Now that I am trying to figure out how
to capture the attention of a literary
agent for The Alligator Purse, I am learning a lot about the whole query/submission process.
One of the things I keep hearing over and over is that writers must be able to compare their story to another book that has done well in the same genre.
This proves that writers understand the market they are writing for and that they understand their genre. Kinda important stuff.
My first inclination was to pick Jeannette Wall’s wonderful story The Glass Castle. The main problem with that would be that the Glass Castle is a memoir. My story is fiction. Ahem.
Thank goodness someone explained to me that is a super huge no-no. I would have looked like a baffoon.
But then who? A friend mine suggested I look at Anna Quindlen’s work. I nearly fell over. But okay. Then I thought really, I am supposed to claim that I am as fabulous as say Anna Quindlen?
Well, probably not.
But what writers should be able to say is that “audiences who love the Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards would also be interested in The Alligator Purse.”
See how’s that’s different? I might not be as amazing as Kim Edwards but we at least appeal to the same readers.
But that’s tricky too because the Memory Keeper’s Daughter was wildly popular. Heck, they even made a movie out of the story.
So, a lot of other writers might be comparing their writing to Kim Edwards.
And, agents might be thinking, “Oh sure, your writing is just like Kim Edwards. You gotta bridge to go with that manuscript?”
I have been told (by someone who would really know) that audiences who buy Pieces of My Sister’s Life by Elizabeth Joy Arnold would very likely be interested in The Alligator Purse.
So, yea for me, someone who reads a lot knew a great example for my story.
The question I can see floating in your thought bubble right now is “Yeah, good for you, but what about me? How do I find titles to compare my story too?”
I’m so glad you asked that.
You read a lot of books in your genre.
Now your thought bubble is screaming, “How do I know what books? There are so many out there?”
Another good question dear thought bubble.
Check out the website called All Readers.
You can put in selection criteria that will narrow suggestions to a manageable number.
And now you are wondering why I am so so smart. Ha. I have an answer for that too. I am taking a class from Caitlin Alexander thru Media Bistro. She was an editor at Random House for over a decade so she knows a little somthin, somthin.
And then I can only say good luck – it ain’t easy. But it is critical.