Desperately Seeking Synopsis

It has just occurred to me as I’m typing up my listings (still waiting, waiting, waiting for the website to be finalised) that I seem to spend most of my time searching the internet for book information, more accurately the synopsis.
The new fiction books are easy. I usually go directly to fantastic fiction and they sort me out beautifully. There is the odd occasion where the synopsis written is just a sentence long, and more about the author than the book, so I then try the publisher.
Now the publisher is a fountain of information. They will offer up just about everything I need on the book I’m listing, although I often wonder if Fantastic Fiction take their information directly from the publishers sites, because if I find I’m not getting the information I want from FF more times than not that same information is missing from the publisher too.
These methods don’t always work with second-hand novels.
When I’m listing a second-hand book, usually this is about the time I find myself wondering through the web.
I type in the author and book title and then start sifting through the responses. On many occasions I have found myself some time later trying to talk myself out of one more search. In the time it’s taken me to seach I could have just typed the blurb from the back of the book and would have been on to my 4th book by this time – but I can be a little stubborn and am determined to find that elusive information. Someone, somewhere out there in the WWW must have written something about this book. I surely cannot be the first person to write this information (well, other than the author originally).
I am also finding it a bit of a struggle adding this information to my website. Everything I’ve read about meta descriptions seems to be telling me to try and make this information different to what you’ve already written. Which isn’t a problem if the information on FF is different to what’s actually on the back of the book. Right there I have my 2 different descriptions. But when I find myself listing a book that is second-hand, printed in 1974 and the only information I can find has come from me typing it directly from the blurb – the meta description has now become a little harder to do. Perhaps I’m just thinking about this all a little too hard? But I don’t want to get it wrong and have to do it all over again. That would be a few thousand meta descriptions I’d have to change.
Slice of Chocolate cake

The worst of all books to find a synopsis for, though, has to be cookbooks. Talk about time wasting! I have a quick look inside to see what recipes I can add to the listing. Then I find one that sounds devine and I’m pretty sure I have the ingredients in the cupboard. Then I find the desserts and it’s all over. I feel that listing a cookbook is best done on a very full stomach, perhaps accompanied by a very big plate of chocolate cake to help me get through it.

8 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Synopsis”

  1. Hahahahahaha! This posting is a real hoot Amanda! Well, the first part isn’t. The time it takes to research a synopsis can be very time consuming and there is a point where one wakes up and realizes the work is paying nickles on the hour.

    But your closing paragraph had me laughing out loud and I had to share it with my wife.

    Including something about the book, besides its appearance, is important especially with a novel from yesteryear that no-one knows anything about.

    Great posting and it really made my day. But now I’m hungry. Can you fax some of that cake over?

  2. I’m a little confused about why you feel as though you have to include a synopsis with every book you’re listing. If I want to browse for books, new authors etc… I will go to the library, a bookstore (used or new, either will work) or I will look online at any number of book sites. I think that by the time a person is ready to purchase a book online, they want the condition, shipping info and payment.

    Do people simply browse a sellers website reading the synopsis of books?

    • You want to keep the customer on your site. If they’re browsing and don’t know exactly what it is they want then you need to have the information there for them. If they go looking at other websites then there’s a chance they may not make it back to yours to do the buying.

  3. I’m a little confused about why you feel as though you have to include a synopsis with every book you’re listing.

    Providing content is not just about people shopping online. It’s about giving search engines plenty of information so that when the aforementioned people are searching for books, the search engines will point them in the direction of the most relevant titles.

    The way to stand out from all the booksellers who buy databases of books and who all have exactly the same blurb is to add extra content. Search engines see that extra or different content and often give that listing a higher ranking.

    With cookbooks, I always mention where the book was published, whether measurements are in metric, imperial or both, and if I’m really stuck for something to write, I’ll list the chapters in the book.

    When I’m searching for blurbs, I use the ISBN (if the book has one) rather than title and author as it often gives more relevant results.

    Great post, Amanda.

  4. The ones that drive me up the wall are popular fiction form a few decades ago. They’ll turn up now and again in the bottom of boxes and then I’m left staring at this book covered in unhelpful reviws.

    Here’s a typical one:
    “Shrewd and courageous, boldly plotted and independently alive.. dramatic power in its description of striking events…”

    That is about as helpful as telling me the book is filled with words. Thanks.

    Online, you find no synopsis, the book has no synopsis on it, and the cover is often equally nonhelpful.

    Thus if they’re not worth a lot online, I often end up sending that particular type of book to the bargain table outside. Maybe someone will recognize the title…

  5. Ughhh! How can you possibly publish that photo without including the recipe for that cake? Maybe I shouldn’t read these posts without first having eaten. I

    If anyone can direct me I would so appreciate it.

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