Book Proposal Basics

Tips on Comparables

The comparables section of a book proposal is one of the most challenging for many authors. Here are a few quick tips for a successful entry:

Define It

The comparables section shows what books are on the market that compete with yours.

Know the Purpose

The purpose of providing this information is to help agents and editors position your book. Agents will use this to decide which editors need to see your work. Editors need to predict how their sales team will react.

Choose Wisely

The best books to choose for the section are:

  1. Aimed for the same or a similar audience.
  2. Published recently, preferably within the past five years.
  3. Released by the same or competing publishers. For instance, a comparison from the general market isn’t as effective as comparisons from CBA publishers if your audience is looking for a CBA book.

Show the Differences

How is your book different from those already available?

Unlike novelists, authors of nonfiction must justify their book because they provide new information needed by a specific audience for a particular reason. A novelist’s audience seeks entertainment and escape. This author seeks placement within the publisher’s line of novels. Therefore, the comparables section for each type of author will differ in approach.

Regardless of the type of book you offer, make sure agents and editors come away from your proposal with a clear understanding of how your book will overcome current marketplace challenges. The comparables section helps show them how.

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