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View Full Version : Is it pretentious to compare novel to agent's other clients?



Writer_
10-23-2014, 11:00 PM
For the record, I don't actually want to do this. But there is a lot of people advising to do it. But it feels pretentious. The reason I will contact an agent is because I think they are good, and represent my genre. Nothing else.

quicklime
10-23-2014, 11:06 PM
I tend to believe the comparison should be apparent, and "my book is like...." generally weakens the argument

mayqueen
10-24-2014, 12:16 AM
I've written to agents with a mention of their clients in the personalization ("I love your client's book TITLE.) or I've mentioned their clients in the comp titles section ("My manuscript will appeal to fans of TITLE."). But I wouldn't compare myself to their clients in any other way.

ElaineA
10-24-2014, 12:26 AM
I don't know about pretentious, but if the agent already reps a book very much like the one being queried, it's entirely possible they aren't going to take on another one. There's that "not repping a book that competes with my own client" thing agents sometimes write about. If the books aren't really alike, bringing up the comparison might make an agent unsure enough go, nvm on the query alone.

What Mayqueen mentions, though, if you've read the agent's list and really connect to certain titles, that might be worth a more general mention in the personalization as to "why you're querying Agent X." Doing it that way shows you've done your research without it sounding like you're comparing.

Mr Flibble
10-24-2014, 02:46 AM
"I am am writing to you because you represent X, whose {book name}I admire."

"this book is like book X, only with a more Y vibe"


Sentence one -- you've done your homework, you know agent reps book X. This cannot hurt, but i suspect could be worded better

Sentence 2 - you have thought about where your book fits into the market. Bonus!



"I am writing to you because I am author X's biggest fan and you are her agent and I wuv you!" Yeah, no.

Tie any connection back to your book, be professional. This is not about how you love X's book. It's about yours, and that you have researched etc.

Dear Mr Agent

I am writing to you because you represent X and her fantasy noir novels. {pitch} I believe my book(s) would interest readers of X, Y and Z because Pi*.

Only, I dunnow, betterer. :D

Jamesaritchie
10-24-2014, 10:11 PM
This is a six of one, half a dozen of the other question. I've never thought it was a good idea to compare your novel to another novel. I do think it's fine to say, "If you enjoy the way X writes and tells a story, I think you'll enjoy my novel, as well."

But I thinks it's best to say this about a writer the agent does not represent. If she already has X in her stable, your novels and his might be in competition with each other. But if another agent has X, and this agent would love to have a writer like X, this can work.

hearosvoice
10-26-2014, 05:01 AM
I was under the impression that comparisons would be a good thing b/c, as mentioned, it demonstrates you did your homework and selected an agent you felt was relevant.