Published AuthorsSubmissionsReturnsGuidanceContracts & FeesContact Us



This is a short and simple “How To” guide which aims to provide some basic pointers for composing a functional synopsis and a cover letter in a most widely acceptable fashion in the industry. 



Copyrighted material.

No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission.







Your synopsis is your “movie trailer.” It’s where you raise enough interest for your work… or not.

You must pay attention that your synopsis should not be more than one A4 page. As you would not like to read statements that are so long that you forget how it started halfway down, you must be careful not to lose the attention of the Editor who is reading your synopsis. Keeping it short also pays to show that the author is capable of defining big things in small words, like critics manage to do; it counts. This is a crucial factor.

Another pointer: stick to the subject of your book only. A synopsis is not the breakdown of the chapters in a book. Sending a chapter breakdown instead of a properly formulated synopsis would probably cause your submission not to be considered from that point onward.

Think of your synopsis as a slightly extended version of a book-blurb. Remember the way you judge a book in a bookstore, looking at the book-blub and trying to have a working idea about it in order to decide if it is interesting enough to warrant your further consideration. If the initial impression were to be an unenthusiastic one, then this negative weight would undoubtedly make itself known even if you turn the cover and glance at the first page.

For “configuring” a well-founded and functional synopsis, all you need to do is to have a journalistic approach… and fulfil that crucial “5-questions-rule.” They are: “Who, When, What, How, and Why.” It may not be in this exact order, but your synopsis must answer all of these questions in a newsworthy style, concisely put in a limited available space.

It’s not difficult. You know your book, you wrote it. So, you can answer each of these questions easily; but answer them as they are being asked to you by a TV reporter and that you have only 20 seconds for each answer. Now you should be able to answer them in just one or in a few short sentences only… not more. You can definitely do that. Then the whole page will look even too big to fill.

Finally, a last but a very important note: Just like how all successful works have “their very own thing” that makes them uniquely different than many other seemingly similar works, your work also needs to have its own one, too; and, this “thing” must be “that element” that would make your work stand out in the crowd and attract the necessary attention. And if you are able to attract the attention of someone who has seen it all, then it will offer an indication that your work can possibly grasp the interest of other readers, too… of those you intend to sell your book.

Congratulations, you’ve done it!





A cover letter is the first thing an editor will see something “about you,” not only “from you.” From its syntax to its presentation, it will speak volumes.

What you are essentially doing here is a crucial move in promoting your work within the confines of few sentences. Starting from the very first line, you will introduce yourself, your work and make a case for its anticipated success.

Suppose that the letter was actually written to you. Would you be interested in the work that the letter was trying to promote? Why? What kind of element you would like to see in it that would make you suspect that this particular work could just be different from other similar examples around?  There needs to be such an element and you must emphasize it well in your cover letter, as it is one of the pillars of your case.

The technical ingredients of a cover letter cannot be simpler; the letter should address the obvious questions of the title, genre, subject, length and the target audience. You will also, surely, say a couple of words about yourself, without going into too much detail. Your brief profile and your credits in publishing, if it is applicable, will quite suffice for this initial submission stage.

There is another important point that needs to be remembered. A cover letter to a literary agent or a publisher is essentially a business letter. Therefore, when you are approaching a literary agent or a publisher, it is important to keep the format of your cover letter, in terms of its formulation and syntax, strictly in a business letter format only. It must be emphasized that you should never choose to walk down the path of unwelcomed informality, as it would not prove to be helpful to your case. What is being dealt here is the culture itself; and a man of culture is first expected to know how to address persons, entities and situations, and be able to respond to those accordingly in this complex universe of interwoven relations.

The final point to note is that golden rule: the shorter the better.


Very best of luck





Copyright © Michael Berenti Literary Management