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Making a case for comps

August 25, 2023
Posted by:
Ron Seybold

Zebras are like horses. If you like horses, you'll like zebras.

Comps are bullshit, one author carped at me. They're not easy to write, but it is easy to find authors who don't consider them useful. What's sometimes overlooked is how a comp makes a book easier to find.

Here's a comp from a TikTok senstation, YA fantasy author Aster. He's releasing his debut, Lightlark.

Filled with secrets, deception, romance, and twists worthy of the darkest thrillers, Lightlark is a must-read for fans of legendary fantasy writers Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, and Leigh Bardugo.

To make up comps, find books that you admire that inspired yours. Now, here's Aster's book's blurb, also very well written. (Remember, blurbs are what you write. Endorsements are what other authors write about your book.)

Welcome to the Centennial. Every 100 years, the island of Lightlark appears to host the Centennial, a deadly game that only the rulers of six realms are invited to play. The invitation is a summons—a call to embrace victory and ruin, baubles and blood. The Centennial offers the six rulers one final chance to break the curses that have plagued their realms for centuries. Each ruler has something to hide. Each realm’s curse is uniquely wicked. To destroy the curses, one ruler must die.

Isla Crown is the young ruler of Wildling—a realm of temptresses cursed to kill anyone they fall in love with. They are feared and despised, and are counting on Isla to end their suffering by succeeding at the Centennial.

To survive, Isla must lie, cheat, and betray … even as love complicates everything.

Add Aster's comps to the back end of his blurb and you have a great selling point to readers — or even the buyer at your local bookstore, if you are doing your own distribution effort to get onto shelves.

But first, you use comps to show agents, editors, or readers you know what they like — and your book is like that.

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