PDA

View Full Version : Is this really a query "faux pas"?



kathleen_grant
01-11-2009, 02:35 AM
Is saying the following a big no-no when it comes to queries? :S


The story will draw in audiences interested in books similar to the bestseller Twilight, as it is narrated by the protagonist, involves first love, and has a magical twist. I believe the audience that has fallen in love with the Twilight saga, or a similar story, will be equally as entranced by Willow.

bethany
01-11-2009, 02:51 AM
Is saying the following a big no-no when it comes to queries? :S


The story will draw in audiences interested in books similar to the bestseller Twilight, as it is narrated by the protagonist, involves first love, and has a magical twist. I believe the audience that has fallen in love with the Twilight saga, or a similar story, will be equally as entranced by Willow.

This doesn't add anything to your query. Maybe if you were showing these elements, but telling the agents you have them is ineffective at best. IMHO.

kathleen_grant
01-11-2009, 02:56 AM
This doesn't add anything to your query. Maybe if you were showing these elements, but telling the agents you have them is ineffective at best. IMHO.

The reason why I was thinking of putting it in there was because I thought it would show as kind of like if that book can sell to that audience, than so can mine sort of thing... Does that not make sense? Haha...

Kathleen42
01-11-2009, 03:24 AM
I think it's a bit of a trade off and a lot depends on wording.

In my query, I plan to mention that the success of authors like Jennifer Weiner and Meg Cabot have illustrated that there is a market for plus-sized protagonists. I do not plan to directly compare my work to either author.

The danger you run into when comparing is that you may hit an agent that does not like the series (Jenny Rappaport actually devoted a blog entry (http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2008/12/no-twilight-please.html) to the slew of queries she was getting which mentioned Twilight ).

I'd avoid saying things like "I believe". It comes off as passive. I would also avoid "similar story". Perhaps it's just a personal thing, but when I read it I thought it sounded like you hadn't done much research apart from Twilight (I don't think this is the case, merely that it came off that way in the sentence).

I haven't started querying, though, so it will be interesting to see the response from others who have gone through the process.

bethany
01-11-2009, 03:32 AM
There are differing views on comparing your books to established authors. I never felt comfortable doing it, but others have had success. Of course agents are looking for the book that will appeal to the fans of Twilight, but I think you'd do better off showing that the book has qualities that would appeal to those fans. The narrated by the protagonist, first love, list of story elements does not work.

scarletpeaches
01-11-2009, 03:33 AM
Why anyone would want to compare their book to Twilight I don't know.

I always thought comparing your work to a particular novel smacked of boastfulness in the case of better novels than Meyer's, anyway, and low standards if we're discussing Meyer and her ilk.

I don't want to be the second anyone. I'm the first scarletpeaches. :D

I'd go as far as slotting my novel into a particular genre, but not saying "It's like Book A and if you like Book A, you'll like this."

Sophia
01-11-2009, 03:46 AM
I don't think it is a no-no, but it depends on how you do it. I read a blog post recently, by either Nathan Bransford or Kristin Nelson, which suggested that a good way to do this is to say that your novel would appeal to readers of specific books that the agent has sold and that have recently been released. It shows that you've done your research on what the particular agent you are querying likes and represents, and that you understand what is selling at the moment. Doing this lets you make more plausible statements about the likely readership of your novel than a favourable comparison with a bestseller, which they often see and is difficult to make sound convincing.

jmascia
01-11-2009, 04:22 AM
I think your better off just leaving it out.

trickywoo
01-11-2009, 05:55 AM
I wouldn't put it in. If you've communicated well in your query, the agent will be able to draw their own conclusions and comparisons.

Good luck!

KikiteNeko
01-11-2009, 08:48 AM
I wouldn't.

Plus, what if the agent hates the book you're mentioning?

Toothpaste
01-11-2009, 09:36 AM
Here's another issue. You say your book is similar to Twilight in that it is told in first person POV, involves first love, and has a magical twist to it. As I am sure you are aware, Twilight isn't the only book out there with those elements. So in comparing your work based on those elements that can be found in many many many books (and not, say, elements unique to Twilight), plus comparing your work to a top bestseller that even non-readers have heard of, makes it sound like you've read no books aside from the really big popular ones. It suggests a great ignorance in literature.

I am not saying that what it suggests is remotely true, but you certainly don't want an agent thinking that.

If you really want to compare your work to Twilight (which I would highly recommend not doing as it is such an obvious choice), make sure the elements you compare it to are very unique to that work, and demonstrate you understand what made Twilight so popular. And it wasn't the first person POV.

Samantha's_Song
01-11-2009, 02:30 PM
How many more people are writing novels similar to the Twilight series though? If I were an agent, which I'm not, and I kept seeing this kind of thing written on every other query I looked at, I'd be smashing my brains out on the desk in despair.
Don't compare your novel to anything else; show it for the original story that it is, or should be.


The story will draw in audiences interested in books similar to the bestseller Twilight, as it is narrated by the protagonist, involves first love, and has a magical twist. I believe the audience that has fallen in love with the Twilight saga, or a similar story, will be equally as entranced by Willow.

Gary Clarke
01-11-2009, 03:38 PM
Kathleen, perhaps you might consider pitching it in some more general way? Perhaps along the lines of 'my novel taps into the current market interest in YA paranormal romance.'

Erin
01-12-2009, 12:29 AM
Or you can say: "Name of Novel would appeal to readers of Stephenie Meyer, xxx, and xxx."

mysterygrl
01-12-2009, 01:39 AM
Here's what I did: "Knowing that you represent Author A and Author B, I thought you might be interested in my 75,000-word mystery."

This lets the agent know you did your homework, and avoids the possibility of highlighting a book the agent might have hated. Or seen mentioned in a hundred other queries before yours.

Or maybe choose a couple of YA/paranormal debuts that aren't as well-known but still somewhat successful. I think this would better illustrate your familiarity with the market. EVERYONE has heard of Twilight.--even fifty-year-old men.

If you decide you really want to mention Twilight, I would definitely keep the reference short. I think Erin's wording is spot-on.

Just some ideas . . .