Without an effective lead generation funnel, book-selling platform, or book promotion campaign, it’s near-impossible to attract readers and convert them into book sales. It’s an essential component of your digital marketing strategy, and your main opportunity to find and reach your ideal readers.
Your book promotion campaigns should help drive potential customers from attention to action. So, if executed correctly, a book summary is a smart way that can bring extraordinary results in a short amount of time.
What is a book summary?
A summary of a book is a synopsis or digest of all its main points. It should be a shorter version or an abstract of its main arguments or topics – depending on the type of book. It should capture the purpose of the book and include the most important parts of the original. Smaller details and illustrative examples will not be included.
The summary should re-cast and express the original material in the authors own words. It is not enough to quote parts of the original text. That would be a collection of extracts rather than a summary.
A summary should be a reasonable and impartial account of the original, without intruding on any bias or value judgements. If you add your own opinions, it will become a book review rather than a summary.
Why should I write a book summary?
Business people use such summaries to save time by avoiding having to read the entire book in detail, while still getting a precise summary of the essential important points covered in the book. Such book summaries are also used by college and university students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to help them fast-track their studies.
How Long Should a Book Summary be?
Keep in mind that you are writing a book summary, not re-writing the book itself.
Before beginning writing your book summary, you will want to make sure to list all of the essential characters, places, and events that occur while leaving some of the ‘filler’ sections.
[page limit÷number of chapters=number of summary pages]
This may not apply to you if you do not have a page limit, but I still use it in order to keep my readers engaged by giving concise sections.
Our goal is to have our app users be able to read through your book summary in less than 15 minutes.
So, to re-iterate the beforementioned format, if you have a 15-page limit and there are 150 pages in the book, then you would want to have ten sections per page.
How to Structure a Book Summary?
This one is a little tricky, as it is up to you how you want to format your book summary.
What I have found to be the best format is to go section at a time, with one section introducing the main characters before you delve into the story that the author is telling.
For instance, if the book has 15 chapters, then you should have 16 sections of your book summary, one for introductions of the characters, setting, and theme, and the other 15 summarizing each chapter.
Additionally, you can add a section at the end working as a conclusion, but in some cases, this may not be necessary. If you are the type of person that does like to add your two cents, this would be the section to do so.
What are the Best Steps to Write a Summary?
Before writing a book summary, the first step is, of course, to reread the book. Then, try to summarize in your own words what has just happened per chapter, or all of the important paths that the writer took in telling their story.
By doing this in your head, it helps to solidify what you learned, which makes your brain store all of the important knowledge.
Below are the steps you should take to write a compelling book summary.
Write Small Summaries for Each Chapter
By writing small summaries for each chapter, it helps your brain to store the information that you just learned, as well as make your final project easier, by working as you go along.
If you are reading a lot of information in a small amount of time, it is easy to forget sections towards the start of the book. By creating a summary for yourself as you read and take notes, it makes it easier to read those summaries when completing the final project.
This way, if there is a section that you need to change while fine-tuning your book summary, you can come back to a part that you have already summarized and made changes as required.
This process also makes it easier to organize your thoughts later on; for instance, if you are reading your final summary and realize there is a section that should be expanded up or condensed, you can go back to the section summary and do so.
Bullet the Key Points
While this can go along with the step above of summarizing key points, you will want to make sure that in these sectional summaries that you bullet vital points that happened.
This will make sure that you are not just looking at a wall of text, as your brain is able to comprehend small, important parts of information much easier.
While the key points will be different on each book you summarize, a good practice is to bullet the following:
- main characters,
- what action they took
- and what happened as a result of this action
Additional key points and information that you may want to bullet is
- Main or secondary characters that were introduced
- secondary actions that took
- any seemingly small “ripples” that have happened, that may have conflicts or solutions later in the text
Additionally, once you are fine-tuning the book summary as a whole, it would be a good idea to bullet the key points.
How you structure this is entirely up to you; by choosing to bullet key points section at a time, or towards the end of the summary may be beneficial to reaching your target audience.
Write your Full Summary
At this point in your writing process, you can begin to write your full summary. If you have followed the sections listed above, then you will already know the important parts of each section and have these details in bullet points.
From this point, it is just about adding all of the information together in a cohesive format that makes sense.
Keep in mind that you will want to avoid rambling, and should give the most important information. (Remember, you are not writing a book, but summarizing one that has already been written).
By using useful information that is kept to the point and concise, you can grasp your reader’s attention and give them the information about the book that they need.
A book summary can be a great way to solidify knowledge of a book you’re reading and can be used to skim over crucial points later on.
Use the steps we discussed to write your future book summaries.