What’s the Difference? Blurb vs. Synopsis

Blurb and synopsis. Those words are seen often in writing communities. Chances are you’ve used them yourself. But do you really know what they mean? Are they interchangeable or complete opposites? And, most importantly, are you using them correctly?

As writers, it is important we know the lingo—the vernacular associated with this profession. Unfortunately, I have seen many writers who do not know the difference between a blurb and a synopsis.

A blurb and synopsis are not the same. They’re not congruent or synonymous. They do not serve the same purpose.

What is a Blurb?

A blurb, or back cover copy, is the 100-400 word description of a book. You often see it on the back of a book, although hardcovers sometimes place them on the front flap. The purpose of a blurb is to entice the reader. It is to convince and sway them to check out, pick up, or purchase your book.

What is a Synopsis?

I’ve seen this word used quite often, too often, in place of a blurb. A writer will say, “Here’s the synopsis of my latest book!”, never realizing they’re using incorrect terminology. And if a reader knows the difference between a blurb and a synopsis, they will cringe when they see this.

Let’s first cover what a synopsis is not. A synopsis is not a blurb. It is not meant to attract potential readers. It does not go on the back of your book or in the description space on retailers and book review sites. It’s not what reviewers post when they write their reviews and include what the book is about. It is not something your readers will ever read.

That is not a synopsis’ purpose.

A synopsis is an overview of your book. They are often one to three pages long, but some publishers request up to six pages. And those aren’t necessarily double-spaced pages. A synopsis is usually used to inform an agent or traditional publisher you have an outline for your book and you are able to bring it to resolution. It tells the agent what happens at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. It tells them whether or not they want to take a chance on you.

Indie writers needn’t worry about forming a synopsis to send with a proposal, but it is a good idea to write a synopsis anyway, as doing so reveals weak spots in your plot. Don’t worry about it sounding terrible, because it will. Most writers abhor synopses (I personally prefer writing them over blurbs). It’s merely to assist you in finding weak areas in your story.

To read more about what a synopsis is (plural, synopses), go here.

In summation, a blurb is 100-400 pages long, is placed on the back of a book, and is used to entice potential readers. A synopsis is from one to six pages long and provides an overview of your plot from beginning to end.

I am beginning a new series titled, What’s the Difference, where I address the differences between anything writing-related. If you have a writing-related question that would fit into this series, or you’d like to know the difference between anything writing-related, drop a comment.


11 thoughts on “What’s the Difference? Blurb vs. Synopsis

  1. Saraina

    Ah, great post, Madisyn!! Yeah, I’ve gotten comfuzzled between those two words myself. 😀 I’m excited for this “What’s the Difference?” series, and I’ll let you know if I have any questions for it! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • K.R.Mattson

        Books are different. You could have been half asleep and as dilerious as a pig stuck in the mud when those typos happened. It now I get to correct my sisters everytime they use the wrong words. 😇 I’m liking your series already.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Madi's Musings

        I didn’t write all of SR in the late of night, so I can’t always use delirium and exhaustion as an excuse. XD Yes, that’s the fun part. Correcting sisters.

        Haha, thanks. If you have any questions, let me know. 😉


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