SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => The Craft of Writing => Topic started by: stephanie-carr on July 21, 2019, 12:01 PM

Title: stuck on comparables
Post by: stephanie-carr on July 21, 2019, 12:01 PM
Hi, I'm new here and could really use some help.
I've searched through older posts here trying to find out how to find comparables for my manuscripts.
My searches keep turning up classics. I've tried advanced search on amazon, searches on goodreads, library searches, bookstores, and a general google search.
I'd really like to prepare to send query letters to agents, but this has got me stopped cold.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.

I've edited my original post to add what I have so far regarding my query ideas for my manuscript, "The Adventures of Jet".  I hope the additional information helps clear things up.
Basically, it's set on a horse farm where horses talk to each other not people. They do, however, believe that the whole world revolves around them and we people are here to help them out and they are the ones really in charge. For example, we live in "people barns" and the horses are the real riding instructors, we're just around to help out.

"What the Sam hill is Jet going to do now? Born in the deep south, Jet has spent his whole life on a hobby ranch with his momma and his herd. Suddenly, company arrives. The daughter of the ranch has come to say goodbye to her parents and leave her horse behind. She has a new job far away in the northeast and wants to bring a different horse along, one younger and more suited to the long trip. Before he can say, “Good Gracious,” he’s standing in a stall in a barn full of complete strangers not knowing where he will fit in. Yet, fitting in is only one challenge he has to face. Can you say, “lesson teacher school”? New home, new friends, new family, and school to boot. “Good Gracious!”

Away from home and his momma for the first time ever, Jet must rely on the knowledge she passed down, and his own courage to grab hold of the chances his new adventure has given him."

Thank you for all the quick responses.
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: David Wright on July 21, 2019, 02:26 PM
Have you tried this: https://www.perma-bound.com/Search/Cvg62ChOOGiagfTFJ9-odQ

I typed 'horses' into the search box, selected 'horses in series', sorted by copyright date and filtered by reading level (grades 3 to 6).

Dave
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: carrots on July 21, 2019, 04:12 PM
Welcome to the Blueboard, Stephanie!

This is a timely question because I just sent out a round of subs and needed to cite comps on several agents' QueryTracker forms. I balked at looking for comps, too, but the desire to be agented outweighed my loathing...so I turned to Amazon for help. (I know you mentioned doing that, too, but perhaps we use it differently.)

Anyway, let's say I wrote a book featuring anteaters who have a picnic. No comps automatically come to mind so I go to Amazon's Advanced Search and enter in "anteaters." One of the PBs I find is called But I Don't Eat Ants by Dan Marvin and Kelly Fry. I read the description, professional reviews, and consumer reviews. I think it has some similar qualities to my story (though not the picnic element) so I look at the titles under "Frequently bought together" and "Customers who viewed this item also viewed." With each of these titles, I follow the same steps. Then I look up PBs about picnics with anthropomorphic characters....and follow the same steps. All along the way, I'm making note of the potential comps and read what I can from the library. It is then I can offer But I Don't Eat Ants, The Perfect Picnic by Ciara Flood, and Pignic by Matt Phelan. You'll notice all three were published within the last few years, which is often - but not always - something agents and editors want in comp titles.

Best, best, best wishes, Stephanie. You've got this!!

 :superwoman

Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on July 21, 2019, 06:01 PM
Here are more helpful sites: NetGalley, Kirkus Reviews, BookPage, Edelweiss.plus, and Wowbrary.

Good luck.
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: stephanie-carr on July 21, 2019, 07:15 PM
Thanks to everyone who responded. I edited my original post to give more information.
With all the help you've provided so far, I'm sure I'll be very busy for a while.
Thanks for all the encouragement, too.
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: Mindy Alyse Weiss on July 22, 2019, 01:30 AM
You've received tons of great advice!

Comps used to make me cringe--it's so hard to find something that feels right. But I've learned that the best comps are books that only touch on one part of your story--the theme, the take-away, etc. because if they're too close, why is your book needed? Those make great mentor texts and might give you ideas how to make yours stand out even more in the market though.

Some of the best comps give more than just titles--the heartfelt longing of x combined with the humorous talking animal in y.

It helped me to brainstorm anything I thought related to each of my books...then see which comps work best. For you, it looks like a comp could be a book in the same genre about horses, fitting in, new family, courage, etc. You can also use one comp of a movie/TV show, if one works well for it.

My critique partners and I keep our eyes out for books that seem like good comps for each other, which is a huge help, too, since we know each other's stories well.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll find some great comps. :)
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: carrots on July 22, 2019, 04:59 AM
Comps used to make me cringe--it's so hard to find something that feels right. But I've learned that the best comps are books that only touch on one part of your story--the theme, the take-away, etc. because if they're too close, why is your book needed? Those make great mentor texts and might give you ideas how to make yours stand out even more in the market though.

Yes!!!!!

Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: Jayca on July 22, 2019, 03:30 PM
You've received tons of great advice!

Comps used to make me cringe--it's so hard to find something that feels right. But I've learned that the best comps are books that only touch on one part of your story--the theme, the take-away, etc. because if they're too close, why is your book needed? Those make great mentor texts and might give you ideas how to make yours stand out even more in the market though.

Some of the best comps give more than just titles--the heartfelt longing of x combined with the humorous talking animal in y.

It helped me to brainstorm anything I thought related to each of my books...then see which comps work best. For you, it looks like a comp could be a book in the same genre about horses, fitting in, new family, courage, etc. You can also use one comp of a movie/TV show, if one works well for it.

My critique partners and I keep our eyes out for books that seem like good comps for each other, which is a huge help, too, since we know each other's stories well.

Good luck! I'm sure you'll find some great comps. :)

This is such great advice, Mindy!
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on July 22, 2019, 06:19 PM
Horse Diaries. This is a series from the POV of different horses. You'll have to look through them all to see if one works for you.
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: kathy-hjermstad on July 23, 2019, 02:23 PM
My local library has online resources.  One is called NovelList, where you can search by many things such as publishing date, reading level, award winning, fiction or non, etc. Once the initial results are listed, there are even more ways to narrow it down (rhyme, genre, humor, etc.).  I don't know how to access other than through my personal library card, but maybe your library has access to NovelList or something similar.  Good luck!
Title: Re: stuck on comparables
Post by: stephanie-carr on August 11, 2019, 02:48 PM
I just wanted to make sure I said thank you to everyone who helped me with this issue. So...
 :thankyou  :flowers2