How to Find Compelling Comps for Your Book | Jane Friedman - Deepstash

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Jane Friedman says...

  • If you can’t find any, you are probably looking for too similar of a comp. Look at aspects of a work that relate to yours- style/voice, themes, plot, or character quality/journey.
  • Focus your search on the last few years. You can go back up to ten years if absolutely necessary but if you do, pair the older comp with something more contemporary.
  • Try to find a comp that will show where you’re positioned in today’s literary landscape. 

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Carly Watters(literary agent at P.S. Literary) says...

  • No comp is better than a poor comp.
  • It’s OK to use film/TV , authors or podcasts as comps
  • Find at least one comp.
  • The comp can be a bestseller, but if a book has become ubiquitous, it is too popular to be a comp.
  • You can use the following formulations to talk about your comps: “This (x) meets that (y)” or “in the tradition of” or “Like Y, my novel.”
  • What category/genre and where your book fits in the publishing world. How would your book be pitched?

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Janet Reid (aka Query Shark) says...

  • Comps are a shorthand for which the bookshelf it belongs in and who your reader is
  • Research using books published in the last 2yrs which are similar in plot/tone to yours?“[TITLE] will appeal to readers of ... and evokes the story of ...”
  • Describe what aspect of the book is comparable to yours: the tone, the multiple points of view, the style, etc.
  • Once there’s a movie, assume the book is not a good comp. Alsoif the author has 20+ bestsellers. only use it if it's a success or a phenomenon

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Star Wuerdemann says...

  • I looked at my own bookshelves.
  • I asked librarians after telling them about my book.
  • I asked other writers, especialy writer friends
  • Goodreads and Amazon
  • I researched the last three years of “best of” lists.
  • I researched debut books of the last three years in my genre.
  • I checked out a ton of books
  • I considered what books I would expect my readers to be reaching for and thought about why—then applied this to my search.
  • Websites for my search next time: BookBrowse and Literature-Map.

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