Comparisons Are Odious

Snarkling Question:

I am tempted to make a comparison in my query letter between my writing style and a specific published author's. While I do not want this statement to be perceived as my manuscript simply being a replica of his work, my worry is that if I do not show a comparison it will be falsely viewed as me not knowing how to judge my own manuscript in the current marketplace.

Should comparisons be avoided at all costs, or in doing so does it prompt relativity to the agent?

Resist this temptation madly.
Then resist it again.

Don't compare your work to anyone's. First, you're not that person. And generally (like 99.9% of the time, the comparison is NOT in your favor)

Second, you only need to tell me where your book belongs in the bookstore, not who it should sit next to if you're shelved by style.

"I think readers who liked James Frey's memoir will also like my vomit soaked story of money laundering pizza thieves" is about as close to a comparison as you ever want to be.

And what the hell does "prompt relativity to the agent" mean, Einstein?


Tribe said...

"vomit soaked story of money laundering pizza thieves"

You say that as if it were a bad thing.

Remodeling Repartee said...

I had the opposite advice from a well known agent (NBA winner in his stable) I pitched at a conference. When he was concerned about the word count on my chick lit (he still requested the full manuscript) I told him it had a lot of subplots, like Marian Keyes' books, to assure him I had tight scenes and prose, just a lot of stuff was going on.

He then said it would be helpful to describe it as, "in the subplot-rich style of author Marian Keyes..."

Blast. I've already sent out queries using that line. Am I doomed?

Uisce said...

I didn't get the "prompt relativity" but I thought it was me.

Ted said...

I'm pretty sure that prompt relativity is infinitely better than overdue nepotism, no?