If there's one thing about writing proposals that stumps me, it's the section for comp titles.
At a writers' conference, an editor at a top publishing house even asked me what the comp titles were for my project. What? Of course, in that moment, I was overthinking. Did I really just tell her I write like Carla Laureano!? Becky Wade!? It felt really weird to say that out loud.
But that's not what it's about. Not really.
Comparable titles, comparison titles, competition titles -- whatever they're called -- are the published novels that give editors a feel for your work's place in their lineup and in the current market (hopefully, if you explain them well). Obviously I have yet to land a publishing deal and welcome dialogue from those who know more about what they're doing, but from what I understand, it's a list of books that are on your potential readers' shelves. It's as simple as that.
Also, from what I've learned, three is a good number to have and you want them to be fairly recent titles that have sold well. You list what makes this book like yours, in style, structure, or content, identifying what makes it marketable. What's worked for other authors and appealed to readers in the past.
But you also have to emphasize how your book is unique. Hopefully by this point, you've refined the hook that will make your story stand out from others in the genre, what will give readers a different experience when they pick yours up from the shelf.
Ultimately, you want to show that there are aspects of your book that have proven to be marketable and sell well, but that your book is an original, compelling idea.
Did I leave anything out? How do you determine which books to include on your comp titles list?
Speaking of comp titles: I'm giving away a prize bundle on my website, but y'all feel free to enter here! It includes two books from a writer I've listed in my own comp titles before, Carla Laureano, along with my favorite planner and a $25 gift card. Check it out below!
Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is passionate about intentional living, all things color-coded, and stories of grace in the beautiful mess. Previously a full-time book publicist, she owns a freelance copywriting, editing, and PR consulting business.
She's a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and received the Genesis Award in 2013 (Contemporary) and 2014 (Romance).
Her work is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary.
Facebook - AuthorLaurieTomlinson
Twitter - @LaurieTomlinson
Web - www.LaurieTomlinson.com