I used to hate writing synopsis. Now they merely annoy me. In another ten years or so, I might even learn to like them, if I live that long. It once helped me a bit to think of them as “writing a story about a story,” which is true but redundant. Now I think of them as retelling the story to make the story sound as good as you actually think it is.
Only you’ve got 3-4 hundred words, tops. Preferably less.
What I’m really talking about is ad copy. First the book is judged by it’s cover. I know, you can’t do that…but EVERYBODY DOES. So saying you can’t is kind of pointless. It reminds me of that scene from Shogun when a daimyo does something horrible and likely illegal and the hero asks, “Can he do that?” To which the answer, of course, is “He has done it.” So it’s reality. You can argue with reality, and lord knows I’ve done my share of it, but you don’t usually win.
Next it’s judged by the description. The ad copy. The synopsis. Great books have lousy copy. You see it all the time. Does it stop the book from selling? Not if word-of-mouth or other advantages override the fact that its description sucks. Does it help? Not even a little. Does it hurt? Quite a bit. I don’t have control over the ad copy of all my books. Some of it I think is terrible. Some’s not bad. As for the rest, I’m working on it.
All writing is hard, but some is harder than others.