Whether you are a member of Author Salon or sending out agent query letters on your own, you need to follow the professional rules when it comes to choosing the right comparables to include in your novel or nonfiction pitch. Comparables that are inaccurate or overused will signal that you are an amateur who does not understand the market.
Caitlin Alexander, former senior editor at Random House, and now resident faculty at Author Salon, has generously donated her time to provide you with guidelines for discovering ideal comparables. This is the best advice you are going to receive on this critical issue of providing proper comps in agent query letters. If necessary, allow it to substitute for any other advice you've received in the past that might seem contrary.
Keep it recent: Watch the bestseller lists and follow industry news. If you can (legitimately) comp your book to something that's been a recent smash, you'll have a leg up. Bestsellers are hard to predict, and often take everyone by surprise (e.g., Fifty Shades of Grey)--once something's been proven a hit, publishers are going to be looking for more, instantly. After 3-6 months, though, they're all going to have seen a dozen comps to The Help!
Keep it fresh: Stay away from comparing your book to the ubiquitous bestsellers--Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich--because they are their own brands and impossible to duplicate ... [ more on the Author Salon Craft Site ]
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Comparables: Whether Author Salon or Classic Query, Aspiring Authors MUST Use the Right Comparablesnovel comparables
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