Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What Is Your Book Comparable To?

One thing that helps an agent or editor out, when reading a submission, is knowing how your story compares to other books out there. By making a comparison to your book, it gives the reader a sense of your voice, plot or style of your book, without actually reading the story. If you think about it, we use comparisons all of the time in our daily life to get a point across.

And yet... too many authors really screw this part up in the query letter. There are really two reasons for this screw up, but both reasons relate to the authors and the books they use.

The first case involves picking authors or titles that are so obscure, even major literature majors would have no clue who you are talking about. Although your book may be a perfect match to this other title, if your reader doesn't know who you are talking about, the comparison is useless. Please remember, just because you are submitting to editors and agents, and yes, they do read, it does not mean they read everything under the universe.

The second case, and this one just happened over the weekend, is an author comparing their work to classics. For the author this last weekend, this person was claiming their book rivaled C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Although this author might like to have their book at that level, the author now has to have writing that rivals that level. For many authors, this is going to be extremely difficult.

So how do you find that happy medium? Let's say that you want to compare formats of your book to that of another author. You could simply say, "In my book, I utilized the diary format, very similar to the Princess Diaries." In this way, you give us something to work with, and not going to the level of saying you are equal to Meg Cabot.

Have fun writing today!

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