fit what I was looking for so I was delighted when Bryan announced he was writing this book. He is undeniably one of the best blurb writers in the business.

This book is great - a quick easy read packed with examples and exercises that force you to apply the learning as you go along. I was amazed at how different my end version was to my starting one and I've definitely taken away lots of learning. Practice makes perfect so only time will tell if it's added real value, but I have to say that I already feel more confident in tackling this head-on.

The writing is great - it's witty, self-deprecating, and not in any way preachy.

I picked up a copy on release day for 99c and I have to say it was money well spent.

If you struggle with blurbs, this is the book for you. And even if you don't have issues with blurb-writing, I bet you'd still pick up some useful tidbits in this book. Most definitely worth a read.
Profile Image for Adam Collings.
Author 11 books64 followers
August 26, 2017
Writing a synopsis is hard. As you start reading this book and doing the exercises, you'll realise it's even harder still, but as you keep going, things start to fall into place. After all, you've got one of the best, Bryan Cohen, cheering you on.

This is a skill that will take plenty of practice to master, but Bryan Cohen gives a step-by-step guide on how to proceed.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us Bryan.
Profile Image for Justin.
Author 26 books236 followers
August 16, 2019
Where do I begin with this beyond helpful book? Well for one I wish I had bought it sooner. Perhaps I thought it wouldn't be worth it or it would be too wordy but forget all that because this book was dynamite and then some! Each chapter was simple, clear and precise in telling you how you should craft your book description and write a sizzling synopsis. I could probably ramble on for five paragraphs about this book but I'll keep it to this. Bryan Cohen's How to Write A sizzling Synopsis is helpful for all writers and I for one appreciate the time he took to write it and all the hard work he put into becoming an expert in the art of synopses. This book has helped me greatly and I will most likely read it again and again for future books or to even change up my books anytime I feel the need. Strongly Recommended!
Profile Image for S.A. Adams.
Author 4 books18 followers
November 8, 2021
My review of this book will be short and sweet, like your synopsis should be.

ALL independent authors should read and follow Bryan's guide to writing book descriptions. It is so important to the success of your self-publishing career I am going come right out and declare this book recquired reading.
Profile Image for Harley Christensen.
Author 12 books22 followers
July 10, 2016
Ready to convert that fizzled book synopsis into a sizzling book sale?

I know. I’ve been there.

You’ve written a great book. You’ve got a crazy cool cover. You want to hit “Publish” but that little voice tells you “Not so fast, my chickadee, you’re not done…yet.”

Yup, you still need to write your book description.

You sigh as the fear and loathing build… After a period of procrastination, desperation kicks in and you…settle. Sure, your tagline is short and snappy but when you hit that dreaded synopsis, you’re just not sure what to include, what to exclude and suddenly you find yourself reverting to synopsis overkill—too much plot, too many characters, subplots, locations, how the protagonist likes his coffee or what he puts on his toast—basically everything you should have reserved for the actual reading experience. The potential buyer reacts like you’ve served him burnt toast and subpar coffee. And he moves on. The result: dismal sales…day after day after day.

Ok, this scenario may be a bit extreme but at the end of the day, condensing your book—the one you’ve sacrificed months of blood, sweat, tears and face time with your family for—into a couple hundred words, is H-A-R-D...

But it doesn’t have to be.

In How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis, Bryan helps you identify the parts of your book’s plot you should include, how to simplify them and yet make them compelling and engaging, all in step-by-step system that is easy to follow and supported by a plethora of concrete examples in a variety of genres you can reference when crafting your own. He also discusses the length of your synopsis (and why it comes down to sound and emotional impact), how it should be formatted, where it should be utilized, and additionally touches on the other components that make up your book’s description, e.g. tagline, selling paragraph and call to action. And, if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, it’s also fantastically easy to digest, with actionable tips that can be immediately implemented into your own synopsis.

So, my author friend, if you’re ready to ditch the fear and loathing you’ve typically associated with writing your book’s blurb and are psyched about converting those casual browsers into buyers—and eventually avid fans—grab a copy of How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis—both your book description and future book sales will thank you.
Profile Image for Laura Martone.
Author 34 books10 followers
July 15, 2016
As a novelist who's yet to publish her first novel, I admit to being a wee bit nervous about the marketing side of writing. Like many authors, I find it less daunting to write a 100,000-word novel (or even a 300,000-word one) than to write a three-paragraph synopsis about said novel. But, with Bryan's wonderful, easy-to-digest, and, at times, amusing how-to guide about writing a killer synopsis, I feel a lot less overwhelmed than I did before. In addition to Bryan's clear explanations and relevant examples, I appreciated the end-of-chapter exercises, which have helped me to embrace (if not yet master) each step in the process. A highly recommended book for all writers - whether newbies or veterans, indies or traditionally published.
Profile Image for Nola Lorraine.
Author 1 book38 followers
November 27, 2017
I bought this book because I was in the process of writing a book proposal and thought it would be helpful. Although the kind of synopsis Cohen is talking about is more the type you use for the back-cover blurb than a full synopsis, I still found it really useful. Each short chapter has specific tips and exercises to help you nail down the essence of your plot, and there are lots of examples of synopses in the back.

This is one I'll refer back to again. Very helpful for fiction back-cover blurbs.
Profile Image for Linda Fausnet.
Author 21 books28 followers
September 20, 2017

This book is worth far more than I paid for it. The author provides clear, step-by-step instructions on how to write an effective description for your book. He not only tells you WHAT to do, he includes a clear and concise explanation of WHY you should do it. I took notes while reading this book, and I jotted something important down from nearly every page. I loved this book because it contained specific advice, as opposed to vague assertions liked "your synopsis needs to evoke emotion in a reader." Instead, you get concrete advice on what words to put where and how to carefully construct a powerful, effective synopsis. This book is packed with a lot of useful information that I can’t wait to try for my books!
Profile Image for Angela Ford.
Author 46 books832 followers
June 28, 2017
Sell more books

At the end of the day, I want to take away every barrier that keeps readers from buying my books. Having an emotionally compelling book blurb is key. This books empowers me with the tools I need to create a synopsis that sells more books. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Nancy Cupp.
Author 17 books16 followers
February 11, 2018
This book was well written and easy to understand. It is a helpful how-to book on a difficult task. I've used the information on my own books and it helped me move from a mundane to eye-catching synopsis. Clearly, this task requires much practice and Bryan's book is a good place to start.
Profile Image for Rob Durham.
Author 6 books132 followers
February 11, 2018
I’ll bump my rating from 4 stars to 5 as soon as someone tells me I’ve nailed my blurb.
Profile Image for Russell Holbrook.
Author 23 books82 followers
June 22, 2021
I found this book very helpful! I feel like I learned a lot and my perspective about writing descriptions was changed for the better. Now I just need to keep practicing what I learned!
Profile Image for Bill Powers.
Author 3 books89 followers
January 7, 2021
An excellent, concise how-to guide on writing first rate synopsis for your books; highly recommend for fiction authors.
Profile Image for Jeremy Flagg.
Author 44 books231 followers
April 9, 2017
Perfect for those Polishing Touches

Bryan does it again. Concise and to the point. Was a quick read I've gone through several times already! I highly recommend for any author struggling with writing back blurbs!
Profile Image for Sacha Black.
Author 18 books251 followers
March 7, 2017
A great book for authors teaching them how to write a better synopsis. Nice and short in length so easily digestible. Some great tips, as well as fab summaries and some exercises at the end of each chapter.
Profile Image for Jay Storey.
Author 11 books96 followers
September 3, 2018
An essential book for anyone wanting to improve their book synopses or description. It points out the importance of descriptions in selling books, presents a method for writing a great description, and includes a number of examples of book good and bad descriptions.
Profile Image for Jonathan H. MONTES.
267 reviews14 followers
September 8, 2019
This one was disappointing. I can see how a beginner would probably find this helpful, but I just couldn't handle the idea that everything you need to know is proved on page 76. There are 7 steps.
1) Introduce the main character
2) Establish the beginning stakes for the character
3) Escalate the tension for the character
4) Repeat 1-3 for any other main characters that you want to add in the synopsis. For example, in a romance you would have the male and female, or whatever roles you choose.
5) Bring the characters together, including the antagonist. where do they meet in story or what problem causes them to meet?
6) Raise the stakes even higher for the character
7) End your synopsis with a cliffhanger

All this information, you, the reader or future writer, can gather by studying the works of famous authors online. Go to Amazon and read several synopses and study them. See what they have in common and notice what stands out to you. What you like, your readers will like too. Skip this book, save some money and start writing you synopsis today with idea you gather from other works that you enjoy greatly.

I cannot recommend this book.
Profile Image for Rob. C..
Author 10 books320 followers
August 18, 2016
I don't usually read non-fiction, but I follow Bryan online and I heard him speaking at a few webinars, so I was curious to read something he wrote. Surprisingly, I read it all in one sitting and didn't feel like skipping chapters to get to the end.
This is a quick, straight to the point guide that will tell you how to make that dreaded synopsis shine so that it attracts more readers and fans. There are a few exercises he recommends doing while you're reading it, so that by the time you've reached the end of the book, your synopsis will be ready to be shared with the world.
If writing a synopsis/blurb is your biggest challenge (aka nightmare), this book will help you get through it and come back on the other side with a sizzling synopsis.
I think it's a good writing tool for both self-published authors and traditionally published ones.
Profile Image for Kara Jorgensen.
Author 18 books131 followers
April 10, 2022
How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis was the best resource on synopses that I've found.
For most authors, writing a blurb is the worst part of the process, one we'd spend good money on if we could convince someone else to write it for us.
Cohen's method is detailed yet concise with simple rules for how to improve your synopsis. It's a low-stress step-by-step guide that should help any author with a synopsis phobia. Toward the end, he also touches upon taglines, CTAs, and selling paragraphs.
If you need a little help with synopses or you're writing your first one, I'd definitely suggest checking out How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis.
Profile Image for Lyle Nicholson.
Author 14 books51 followers
April 16, 2018
I do not believe I have read a better book on this subject. Cohen gives line by line instructions on the art of writing a synopsis which many authors, myself included, have disregarded at our own peril.

This little book is really a course. Do the exercises, read it out loud and see what if you have come close to producing something that a ready will want to buy. If it sounds clunky, well, there you have it, you need to work on it. He even offers a free Facebook group of other authors who will look at your attempts.

Enough said. If you're a serious author, you need to spend the 4 bucks to buy this ebook.
March 3, 2018
Blurbs, not synopses.

The book is about writing blurbs, not synopses. That’s red flag number one.
Its not too terrible at discussing blurbs, but its not great either. For a book about writing your book’s blurb, it’s bloated and unwieldy. Entertaining and I like the author’s style, but it’s not a good fit for a reference/how to book. Id love to read a novel by him, though.
Profile Image for Amara Luciano.
Author 8 books172 followers
June 1, 2018
Informative but not enough applicable tips

Would’ve really liked to see more info on how to actually write the synopsis in few genres. Rather than bits & pieces as far as examples, I would’ve liked to see a whole one.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 166 reviews

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