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Choosing Comp Titles?


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#1 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:33 PM

Thoughts on this? 

 

 I've heard that you should choose two books in your genre to show that you read in your genre and that you're familiar with it and its market.

 

Beyond that, are there more specific guidelines that folks adhere to?

 

For example, I have one comp title that engages with themes similar to those in my story, while the other is more similar in writing style and tone than theme. Both engage with similar tropes and fall into the same sub-genre.

 

I also read an agent tweet that said that comp titles should be no more than 3-5 years old. One of my comps is over ten years old, but I'm reluctant to ditch it because it's otherwise such a great fit. 

 

What's your strategy for choosing comp titles for your query? 



#2 jphollis

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 10:35 PM

I wouldn't say comp titles even have to be books, per se. And if the age thing is true, I'm screwed. One of my comp titles is The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is the oldest literature known to man.

 

There are many blog posts about this very suggestion. The esteemed Janet Reid has one here. Here is another one from querytracker.net.


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#3 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:51 AM

Thanks! 

 

The age thing was based off of one agent tweet I read, so I'd probably take it with a grain of salt. Maybe old books are her pet peeve or something. 



#4 Nonicks

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:53 AM

I read somewhere that comp titles should be similar in writing style. 



#5 Gibber

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 04:42 PM

My agent-landing manuscript (cause I have several) is a YA fantasy, and I think I said something like, "The ruthlessness of Red Rising meets the creepfest sorcery of the movie, The Witch." I just went for vibe.



#6 Kat_A_Turner

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:25 PM

Maybe I'm overthinking it. It's like I have one that is near perfect in tone and trope, but it's twelve years old. I found a super recent one that fits in a lot of ways, but it wasn't as popular as the older title. I like the go for vibe approach, Gibber, and the way you qualified why each title fits seems like a smart move. 

 

And congrats on multiple agent landing manuscripts. That's freaking sweet!



#7 LucidDreamer

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 07:52 AM

I never used comp. titles, because I could not find a good enough match. Never seemed to matter.



#8 Thrash

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 12:25 PM

After I read that Reid article a while ago, I started adding adjectives to my comps, ie "readers who enjoy the emotional focus of Tana French and the scientific twists of Frank Thilliez" to be specific.  But that was also one of my "cut lines".  I had a slightly longer query for those agents who were query-only, and a shorter one who asked for multiple materials upfront, had a form, etc. 



#9 Niambi

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:02 PM

It's hard to have a set guideline for comps.  When I did query, I found that I did get faster rejections (by that I mean they at least READ my query) by adding comps.  

 

I did use comps that were of similar genres, but also similar in content and relevance.  One of my novels addresses the same issues brought up and made popular by Chinua's "Things Fall Apart" but my MS is definitely not the same genre as that great novel.



#10 dmsimone

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 12:11 PM

Both of my comp titles are older (10-15 year range) but I use them before they are excellent fits.

I have heard the same thing - that you want something in the last 3-5 years.

 

I intend to spend some time at the bookstore to find some comparisons that are more appropriate.

 

I also Google the heck out of an agent I intend to query. Some don't necessarily want comp titles, some do, and some don't have an official position on the topic.



#11 Erevos

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

Hello everyone,

 

This is my first post here, though I've been reading AQ for quite some time.

 

I've also read that when it comes to picking comp titles it's best to avoid books that are a category of their own e.g Harry Potter..etc.. but at the same time they have to be best-sellers. Honestly, I feel like I'm forced to find a needle in a haystack.

 

My initial problem was that my book has a lot in common with the series A Song of Ice and Fire, not only in multiple POVs but also when it comes to hostility between realms and noble houses (though to a lesser extent). Finally after much consideration I decided to leave the series in my query and hope for the best. The new book by Martin is coming (so it falls perfectly into the 3-5 y.o) and also it's bound to become a best-seller.

 

If someone has a different opinion, I'll gladly hear it..(or, you know, read it)


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#12 bigblackcat97

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 11:06 PM

When it comes to comp titles you can totally use older ones if they are highly recognizable. So, for example when I'm pitching my stuff at school visits I use "mashups" instead of comp titles, which is the same idea, but as someone said above, not restricted to books.

 

For example, my Gothic historical set in an insane asylum deals with the beginnings of criminal psychology, profiling, and serial killers as well. So I call it, American Horror Story (Season 2) meets Sherlock.

 

Using older titles: I'm working on a book about a high schooler who gets shit faced at a party and ends up lost in the Appalachian woods. I'm calling it "Drunk Hatchet With A Girl." Obviously that's not a good way to pitch to an agent, but it's an example of an old title that's still relevant.


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#13 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 11:51 PM

Both of my comp titles are older (10-15 year range) but I use them before they are excellent fits.
I have heard the same thing - that you want something in the last 3-5 years.
 
I intend to spend some time at the bookstore to find some comparisons that are more appropriate.
 
I also Google the heck out of an agent I intend to query. Some don't necessarily want comp titles, some do, and some don't have an official position on the topic.


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