If you’ve polished you book and are thinking about querying agents, you’ve probably been researching query letters. It can be a scary stuff. You might have been reading sample query letters (I do this a lot) and noticed authors listing “comparative titles”.
Complete at 80,000 words, my novel PLANET DESTRUCTION will appeal fans of ENDER’S GAME and FEVER CRUMB.
PS. Um, I made that up. I haven’t written a book called “Planet Destruction”…yet. It’s tempting.
what is a “comparative title”
It’s a way of pitching your book. You find books similar to yours and compare them. Easy, right?
It’s typical and normal to find this in query letters (usually at the end). YA Highway has loads of examples of query letters (I totally recommend checking it out if you want to read queries that sold). You can see how authors compare their books to other already-published titles.
how do i figure out comparative titles for my book?
Good question. I asked myself the same one when I wrote my first query letter. The trick is to read a lot. This is another (of many) reasons why it’s super awesome to read in the genre you write.
I’ll give you some examples here. (Note: These books are ALL published.)
For a book like SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY….
Why? They’re all set back-in-time, in what would be “historical fiction” except…they’ve each thrown in something unexpected. CHANTRESS has magic sirens. RELIC has magical bones. SSaD has zombies.
isn’t it a bit presumptuous to compare my unpublished book to real books?
It might seem that way, but it’s not. It’s helpful.
For instance, if I tell you I’m writing a book called BOYBOTS (I am, just so you know, the title’s taken), and I wanted you to get a feel of what it was about? I’d say, “It’s a bit like Tomorrow, When The War Began meets Eve and Adam.”
But you do need to be cautious. Do NOT compare your books to super famous authors. Things like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Twilight are OUT. No one wants to hear a newbie squeak, “My book is the next Hunger Games!” No. Doom on you. If people later compare your book to THG, then awesome. But don’t you do it first.
cait has been re-watching pirates of the caribbean 4, and realising that captain jack sparrow can basically do whatever he wants and it will be lame and hilarious all at once. this is an art. she is also preparing to rewrite her book, finish her tbr pile, consume easter eggs, go visit an island, and listen to spanish guitars while running around a gorge. she is busy.