One Writer’s Journey

November 2, 2018

5 Minutes a Day: Finding Comp Titles

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:13 am
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This is a topic that I go over with my students.  My next session of Writing Nonfiction for Children and Teens starts November 12th.

Before we discuss what you can do towards this end in five minutes, it helps to understand what comp titles are and why they matter.  Comp titles, or comparison titles, are published books that are similar to your own. They should be the same reading level and genre – middle grade mysteries for middle grade mysteries, nonfiction preschool picture books for nonfiction preschool picture books.

They are a tool that you use to pitch your own book.  They show you have studied the market and have some idea which readers would also like your books.

Here are three things to do in five minutes:

  1.  List Pertinent Facts. Before you start looking for comp titles, make a list of the pertinent facts about your book.  These might include reading level, audience age, type of book (picture book vs chapter book), fiction or nonfiction, and genre if there is one.
  2. What Can You Highlight?  What is it about your book that you want to highlight in this comparison?  It might be that your book is funny.  Or it is school story or a family story.  Maybe it is theme – books about self-discovery.  Or it could be the audience – toddler books.  It could even be the format, the tone, the voice or anything else.  Make a list.
  3. What Sells?  Once you have listed what you could highlight, consider which of these things is likely to sell.  After all, that is what you are trying to do, sell your book.

Once you have some idea what will help sell your book, start looking for comparable titles.  Remember that you don’t want to choose blockbuster books.  While we all hope to be the next Rowling or Seuss it seems a bit over-the-top to make that claim to a potential agent.  Once you have found two or three titles, you are ready to roll.

My manuscript, The potato Salad Police, will appeal to audiences who adore Patrick’s Pasta Patrol…


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