Finding Comparable Books

Finding Comparable Books When you’re trying to interest an agent or publisher in your book, you’re often asked to provide “comps” — other books that could be compared to yours, or books that might compete with yours. A good book proposal always has a “Competition” or “Comparable Books” section, and even if you’re self-publishing, it helps if you give readers a frame of reference in the form of similar books.   One of the most common questions I’m regularly asked is, “How do I figure out what books to include in my comps?” People get all hung up on it, especially with fiction. Do I look for books with the same premise or plot? Same time period? Same writing style? How do I know what to include?   I’m going to make it easy...
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Utterly Original: A Rant

Utterly Original: A Rant “To my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been written. Ever. It is utterly fresh, mine and complete.” That was a line in a query I received. It’s hard to explain how this sounds to agents and editors who get pitched everything under the sun, are typically well-read, and are aware of what’s going on in the publishing marketplace. The book might be unique but not to the extent the writer seems to think. When pitching your work, you have to walk a fine line: Be confident, but don’t come off as grandiose. Stress your original and fresh voice, yet don’t be afraid to acknowledge there have been other books similar to yours, whether in plot, style, theme, whatever. Yes, you want to be unique, but you can’t make wild claims that just aren’t...
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Know Your Competition

Know Your Competition In your publication journey, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked, at some point, to provide some “comps” for your book. Why do we ask this? Why do we care? What are the advantages of writing a comprehensive “Competition” section in your book proposal, or being able to talk intelligently about other books in the same category as yours? • If you’re writing non-fiction, it shows you whether there is a hole in the market that your book can fill, or whether the topic has already been done to death (in which case, you go back to the drawing board and tweak your idea so that it takes a different approach or says something different than what everyone else is saying; or say it in a totally different way). • If you’re writing fiction, it...
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