So glad you're back. Congrats on the book doing so well!
So, I'm pitching a memoir, and in my first-draft letter, I say, "this is not some feel-good Oprah book; it's more like [name of snarky, popular author this agent represented]." Is it okay to say your work is like someone else's, or is that amateurish, or a potential set-up for failure? (ie, I say I'm like Author X, agent reads my first chapter, and thinks I'm nothing like Author X.) Should I just leave out references/comparisons to other writers altogether?
I'm not going to say, "No, never mention another author and compare yourself to them." There's very few "nevers" in publishing. That said, it's not a good idea. I know a lot of sites and books recommend it and I don't know why they do that, because it always looks tacky to us. If we work in that genre, we're probably already familiar with bestselling authors in said genre anyway, and can make the comparisons ourselves if we want. Let your summation of the book in the query speak for itself.
P.S. I'm logging off tonight for Shemini Atzeret/Simfas Torah, so don't expect your comments to be approved until Wednesday night.