Been reading all the books on the hunt for perfect comps. They don’t exist. Or if they do, my eyeballs may fall out from speed reading before I manage to find one.
What I have found are books and movies that come close. They might echo the tone and/or the genre in some fashion and that has to be enough. Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself at the moment.
Don’t misunderstand me, I understand why we do it. I’ve picked up books because the comp on the cover or in the liner notes was so astounding I had to give the story a chance. I get it. BUT…standing on this side of the comp title search has given me a whole new perspective.
Pick a NYTimes Bestseller for your comp title and you look pretentious. Have THE PERFECT TITLE that is more than a few years old, you’re out of touch. Not mainstream enough and the agent will have no idea what you are relating your MS to. Even worse, say you choose something the agent loves, one of those books they read over and over…then you’ve unintentionally given yourself a giant hurtle to jump over.
There are some agents and writers who despise comp titles for all the pit falls I’ve mentioned and more.
Others LOVE the idea and won’t even look at your query if it doesn’t have them.
I’ve got thirty agents to query on Monday. Many want comps; others don’t mention them. Since I tailor each query to the agent, some letters will go out with comps and some without. Its my own real time experiment in catching someone’s attention.
Where do you fall? To comp or not to comp, that is the question.