Finding a good comparable title is like following a map to buried treasure. Once you’ve got a good one you’re golden but the journey can be grueling. Let’s add some tools to your backpack on this excursion.
None of these ideas will help you if you don’t fully understand your own story first.
You will need to know your story’s theme or point. You also need to know if your story has a major tick that sets it into a category (vampires, valentines day, etc). You must know your genre and your age group. Without these key points you won’t get very far on this comp title journey. Do you got the answers? Good let’s keep tracking then.
Google is your friendly talking parrot that will only give you a hint if you ask the right question. Be specific. Here are a few examples: “Middle grade book about friendship” – “Picture book about valentines day” – “funny adult Sci-fi book” Are you following? Look to see what hits and you’ll see maybe two to ten options, write down the titles and authors.
Next move over to Goodreads and find each one of those books. Ask these questions of each title:
- Is it recently published? Within the past three to five years.
- Does it have decent reviews? You don’t need to use a bestseller (actually it’s better if you don’t) but you want a respectable story with good reader responses.
- What makes the story like yours? Is it the subject, theme, place, or plot structure? This is where knowing your story is key so you can recognize those elements in the books you are looking at now.
- Find one or two books that have strong elements similar to yours but not too similar.
Did you find a one that sparkles? One that makes you say, yes my books like that except in these ways. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the treasure now let’s get the loot back to the boat so we can utilize it. We need to format this shiny new comparable title into your query.
- Blank meets Blank Format- Shows a mix of two, usually contrasting, books. You’re going for surprise here.
- Blank with Blank Elements- Shows a twist on theme from the comparable title. You’re wanting to show a unique nuance that is intriguing.
- Blank set in Blank- Shows a change in place or time from the comparable title. You’re hoping for interest in new information or a new experience.
You can set up the blanks however you want but this can be an extremely effective way to demonstrate the heart of your story, your target market, and your own knowledge of the current book market.
If you can find a good comparable title you’ll be better off than Long-John Silver with having credibility and showing your skills in comparable title treasure hunting.