Friday, January 17, 2014

Comparative Titles

To compare or not to compare, that is the query question. 

  • Everyone thinks his book is unique.
  • Comparing oneself to Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games feels both pretentious and preposterous. 
  • Mentioning other books in your genre shows you’ve done your homework – by reading.
  • Complimenting other authors is gracious. 
To be honest, I’ve never compared my manuscripts to published works in any of the many queries I’ve written even though some agents request a title comparison.  

Determining the characteristics of a manuscript can be tricky. Humor is in the ear of the beholder. Saying a novel is sweet feels cloying, while describing it as edgy sounds like the author is trying too hard to be teen-like. You get my drift.

I went through my Goodreads list to search for books that share qualities with my novel. I was particularly interested in recent debut novels that had made a splash or books by established authors that were solid sellers, but not blockbusters. 

Saying something along the lines of “[My title] will appeal to readers who enjoyed [characteristic] in [novel title] by [author], [publisher, date]” is less off-putting than claiming my manuscript is the next The Da Vinci Code.

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