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Comp Help!


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#1 cmmg

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 12:39 PM

One of my biggest issues with finding comp titles is that my book has robots but is near future. (I'm not sure if I can just say "with the tone of this sci-fi book! BUT IMAGINE, ROBOTS!") but at the same time it combines an aspect of fantasy, and while science-fantasy is popular with short stories, there aren't many books about it yet in YA.

 

But the main issue is that the other books that are comparable comps are god awful. Like, they're so bad. I wrote my own book sort of as a response to issues I say with previous books, but I don't want to use a book that I hated/was terrible as a comp. And I can't say "the premise of this book, but improved because that one sucked."

 

Is it a sign of weakness that my genre/plot isn't something currently prevalent in the genre I'm in? Or do I spin it as being unique. Or is it best just to use TV comparisons?


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#2 spineofiron

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 01:33 PM

I think one thing that's important to consider in comp titles isn't just the plain comparisons, i.e. that it's got robots or ninjas or what have you. Comp titles can also be about the more subtle things: strong heroines, fast pacing, sibling bonds, etc.

 

So if your book has a strong sibling aspect, for instance, but it's got robots, and then there's another book you like with strong sibling relationships but it's got space pirates, that's a perfectly fair comp title. And then maybe there's a strict science-fiction book that doesn't have any magic, but it has the sort of fast pacing that you believe is in your own, and it's got a sibling aspect as well. Go ahead and jump on that one. Then you would just say, "It will appeal to fans of strong sibling rivalries and fast pacing, like BOOK TITLE by Author X and ANOTHER TITLE by Author Y."

 

Don't use TV comparisons. Books and TV are their own separate beasts. But you can be slightly looser with strict comparisons -- just because your comp title doesn't have robots, and your own book does, doesn't mean you can't use it. Thing about what's at the heart of your story and select titles based on that.


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#3 NCruz

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 02:41 PM

Ask your beta readers/CPs for comps.
 
Imagine your book on a shelf at a retailer. What other books are on the same shelf?
 
You might think there aren't many books about it in YA, but the reality is that your categorization is too narrow. Spread it out.
 
Some agents like TV comps, but it's really a preference thing you'll have to research before you query. Ideally, comps should be recently published books.


#4 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 02:45 PM

I too am having issues finding approproate comps for my story, so I've adopted the mindset of "no comps are better than shit comps."  You don't need comps, unless an agent says so specifically.  I have read that some agents say they don't mind movie or video game comps, but it's so select, I wouldn't risk it.



#5 smithgirl

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 03:50 PM

I started querying my second book with no comps (because my books are unusual and I have a difficult time find comps). Then, while my querying was underway, I read a book that was a great comp. I added it to my query: no difference. Then, amazingly, I read a second book that was a good comp so I added that one, too: again, no difference. So I queried with no comps, one comp, and then two comps. These were very recent books that were well written and had good sales. It was the perfect experiment. Thus, I agree with Mr. Disgruntled: If you can think of good comps then add them -- if they are good they will help the agent see where your book might fit in the world. But if you don't really like what you can find, then don't add them just because, unless the particular agent absolutely requires it.

 

Your query (the actual meat of your query) sells the story: Does they agent like it? Most important: Do they think they can SELL it? Yes comps are good, but they are not make or break.



#6 cmmg

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 04:28 PM

I did ask beta readers but they all had trouble. I'll try to see if I can find good ones, but I'm always sort of scared not to use comps. But of course, then when you have comps, how do you know they're good. A dilemma to be sure.


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#7 smithgirl

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Posted 22 April 2018 - 07:46 PM

I find the comp thing rather challenging. When you can think of good comps then of course it's great to add them. It's when you can't that things get difficult. I think quite a few people struggling with this issue.



#8 NCruz

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Posted 23 April 2018 - 07:30 PM

You'll know it's a great comp when you feel it. If you can't feel it, drop it. Bad and decent comps are worse than no comps, but if you have a great comp, that can work in your favor.



#9 smithgirl

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Posted 24 April 2018 - 03:55 PM

Just saw this on Twitter at #askagent

 

Replying to @TyeTyson

No comp is better than an inaccurate comp. But we do like them if you've got them, since it helps us figure out market positioning, etc. If you have a crit group, ask them for comp help. #askagent

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