If you are writing, or have written, a business or self-help book and want to interest a publisher or agent, you will need to write a Pitch and Synopsis.

Every publisher and agent has their own submission requirements (usually on their website), so be sure to follow these to the letter, but most will be based on the following ideas.

Your Pitch is a personal sales document from you to the interested party – sometimes it will actually be your covering or “query” letter.

It should be written in the first person (“I am…”  “My book…”). In no more than 1,000 words (fewer if it is indeed a letter), it should grab the reader’s attention immediately. You need to spell out the problem you’ve identified in your market and describe the solution(s) contained in your book. Explain how you have helped other businesses or individuals achieve what you are offering to the reader, and why you and your solution are fresh and unique. Give a strong call to action before closing.

Your Synopsis is a descriptive and objective summary of your book, and also no longer than 1,000 words (unless an individual publisher or agent says they will accept a longer one).

It should be written in the third person (“This book is…  The author is…” and explain why this book has been written now, who it is for, how the author is the best person to write it.

Outline the content in more detail here – describe the framework the book is based on. Give your word count, publication date, publisher (if known), availability. Describe a good marketing plan. Always include your contact details and website address.

Add a detailed Contents Page to your Pitch and Synopsis, and you have everything a prospective publisher, agent, editor, publicist, beta reader or media outlet could wish to know.

Here’s a quick guide or checklist for writing your Book Pitch and Synopsis – make sure you’ve answered all these questions across both documents – try not to have too much over-lapping content, or give it a different tone in each.

What? Your title and subtitle.

Why? The market’s problem; and your solution, as outlined in your book.

Who? All about you – your personal/professional story (relating to the book only), and your professional experience and expertise. This should demonstrate your credibility as the author of this book.

How? Describe your process, framework and/or model(s) for the book. Include the Contents Page as a full outline, but describe the journey you will take the reader on, and the outcome for them in the Synopsis, especially.

When? Timeline for completion, publication, launch and marketing.

Where? Your plans or ideas for marketing, promoting and selling your book.

Write your Pitch, Synopsis and Contents page early on in your writing process, as they will stand you in good stead while you’re drafting and editing – and can always be updated if things change. Versions of the Pitch can be used as a letter, email or other introduction to you and your book – including a blog post. The Synopsis will make the basis for a great press release (with author “quotes” from your Pitch) and a shortened version will be useful when you come to write your back cover blurb.

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