The Telemachus Press Blog


I received a great question from a wonderful new author recently. He has written a legal thriller that will be out in a couple of months. 

This was his question:

Hello Joanne,

                I note in the following language that at some point in time, I'm to provide two summaries of the book, described as a 400 character summary and a 4000 character summary. 

                Can you give me the context of these summaries, i.e., for what purpose will they be used, and what specific suggestions, if any, do you have relative to the content/slant of each of these two summaries?  If I have some free time, I may start on these two summaries.  Your suggestion would be much appreciated.   No rush in your reply.  Thanks, Tim.

 Here is my response:

Hi Tim,

The reason we ask for 400 character and 4000 character synopses is because the different e-platforms have different specifications for a summary of your book. Amazon, for example, gives the author a lot of room to write about his book, while other sites like Smashwords may not allow as big of a space. So, getting the different synopses helps us when we set up your e-accounts.

As for the POD, we will use what you give us to form the blurb on the back cover, with your final approval, of course. 

You will also be able to use these synopses, especially pieces of them, when you market your books.

There are different schools of thought as to what should go into these synopses. Some people try to pepper them with words that will appear on search engines. For example, a legal book like yours might attract attention with buzz words like law, legal, murder, kill, sex, etc. 

Other people, such as myself, try and write the best pitch possible to try and grab the reader who we think might be interested in our books. 

In my book called Wicked Good, I feel my audience are women with children, people who are familiar with autism, people who are family oriented. So this is the start of my blurb on Amazon: "A single mom struggles to solve the puzzle of a son with Asperger's syndrome in this touching, winsome comic melodrama." (It's actually a quote from a Kirkus review).

My book, The Lantern, is historical fiction so I try and attract readers who like this genre by starting with this: "In The Lantern, a Renaissance Mystery, a 21st century American woman searches to learn the truth about the 15th century mysterious Italian girl who dared to compete with the most famous artists of the Renaissance." 

And in Make Your Own Luck, a murder mystery, I begin: "Make Your Own Luck, a Remy Summer Woods mystery, is the unforgettable and moving novel of a young attorney who refuses to believe thirteen-year-old Bonita Pickney killed her father, Patrick Pickney, despite her insistence of guilt."

I would go to Amazon and search for books that you think are similar genres to your book and see what those authors have written. Each author has an Amazon page, which you will have too, so you can just put in the author's name and go to their page, or put in the name of a book if you have one in mind.

I hope this is helpful.



Posted in: Self-Publishing