If the purpose of the cover is to catch the eye of a potential buyer, then the back blurb it what keeps the book in their hands. This part of the book is commonly referred to as the ‘Blurb or Synopsis’. However, if someone asks you about your book do you recite your blurb to them or do you give them a rendition of the book as you know it. I would suggest you do neither but something in between.

This is something I stumbled across – which I now call SYN and SUM.

After spending hours writing and fine tuning my blurb, I then realized it sounded kind of corny (to my ears) to use this when describing my book to my friends and family. So, I sat down and devised a little exercise to help me describe my book in less than 200 words (easy enough).

The setting: You are at a family gathering of about a dozen people, enjoying a selection of delicious dishes and beverages. Everyone is busy catching up, the room is rowdy and getting an individual to yourself is premium. You know the person next to you isn’t really a reader, but they ask, ‘What is your book about?’

You have only a few minutes to make a lasting impression of your book. What do you say?

To be able to answer this question without hesitation I did what I affectionately call Syn and Sum. (This is for my book ‘Test of Balance’.)

Syn (synopsis)

Evil walks the land un-checked and ignorance can no longer save her.

Abandoned at birth, Laina and Drake Larsen live a happy, unassuming life in the remote mountainous Middle Vale, far from the growing turmoil spreading across Endari. But Laina’s source energy is awakening and the protection that once hid her from vengeful eyes is lifting. The magic of her family will soon become a beacon for the hunters sent from Penterra to kill her.

Relentlessly pursued by their enemies,Drake is forced to accept guidance from the Oracle Elarn, whom he does not entirely trust but Laina’s life is at stake, and they fight an enemy they can’t see. Accompanied by their best friend Ashwin Valla, they flee their home for Iradess Temple. A dangerous journey that will change them.

The Test of Balance is her only hope of survival.

(141 words)

SUM (summary)

Test of Balance is a story of self-discovery, friendship and trust, set in the fantasy world of Endari.

It’s about twice orphaned siblings Drake and Laina Larsen, who were secretly hidden in the town of Middle Vale, where they were guided and protected by the Oracle Elarn. However, Laina’s powers are awakening, and this energy will soon draw their enemies like a beacon. Where ignorance once safe guarded them, it now threatens their lives.

Their families nemeses eventually finds and attacks Laina, forcing them to flee Middle Vale accompanied by their best friend Ashwin Valla. The trio head for Trendar, to attend the Test of Balance because only then will Laina achieve her full power, enabling her to protect those she loves.

(117 words) This is my SUM. I have used it on more than one occasion, and it opened the door for more in-depth questions which I gladly answered.


SYN is concise while SUM is more conversational. SYN eventually formed the foundation of my Book Blurb and SUM helps me deliver a general overview of my book without delving too deeply into specific events.

I recently experienced an identical situation to the SUM scenario and I’m sure a little smirk crossed my face: “I got this.”  I felt so cool leading with my SUM, expanding where necessary. It’s worked amazingly well. It’s got people excited and interested in my book.

Give it a try. It works.

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