Don’t Go Crazy with Your Comps

Comps, or comparable titles, are a valuable way to help slush readers immediately situate your work in the marketplace. Find one or two solid comps for your query letter. Maybe three. More than that, and you’ve over-salted your stew.

I am currently seeking representation for the first book of my Middle Grade fantasy Awesome Book Title, 50,000 words.

First, don’t capitalize genres. Middle Grade should be middle grade. Moving on.

I am hopeful this series will interest you due to its unique fantasy hooks and quick pace, its mystery plot and comical, underrepresented characters, and its always-current themes of the environment, pre-adolescent romance, and juvenile bullying. If you enjoy stories with a timeless quality and vibrant characters, this series should be just right for your list.

You’re telling me what you think is good and exciting about your book. What you should be doing is pitching your story. Pitch. Your. Story. Character. Goal. Motivation. Conflict. Moving on.

The charming tale is a whimsical throwback to Author One’s Comp Title One, Author Two’s Comp Title Two, and more recently, Author Three’s Comp Title Three, all still popular today.  Much like the spirit of Title of Timeless Classic, it is a timeless tale, yet renewed so that it can resonate in our current, fast-paced technological world.  Likewise, I have already plotted an additional three more books to the serialized story.

That was four—count ’em, four—comps. Yet still no pitch. I’m dying here.

Consistent with other environmental works of this nature, most recently Comp Title Five by Author Five, published by Publisher, and Comp Title Six by Author Six, published by Publisher, what is unique about my series is that the stories hang together as a continuous testament to the sanctity and majesty of the wilderness and the hope and heroism of youth in the face of adult domination, dishonesty, and greed. The story is offered as a model to our youth for the need to preserve our fading woodlands and countryside. It is a theme our children are daily tested by in our evolving global world where the line between ethics and profit is fast dissolving.

And now I’m lying on the floor killed dead. Did you count along? We are now up to six comps. SIX. COMPS. Followed by a laundry list of themes and reasons “our youth need” this book. But still no fluffernutting story pitch.

Giving a slush reader a veritable avalanche of comps and expecting us to cobble your story together in our own imaginations is like telling us you don’t have a story at all. And that’s the last message you want to send.

By all means, do your market research and support your pitch with a meaningful comp or two. But don’t forget that your story pitch is the whole reason your query letter exists. Put it front and center.

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