Saturday, January 30, 2010

"My book is just like.."

I'm quenching my thirst at the fountain o'query tonight and I must say some of you really amaze me.

Most particularly amazing are those of you who compare your books to those that have not yet been published. Two of you in fact compared your novel to a non-fiction book that hasn't been written.

I'm pretty sure you haven't read those books. You're using the listings in Publishers Marketplace or perhaps my own "What I've Sold" blog post.

You don't need to compare your book to anything.

If you can't resist the urge, use books you've actually read.

45 comments:

RCWriterGirl said...

Janet, I'm shocked at your bigotry! Just because some of the people who query you are clairvoyant, you shouldn't hold it against them. If you got psychic visions of great new books about to be released--admit it--you'd read them, too. :)

Janet Reid said...

you're right. I'm clearly...ahem...shortsighted.

myimaginaryblog said...

I can easily make comparisons with books that are unpublished, since my book is unwritten. My book is exactly like whatever you want it to be! At the moment, my book is exactly like a big pile of Belgian frites with Andalouse sauce. (If you've never tasted that, I promise you'll love it.)

Debbie (Nerd Goddess) said...

My book is JUST LIKE "Lost Dog" by Bill Cameron. It's about a cute little puppy that gets separated from her family when she ventures to far away from her brothers and sisters. It's called "The Meandering Little Puppy" and should also to appeal to audiences who like books such as "Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" and also books about Baby Moose. It is a picture book fiction story and comes in at 10,000 words and was illustrated by my 5 year-old.

Please let me know when you will be sending a contract.

#1Nana said...

hehehe...I enjoy this blog. So, if I ever write a book and send a query to you I should say it's like nothing you have ever read?

Loretta Ross said...

My book is very like the bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups beside my computer. Neither is finished, but both are getting very close.

Cat Connor said...

After a long exhausting night listening to and watching Bon Jovi for research purposes... ;-)

This blog post amused me. Yep, it amused me.

Kneazle said...

Well my book is just like a lot of books you read - unpublished...

Rick Daley said...

My book is just like a cross between the Bible, the Koran, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Except without all the religious stuff.

Robert Kent, of Robertkent.net fame said...

My book is just like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, except my Harry is a forty-year-old accountant and his Goblet of Fire is his failing marriage.

Margaret Yang said...

Were any of those books about time travel?

Kyler said...

I wish I could take the opposite approach and say my novel is UNlike anything ever written, but of course, I can't say that. And being truly...ahem...psychic, I wish I could say that my book will be a smash (because I KNOW it will!), but of course, I can't say that either. Instead of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, I'll compare my novel to the bottle of Irish Whiskey by my computer: completely finished and ready for the next bottle in the closet.

jessjordan said...

We amaze you! Wow, that's SO awesome to hear! Thanks, Janet!! :P

Sean Ferrell said...

My book is just like "Numb." I know it's not out yet, but you cannot stop me from making the comparison.

Jen said...

My book is like pringles, you can't have just one!

Lola Sharp said...

Janet, darlin', don't you ever take a day off?
You work too hard. It is clear to me that you love your job, and I adore you for that.
But, I hope you do find some time over the weekend to go do something fun; something that is not job related.

But first, will you read my book...it's just like...

Take care,
Lola

Maryann Miller said...

LOL. It is amazing how eager new writers jump on a marketing tip without fully understanding it. Tips on writing a dynamic query letter suggests giving the agent or editor a comparison reference, but that works only if there really is one.

lora96 said...

How bout alcoholic beverages? Such as, my books are like Mai Tai's--delightful, refreshing, but if you read too many you'll get a headache!

Dan Krokos said...

My book is just like Sean Ferrell.

Steve Stubbs said...

You remind me of ione of my favorite quotes, from Schweitzer's QUEST OF AN HISTORICAL JESUS:

"The ideal life of Jesus ... is the Life which Heinrich Julius Holtzmann did not write. ... It is ideal, for one thing, because it is unwritten."

Yes, indeed, a book that nobody ever wrote would be ideal indeed, yes siree.

I won't compare my next book with anything because it will be incomparable, especially in regard to books that do not exist.

Abby Stevens said...

I'm terrified of comparing my book to anything else - if I did, it seems like I would be leaving a big, gaping opportunity for an agent to say, "Yeah, riiiiiight. This one's full of herself."

Laurel said...

Don't be a hater, Janet. Psychic skills are a blessing and a curse. I'm sure these people wish they could be just like the rest of us but they live with this incredible burden.

Richmond Writer said...

Steve Berry spoke at the Library of Virginia. He said his book was rejected 84 times. The 85th time it was accepted because his compared to this unpublished book that was circulating around and everyone knew it would be BIG despite it being authored by an unknown writer, Dan Brown.

Sharon Mayhew said...

Dear Ms. Reid,

My newest book is called DON'T BE A SOUR CRACKER. It's remenisant of the Old Testiment except it's about a thirteen year old who's in love with a vampire. I'd be more than happy to send you the full manuscript, per your request.

Sincerely,
M.E.

Kristi said...

...and this is one of the many reasons why I adore your blog. I always walk away with a laugh and tend to have a slightly better self-esteem afterwards.

You may have to start charging for this kind of help...

Not to mention that the comments left by others are just as hilarious as your post...such a great sense of humor!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Dang, somebody already mentioned that time machine. We really didn't mean to hop around quite that much. Sorry for the confusion.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Miss Reid,

My book is like no other, unless you consider a mystery where the goat solves the crime to baa - I mean be - like a cross between Shane, Riders of the Purple Sage, and Molly Does Dallas.

My mistress says it's more like The Ipcress file gone bad. She suggested the most unkind things, but I know it's only jealousy at work.

I countered with the suggestion that it was destined to be a classic like The 39 Steps. She said that if a goat was in it, then it would be 78 steps, which is mere bipedal (Is that how you spell that?) prejudice.

Please read my book, ignoring the sweet-corn crumbs. I snack as I write.

Best,

Bill E. Goat

DebraLSchubert said...

Dear Ms. Reid,

You'll be ecstatic to know I just finished meditating, and the spirit gods told me to tell you that my book reminds them of a book that will be coming out in the year 2153. It hasn't been written yet (duh!) but it WILL be, and when it is, it will sound exactly like what you'd envision if Dan Krokos, Sean Ferrell, and Jeffrey Somers got together and wrote an erotic romance featuring dancing bears and old clocks (think: Nancy Drew, only sexy and with old clocks and dancing bears).

Yours most truly, sincerely, and all best,

Mr. I. M. Alunatic

PS: Please send check, contract, etc to my attorney. As a soon-to-be famous writer, I'm very picky about who I directly interact with. Please don't take it personally.

Bernita said...

My genre urban fantasy book is like a thousand others out there - except it doesn't feature vampires and weres. Instead it has a Doom Dog named Dumbarton (Dummy, for short)with spectral fleas, and a bean sidhe who frequents the local laundromat!
Oh yes, and the hero is ugly.

rachelcapps said...

hilarious!

Jon said...

My book is just like Bob Hibber's At Night, They See. What? You never heard of him or his book? It will be a best seller in 2021. I read it already. Why haven't you? You are so behind the times. Wow.

Kate said...

I feel bad but this post greatly amused me. I tend to think comparisons probably don't help anyone doesn't everyone want to be individual?

Kate xx

Furious D said...

I can with absolute certainty that my novel is just like one that you haven't even read yet!

Bill Cameron said...

I would really like to read "The Meandering Little Puppy."

Joni Rodgers said...

Ice burn! That's hilarious. I try hard to indoctrinate my kids (and my clients) with the 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt NOT pretend to have read any book thou hast not read!"

adpurple said...

I'm quite sure my novel is very much like what Wallace Stegner would write next, if he were still alive.

Josin L. McQuein said...

My book is just like that book you've always wanted to read but no one has managed to write yet.

I wrote it. Yep, I did.

jmartinlibrary said...

Since my stories are so singularly drivelly, I shy away from comparisons altogether.

Gotta protect my particular brand of bad.

;)

_*Rachel*_ said...

And even if you have read them, be cautious: http://chipmacgregor.com/ (January 30th post).

Me? My novel is eerily similar the unfinished 7.5K Word file on my flash drive.

Laurel said...

Ummm, Bernita? I'm pretty sure you were kidding, but I'd actually like to read that. Could you get cracking?

Jennifer said...

I'm too tired to be clever at the moment, but I've got to say reading through the comments of this thread have cracked me up. :D

Gilbert J. Avila said...

Hmmmm...Wouldn't it be just as bad if an author told you---"My book is NOTHING like you've ever read?"

Bernita said...

Laurel, thank you. I wasn't kidding actually.
Just finished the last run-through for typos last week...

Krista said...

SO, I am reading these hilarious comments and then I notice, to the right in the sidebar, a review of Andrew Grant's "Even". Seriously, my eyes went right to the words:
"Even is a bit of LeCarré and Ian Fleming, but with more grit and a sharper edge."

SO, I guess it's allowed after the book is published. Good to know. Because my novel is just like Andre Grant's "Even'.

Philangelus said...

Maybe I know my book is like those unpublished books because I ghost-wrote them too?