Thursday, July 10, 2008
...Speaking of Academic Protagonists
My boss and I have noticed a wave of queries and partials that mention the words "Dan Brown" at some point. We had a break from them for awhile, but now they seem to be back. I wonder what's up with that. Are all of the people who write academic-based thrillers submitting now because they're on summer break from their university?
Posted by The Rejecter at 8:06 PM
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I think it's because the new DB is due out soon....so there is a new wave of DB hype on the way.
Also, I think the buzz for the new movie is picking up. Sigh!
Heh, as a teacher myself, I do have to admit that using summer break to focus on writing and writing business stuff is really the biggest advantage to be a teacher in the first place. 'Course, I've been using the time to write a new book, not submit much, and I don't write DB rip-offs, so none of that crap is from me!
The Da Vinci Code has been on cable a lot lately. Could that be it?
I don't understand the need for authors to compare their work with others in a query letter.
If it's good enough to move to the next stage, I figure those reading the query would form their own opinions on where within the market the story may fit.
I say leave your comparisions out of the query. Talk about with your new agent once they sign you.
But I'm not an agent, and I may be wrong.
Comparisons can be used as a way of describing your target audience, thus showing that you understand where what you have written fits into the marketplace.
In a query, I would not say something like, "My novel is similar to DB's The Da Vinci Code" but rather, "My novel would be enjoyed fans of authors such as, DB, X, y, z., in a whole list so that you're not comparing yourself directly to 1 particular author.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that--you're not saying you've written the next Da Vinci Code, you're just indicating the target audience of your work.
Several agents indicate in their submissions requirements/tips that they want writers to do this in their queries--"tell us where your book fits into the marketplace" or something to that effect.
I suppose you could just take a more general approach and say, "My new novel is intended for adult thriller fans," or something like that, but I don't see anything wrong with listing actual (successful) authors if you feel the comparison is accurate.
I'm a nonfiction editor (career books) and we do encourage potential authors to give us titles of books that appeal to the same audience. But when someone inevitably says their book will sell 10 million copies because What Color Is Your Parachute did, we write them off. Obviously, they have unrealistic expectations.
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