Books like your wip?

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by Hex, Mar 8, 2012.

  1.  
    Hex

    Hex Nice and splicey Staff Member

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    Hi everyone (I know -- I'm failing to be on holiday -- don't mock me too mercilessly)

    I am aware that it's useful to be able to situate one's work in the context of recent books that have come out so that it's clear what market you're aiming at (or something along those lines)

    How do you do that?

    Is there a way of finding out what new books have been published/ bought for publication etc? How similar do they have to be?
  2.  
    Coragem

    Coragem Believer in flawed heroes

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    At the speed I write I'd require a time machine. Just zip ahead ten years to see what'll be big then …

    Or I often imagine (seriously) how amazingly clever and ground-breaking my sci-fi would be if I'd written it 20 years ago.

    I did hear a guardian podcast the other week that seemed to be saying stuff like Lauren Beurkes and China Mieville (that kind of thing) are opening the most exciting directions in "sci-fi" just now. Though honestly, other than trying to pay close attention to what I like in what I read, I'm chancing it, gambling that what I write will be appealing early in the next century (i.e., when I finally begin submitting it).

    Coragem.
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    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    Annoying isn't it? That's what my recent 'supernatural' recommendation thread was about. I'm trying to find something out there that's similar to what I'm doing. I'm hoping there is something, otherwise who do I say I'm like? Who do I aim it at? Which agents do I submit to?

    I still don't have a clue.

    (Why are you on Chrons hol? I feel like I've missed stuff.)
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    MemoryTale

    MemoryTale Future ruler of the world

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    I'm having similar issues. I think part of my problem is that epic fantasy tends to be quite formuleic (at least what I've read has been), and I've taken pains to subvert several tropes I find annoying.
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    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    I'm much the same, I can't pick out 'recent' authors that are like my book either. I've got some suggestions of older authors, but they are bestsellers, which is also off limits.

    I've looked around, and what I'm writing doesn't appear to be shared by any other recently successful author that I can see. I'm not aware of a recently published author blending epic fantasy with urban, its all just straight urban fantasy when it comes to angels.

    If I was allowed to use Sara Douglass, Steven Erikson and Jacqueline Carey it would be fine. Their books all share elements with mine.
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    Gumboot

    Gumboot lorcutus.tolere

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    When I submitted my book to Tor one of the things they explicitly said not to do was try speculate on your market target or what other authors you are like. That's your publisher's job, and they know their markets far, far better than you ever will.
  7.  
    Hex

    Hex Nice and splicey Staff Member

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    That's so interesting, Gumboot. It really shows you how varied the advice can be.

    I've been advised to think about where my book fits into the market -- partly, I think, because it's not epic fantasy, and partly because, I suppose, one ought to be keeping the market in mind when writing (at least ideally).

    I'm sure I read somewhere about a site where you can see what sort of things are being published -- and perhaps even what sort of clients agents have been taking on -- but I can't remember what it was! (perhaps it was a dream)

    @ Mouse -- I can give you ghost story refs with romance in. Amazon seems full of them. That's an area I'm not sure about -- how similar should the comparisons be? (and the chrons holiday is me trying to reclaim my life and get things done)

    @ Coragem -- that made me laugh. I know the feeling!

    @MT/WP -- sympathies. Me too. It's SO frustrating.
  8.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    Please do! I'm not sure mine has romance in though, that's the problem. :confused:

    My possibly main reason for wanting to know similar books, is because I want to know which agents and which publishers to submit to.
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    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    I have worried about this in the past, but I don't any more. I think the idea is to keep an eye on what's coming out, and if you can use something as a comparison, fine; but I doubt any of the gatekeepers are going to pass over a book simply because you can't see exactly where it fits. Agents and publishers are supposed to be the ones with the experience and knowledge to judge such things.
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    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    I think its a standard thing in UK for query letters to include mention of similar authors to your book.

    Here is a quote off John Jarrold's website, who is a big name in the publishing industry:


    But I'm guessing it's just not all agents/publishers who ask for this.

    I think it is so that they know you are keeping up with the industry.
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    Glitch

    Glitch #452

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    I think this is the sort of site you are after.

    Publishers Marketplace

    They require a paid membership. I'm not a member, so can't comment on the quality of information.
  12.  
    Hex

    Hex Nice and splicey Staff Member

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    Thank you, Glitch. Just $20 a month, hmm? Hmm.
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    Glitch

    Glitch #452

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  14.  
    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    $20 per month seems quite expensive to me.
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    Glitch

    Glitch #452

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    Yes I agree. The site is probably geared more towards agents, rather than individual writers. But it fits what Hex was looking for.


    If 12 people get together it becomes $20 a year each ;)


    Maybe ask someone like John Jarrold about the site, or other source? Does he still frequent the chrons?
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    springs

    springs Juggling life

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    John's take on it, and as an ex bookseller I totally get this, is that you need to be able to tell the chains where the book goes, who it gets stocked beside. Now, if you mention some older big sellers, there's already a raft of writers in there, and yours needs to stand out amongst bigger, more established names. Which means for a first time author, you'll struggle to stand out.

    But, if you were writing, for the sake of argument, vampire teen romance,you were on a winner about 4 years ago.

    Which means you can't win, entirely, since (i'm learning, painfully) a book takes a bit of time to write, so you either hope to be lucky, and get on a convenient bandwagon, or you find a way to keep up with debut authors.

    The way the book trade does it is using bookseller magazine (hard to get, not 100% sure you can get it even on order, but if you know a friendly bookshop owner they might let you have a look at it), times literary supplement, and libraries - ours has a lovely end m on debut authors and I picked one up the other day and put it back, but it's got in my head, and I suspect I'm gonna head back and lift it, it was sort of a YA apocalyptic tale, looked good). And fan forums, like the chrons are good for genre stuff. Like um, sci fi and fantasy....
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    Glitch

    Glitch #452

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    In my opinion I think we, as aspiring writers, should aim to write the story as we need to tell it; to do otherwise is going to feel forced and won't be as good.

    If you can take what's fashionable and bend your story towards that great, but I think we need to learn the craft of writing first. Write the second story to suit the market.
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    Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    Has not for a long time now, I think.
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    TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Ninja agent Staff Member

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    Well, mine's easy enough so far -- I talk to the children's librarians and check out new books that look like they are along the same lines. It would be infinitely harder if I were writing an adult fantasy or SF book, because, sadly, neither of our local libraries has much in those sections.
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    Gumboot

    Gumboot lorcutus.tolere

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    I definitely think, regardless of what you're telling a publisher, it's a good idea to know this sort of stuff. It does seem to vary a lot from place to place. Tor, for example, also explicitly said not to send a query letter! The only thing they're interested in is your actual work.

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