If you pitch your book with the right comp title, it's an extremely useful tool for catching an agent's eye. My question is: what are the consequences of NOT including comp titles?

The reason I ask is that I'm having trouble finding good comp titles (which I realize is a red flag about the marketability of my novel*, but that's an issue for another day). I've heard of agents turning down queries for using the wrong comp titles. It makes the agent question if the author is familiar with the market. I got into the Pass or Pages contest, and both agents had issues with the comp titles I used.

I'm wondering if it would be better not to include comp titles in my query rather than risk using the wrong ones.

Another similar question: how old can a comp title be before it's irrelevant? One of the agents told me 2013 was too old.

Thoughts?


*My novel is a magical realism set in 19th century New Orleans. If you can think of a good comp title for me, I'd love to hear it, lol.