How to Write a Nonfiction Book SummaryWriting a non-fiction summary
What is the best way to write a nonfiction summary?
Guestwriter, blogsger and editors Sam Jordison will chat how to write a non-fiction summary. He is the creator of Galley Beggar Press, writer of five novels and a regular contributor to The Guardian. It is quite possible that your book summary is the first thing an agency or journalist will read. You write it well, you've won half the fight.
It is the part of your playing field that enables you to efficiently market your idea. It is a place to capsule all the good in your book and put it in the best possible perspective. There is also a good possibility that your summary is the last thing an agency or journalist will do.
It' difficult to know what to write - and difficult to know how to write it. Produce a consummate inquiry brief and a brillant summary. Every book is different and if certain publishing houses have established rules, then of course you have to do so. Nevertheless, as a rudimentary clue, most book suggestions will be composed of:
It must contain a brief book descriptive text, a brief pitch for the book (why the book is necessary) and a brief explanation of your authoritative power to write this book or your publishing system (your capacity to send it on-line, etc.). Firstly, it is difficult to reduce all the lessons of work, research and inspirations to the fast, foamy summary needed to get the attentions of a time-critical, probably dull writer (who has already seen a dozen other synopsis this morning).
When you are like me and have a shadow of too much British restraint, it is difficult not to be tactless when you blow your own hurly. They' re just not gonna be overlooked. There is nothing else but gritting your teeth, trying to think about your work as objective as possible and explaining what is important to you and why it is profitable to do so.
There' re a time when you can get away with a brief suggestion. You have a fairly specialized area of technology (e.g. blog marketing); you have clear skills for the role at stake (e.g. if you run the UK's largest website on your subject); your success shows that you know how to put a phrase together (e.g. with any kind of journalists or any kind of routine good, clear and professionally written job).
So if your book is a non-fiction book for the general public - Dava Sobel's Longitude or Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion - then you won't get away with a no-no. Most importantly, your summary is not just a summary, but a summary that is selling.
It is important to give a clear picture of what the book says and what it is about, but you don't have to stuff every detail. To give a thorough review of the screws and nuts in your book and the way they all go together, you should consider a seperate summary of chapters.
It is your task to tell a tale about why your book is readable and why you are the right one to write it. They must be entertaining, interesting and (if it is this kind of book) amusing. That is, a section that quickly presents the book and why it might be interesting, a number of other points that illustrate its value, and who probably wants to see it (and preferably how many million of these readers there are) - and then a clearly delineated deduction that packs things up or (even better) makes the readers crave for more.
Reviewing a book is the best thing to do if you are looking for a model. Good reading doesn't tell you everything in the book - it highlights the things that are likely to make you want to do. A good book critic is also very good at selecting the parts of a book that give the best idea of its value.
It will take a while to rewrite, but if you have what it took to write commercially available non-fiction, you will know how to write a non-fiction summary. Produce a consummate inquiry brief and a brillant summary.