Monday, April 01, 2013

Aw c'mon

The recent spate of queries produced a couple things that really just made me want to weep salty shark tears:

1. (C)Copyright (date). You don't need to include a copyright notice in your email query. Not now, not ever. Your work is protected without the notice and if you think I'm going to steal it, why are you querying me at all?

(2) Your comp titles are movies.  This is almost never the right choice. The purpose of a comp title is to show me which readers will be attracted to your book. Thus, you need to compare your book to books. 

(3) "This novel is intended for adults." You'd be surprised how unhelpful that statement is. Adults read all sorts of books from picture books to YA to academic tomes. Be specific. People who read "MAN IN THE EMPTY SUIT" by Sean Ferrell will be likely readers for this book.


Ellipsis Flood said...

Your work is protected without the notice [...]

I wish this would pop up whenever someone tried to type the words "copyright me, please don't steal" in a context where it's that bloody obvious.

As for (2), while it sounds like a good idea at the time (I admit it, I did that before when talking to friends about a story), but unfortunately, books just don't work like movies.

(3) And not to mention the young adults who read adult targeted novels.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think of the people who tweet during pitch contests on Twitter something about, "Nope, I'm not giving my ideas away for free!"

Rob McKenzie said...

Saying your book is intended for adults makes it sound like porn.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

I don't know, Janet. I copyright all my tweets, FB and blog posts, emails, the words I speak out loud, and even my own thoughts. One can never be too safe. You may not realize this, but the government has guns We need to protect ourselves. (You can quote me on that, but it will cost you.)

Stephsco said...

I think comparing novels to movies is gaining popularity because it was suggested to me on a web forum last year. I struggled and struggled to find the right comp titles until I realized I didn't HAVE to add them to my query as long as I had the right genre listed and I explained my book well enough.

So, I think you will probably see more of that because until now, I never heard anyone suggest otherwise with comparing a book manuscript to a movie.

It may even be encouraged given some of the book pitches I've seen, like Barry Lyga's I HUNT KILLERS was pitched as a "YA Dexter." Now, I don't know whose mouth those words came out of, but I saw the label more than once. I was even inspired by an agent noting they hoped to find a YA Mad Men. I've seen an agent mention YA Downton Abbey. Those are all TV shows obviously, but I sense the trend is similar.

BP said...

Haha I agree with Ron. I do think there is a better way of saying it contains thematic/sexual content, such as STEAMY ROMANCE NOVEL or THINGS GET A LITTLE HEATED or, just say it has mature content. ;)

Heck, just use 50 Shades of Grey as a comp title and then everyone will understand what you're trying to get across. ;D

Comparing books to movies is very easy, but a little insulting. Not that screen writers aren't fantastic. But let's be honest...making somebody FEEL something with just black and white words on a page, no music, no special effects, no visuals...that's ART. ;D haha Just kidding!!!

Unknown said...

@ Rob. Exactly right, lol.

Elise M. Stone said...

As far as using movies as comp titles for books, I think this started with "The Writer's Journey." While written originally for screenwriters, it's been picked up by novelists as a great source for how to write a story.

Worse, almost every book or class on plotting is now doing the same thing. I am taking another class now, and, while the instructor uses Jaws, The Help, The Hunger Games, and The African Queen as examples, it's clear she's always referring to the movies, not the books. I want to scream!

(Sorry about the tardiness of the comment, but, while I can read blogs from work, I can't really post to them.)