Why I Like Writing My Own Book Summaries for the Blog

Why I Like Writing My Own Book Summaries for the Blog

Many book bloggers use the summary from the publisher when writing book reviews. When possible, however, I prefer to write my own. Here are four reasons why.

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1

I Can Make Summaries Short and to the Point

A paragraph of six to eight sentences is sufficient for me to decide whether I am interested in the premise of a book. Yet so many official summaries seem to be several paragraphs long! I don’t want to feel as if I have read the whole book after just reading the summary. As a result, I like to write my own summaries that are usually only a few sentences.

2

I Can Avoid Spoilers

This point goes with the one above. Really lengthy summaries often reveal almost everything that happens in the book. Some even casually drop plot twists. But I do not want to go into a new story already knowing that Character Z was just faking their own death or that Character Y will be betrayed by their lover. A few sentences hitting the main, non-spoilery points will do just fine. When I write my own summaries, I can take more care to ensure that major plots twists are not revealed.

I Can Try for Greater Accuracy

Sometimes official summaries can be misleading or say that something happens in the book–when it does not. For instance, somewhere I have a copy of Rainbow Valley with a cover that promises, from what I remember, that the protagonists try to save a chicken from being cooked for supper. They don’t. (Spoiler Alert!) The children simply arrive to supper to find the chicken already cooked. (End spoiler!) So when I write summaries, I like to try to say what actually happens in the book, instead of fudging events to make them sound more dramatic, or trying to, say, make a book sound like a detective novel when, at its heart, it really isn’t.

four

I Can Reuse the Summaries

When I write my own summaries for book reviews, I can reuse those same summaries later for other posts–for example, if I make a list of recommended titles based around a similar topic. Using the official summaries for lists is not ideal because they are so long! I doubt most people want to read a list of titles where every title listed has five paragraphs of summary. Having short summaries ready to go for new posts makes blogging much more efficient.

Do you write your own book summaries? Why or why not?

33 thoughts on “Why I Like Writing My Own Book Summaries for the Blog

  1. kat says:

    With the exception of one or two, I’ve always written my own summaries. It started with being unsatisfied with the descriptions of the first few books I reviewed and I decided I could write more accurate summaries that actually told readers what the book was about. Sometimes I find it difficult or time consuming to come up with my own, but I find myself skipping over the copy and pasted descriptions in the reviews I read, so I figure why bother changing what I do.

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, sometimes I use the official summaries when I don’t have much time. But I usually skip over the official ones when I read a review, so I imagine people are skipping them when I put them up! XD

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol says:

    Maybe not in my very first few reviews, but I always write my own summaries. The official ones can be too long, contain spoilers, or include misleading info. Writing my own helps me focus my thoughts for the review.

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    • Krysta says:

      So true! It seems to me that official summaries just keep getting longer and longer. I’ve started reading only the first paragraph or two on the jacket when I pick up a new book because I don’t need a novella on what I’m about to read. And then I can avoid spoilers, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Zbestbooks says:

    I always write my own summaries too- I love doing it and it means I can highlight certain themes and plot lines which aren’t in the official summary. I sometimes include sections from the blurb if it’s non spoilery but otherwise I use my own ideas. Since I don’t get many views I’ve decided to comment more on my favourite blogs so I’m starting that now!

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    • Krysta says:

      Yes, that’s true! I sometimes write a totally different summary from the official one because, to me, the book is really more about X than about Y.

      Commenting around is a great way to meet new bloggers! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  4. Jenny Mcclinton says:

    I try to write my own summaries for some of the same reasons you do. I feel sometimes that they give a bit too much away sometimes, so I like to keep them short and to the point and add a bit of mystery to them too 😊

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  5. JdV says:

    I much prefer to write my own summaries but I do find it difficult to just summarise rather than writing out the whole plot so sometimes I default back to just using the blurb on the back cover!

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    • Krysta says:

      Sometimes the official summaries leave me baffled. Like they promise a romance, but there’s actually just some vague unrequited longing. Which, to me, is pretty different!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hannah says:

        I totally agree with this. Although for me, often many summaries of books I read don’t mention any romance?? But it usually ends up with romance becoming the main part of the plot…

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        • Krysta says:

          That is true! Sometimes I’m reading a fantasy or a dystopian book and all I can think is, “The world is ending and you have to fight a battle to save all of humanity, and you are spending all your waking moments wondering about your crush?? Focus, girl! Save the world now! Kiss later!” XD

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  6. Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

    I prefer to write my own summaries, too, and for the same points that you mentioned. Often, the official summaries from Goodreads or whatever are too long or reveal spoilers about the book. Or sometimes they seem to be summarizing a different story altogether.

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    • Krysta says:

      Is it just me, or have summaries been steadily getting longer? Because I really thought they used to be just a paragraph or two, now they’re like four to five paragraphs!

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      • Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

        It seems like they are, yes. I have no idea why. And they have migrated out of the books lately to be replaced by blurbs by some guy from some newspaper. Like I care what Bob Smith thinks about it. Just give me a paragraph summary!

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  7. Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    I also like to add few of my own sentences about book as summary in review and I usually make it for first couple of chapters, a brief how it started and where that’s going without giving away and what interested me from that. I think that makes it easy for readers and also like you said doesn’t mislead readers. I also don’t like synopsis that has more than 3 or 4 paragraphs. Great post!

    Like

  8. Linda I PagesandPapers says:

    I always write my own summaries too! It gives me more freedom to focus on the plot elements I think are most important to understanding what’s the story about. Also from a reader‘s perspective, I prefer reading reviews with individualised summaries because they always have a more personal touch

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  9. Charvi says:

    Completely agree with your points! I used to wrote my own summaries for some of these reasons but lately I’m so lazy I usually just copy paste the Goodreads summary to save time, especially if I need to include summaries of multiple books in the same post 🙈

    Like

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