Book Review: How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis

As a filmmaker who has become a published author, I continue to seek out information that will help me grow as a writer. One of the main things I continue to dive into is anything that will help me reach out and connect with my target audience. Marketing is a pretty major thing whether you’re starting out or you’ve been at things for years.

sizzleI recently read Bryan Cohen’s Kindle book How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good. The ebook is short but chalked full really insightful steps writers can take in developing and polishing a really compelling and effective blurb that can attract readers. As I read through the book I sought to apply what Cohen advises writers to do by revising the blurb for my first novel, Unidentified, which is currently out on Kindle and paperback. I kept a file with each new draft so I could see how my blur evolved with each exercise at the end of each chapter. Toward the end of the book, Cohen also invites readers to join the Facebook group he started as a collaborative forum for authors to be able to help each other with marketing and selling their books. I hopped on there and shared my developing blurb and got some great feedback that helped me continue the polishing process.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “but I’m a filmmaker, not a novelist,” please don’t be too quick to dismiss this post as not relevant to you. I can say with confidence that what I’ve learned through the process of reading this book and revising my novel’s blurb several times will be quite applicable to any short synopsis I need to write for my short films and any pitch material I develop for feature film projects. Cohen’s book really helped me see the craft and purposeful art that goes into writing a compelling blurb that engages the reader quickly and on an emotional level that peaks one’s curiosity to find out what happens to these compelling characters they’ve just been introduced to. So, even if you’re not a novelist, I still think there’s a lot you can gain by reading How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis.

Now, I’ll leave you with a tangible example what I learned in reading this book by sharing with you two versions of the blurb for my novel (which is also a feature film currently in development), UnidentifiedFirst, I give you the version I had on Amazon before reading Cohen’s book. Finally, I’ll share the latest version so you can see how it changed.

Old Version:

One year ago, a boy mysteriously vanished after claiming to have been abducted by extraterrestrial beings multiple times. No trace of him has ever been found.

Now, Boston-based Special Agent for the FBI, Nicole Mitchell, is brought back from administrative leave when a girl in the same New Hampshire town also claims to have been abducted. Disturbing similarities connect the girl’s case to the missing boy Mitchell failed to find a year ago.

Certain that someone is manipulating victims by using the powerful suggestion of UFOs and the alien abduction scenario in order to kidnap these kids, Mitchell enlists the help of paranormal debunking psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Evans. But who among the locals knows the truth? Is it the girl’s parents, the peculiar new pastor in town, the local police? As the case unfolds, Mitchell and Evans are confronted with a much darker and far more sinister reality than they ever expected. But can Mitchell shake off her own dark past in time to help this girl? Nothing could have prepared any them for what they are about to encounter.

New Version:

Unidentified Kindle CoverTroubled FBI Agent Nicole Mitchell is brought back from administrative leave and offered a second chance to solve her most haunting case. A disturbing series of kidnappings has a small town terrified. Mitchell is certain that a serial kidnapper is exploiting local fears of UFOs and stories of alien abductions to hide in plain sight. Desperate to uncover the truth, Mitchell enlists the help of a skeptic who questions even her theory.

In three days, a local girl will vanish for good. As Mitchell rushes to solve the case in time, she uncovers a far more sinister reality than she ever imagined. Mitchell must shake off her own dark past if she’s going to save the girl. But could this case be her undoing?

Mikel J. Wisler’s debut novel blends sci-fi and horror in ways fans of the darkest episodes of The X-Files are sure to enjoy while looking at UFOs in a new way. As an indie filmmaker turned novelist, Wisler is prepping to make Unidentified into a feature film. Buy the Unidentified novel today and help the movie get made.

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Mikel J. Wisler

About Mikel J. Wisler

Mikel J. Wisler is an award-winning filmmaker who has written, produced, and directed several short films that have played at festivals, gaining both nominations and awards, as well as international distribution since 2005. In 2012, Wisler teamed up with Kristina and Dominic Stone Kaiser to create Stories by the River.

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