PageToFame How to Write a Short Summary

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Sum it up

Along with your first page, voters will be shown a short summary of your book idea. The summary should be one or two sentences long, and tell readers just enough about your book to make them want to see more.

What makes a good summary?

A good summary will give readers just enough information about your book idea to get them excited about reading the whole thing. It should be brief, clear, well-written, and should show (rather than tell) readers that your book idea is unique and interesting. Leave readers with questions that can only be answered by reading your book. If possible, let your readers know why your book is timely, and why you are the ideal person to write it—but steer clear of over-hyping or boasting, which may be off-putting to potential readers.

Check out a few hypothetical examples of great—and not so great—summaries below.

Book Instead of... Try...
The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss The best children’s book ever. Great illustrations, too! Check it out. Sally and her brother are home alone, and it looks like another boring, rainy day…until an unexpected visitor shows up and threatens to turn everything on its head!
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger At the beginning of this book, the main character gets kicked out of boarding school. He takes a train to New York. When he gets there, he finds a hotel to stay at. Then he meets these three girls. They all go out dancing. Later he goes to his parents’ house while they’re not there. He talks to his sister for a while. (And so on…) After getting kicked out of boarding school, Holden Caulfield is set adrift. In this stream-of-conscious narration, readers come along with Holden as he searches for connection and authenticity in New York City.
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie If you want to be a more successful businessman, you should read this book. Relationships are everything. This book explores how good interpersonal skills can be the building blocks for success in every arena of life.
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac Just a book I wrote about a trip I took. Hope you like it. What do you get when you set a rambling man free with $50 in his pocket? Based on my real-life experiences traveling America in the 1940s, this book chronicles the adventures of my restless alter-ego Sal Paradise and the men and women he meets “on the road.”
The Origin of the Species, by Charles Darwin I can’t really sum this up in a few sentences—it’s complicated. You really just have to read the book. Why are there so many different kinds of plants and animals on the planet—each perfectly adapted to its unique environment? This book, based on my years of research, observation, and cross-continental travel, will challenge everything you think you know about life on Earth.