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Cathbad

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"If you like Game of Thrones, you'll love..."

"If you loved John Reacher, you just have to read about..."

"If Space 1999 was your thing, you can't miss..."


Does this kind of advertising work? Because, frankly, I am turned off every time I see this. I don't think I have ever taken a second look at anything after reading a line like this, comparing the work with a successful one of the same genre.

Still, if it works...?
 

Vaz

We're in the pipe, five by five.
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I don't know how successful it is as a marketing strategy, but I also have never took a second look at books that position themselves like this.

Give me original. Not another version of something that's possibly superior.

My two coppers.

V
 

tinkerdan

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I think sometimes I'm drawn in initially by such claims if I'm familiar with the cited example.
However I always try to read a sample--if none is offered then I take a pass--if there is one and it proves to be too much less than advertise I also take a pass.

Conversely if it is too much like the comparison I might pass just because it shows a lack of imagination and creativity when cloning another authors work.
 

-K2-

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I don't like, love, and this mode of promotion is not my thing.

Frankly, it's not really simply trying to explain what the book/movie is about (otherwise it's a copy/rip-off), it is trying to state that the new 'thing' is par-or-better and is using the success of the other work to promote this unknown work. IOW, stealing the earned notoriety and claiming it as this new work's own.

K2
 

Eric Lewis

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After having gone through the querying/pitching process, I have a feeling this kind of thing might be partly a residue of authors trying to hook agents and editors with comp titles that are stretching a bit. The gatekeepers claim they want something new and original, but really they want a surefire moneymaker. Which doesn't exist, so they look for the next best thing, which is a clone of a past success.
 

farntfar

She turned me into a newt.
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Just to show how old and sad I am, I can never read one of these lines without seeing the waiter in the chinese restaurant saying, "If you lychees, you'll love these."
 

anno

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book reviews and writing tips
Imagine the shock of hearing Muddy Waters acoustic sessions and being led in the direction of the first Zeppelin album?
Doesn’t work for me as Fantasy writers are often described as the new Tolkien but in fact are nothing like...
Throwing a dwarf a wizard and a ring quest into a book doesn’t mean you’re an instant genius.
 

zmunkz

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If somebody I know (or reviewers that I trust to be objective) make those kind of comparisons, then it works very well for me. I know what genres I like and the hardest thing is finding good novels that play to that style.

However, that’s a different thing than “official” marketing, which I think you’re asking about. If the only one making the comparison is the author, then there is nothing to say it really is part of that genre/style and the author isn’t just trying to piggyback on a popular name. I’m not turned off whenever I see that on a cover or in an Amazon description, but is doesn’t do anything to get a sale from me.
 

Juliana

Juliana Spink Mills. "No capes!"
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I don't like those at all, but do see the merit in other sorts of comparisons. For example, a YA book I read was pitched as 'Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars' and that, to me, works, as it gives me an immediate feel for what sort of book this is (which is one of the reasons, apparently, that agents and editors love comparative titles so much in queries, because it makes it easier to pitch the books to acquisitions teams). So I think a lot of it is in how it's done...
 

Cathbad

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pitched as 'Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars' and that, to me, works, as it gives me an immediate feel for what sort of book this is. So I think a lot of it is in how it's done...
Yeah, I rather appreciate this kind of comparison, myself.
 

The Big Peat

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I can't really recall seeing it. I daresay I have, but that my brain filters it out as unimportant. In any case, the only thing on the cover that makes me think negatively of a book is the price :p

One suspects that it does work in general or they wouldn't be doing it. Possibly a tad generous but there we go. My guess would be that its aimed more at casual readers who don't read much in the genre outside the benchmarks, and more as just a general subliminal thing - it catches the eye, you remember it, the more you remember people mentioning something the more you trust it type thing. I mean, nobody buys perfumes or cars or whatever based on those ridiculous ads right? But the ad people keep running them, because they catch the attention and make you remember them.

In terms of a comparison making me likely to read a book, then the sort of X meets Y that Juliana talks about coming from people I trust matters a lot. Coming from the industry? Pfaaaah. I mean, everyone's talking about Marlon James' book as African GoT, but the people who've acutally read it are all "Nope". The industry says what gets attention.

After having gone through the querying/pitching process, I have a feeling this kind of thing might be partly a residue of authors trying to hook agents and editors with comp titles that are stretching a bit. The gatekeepers claim they want something new and original, but really they want a surefire moneymaker. Which doesn't exist, so they look for the next best thing, which is a clone of a past success.
[/QUOTE

The screenplay community talks about "The Same But Different" a lot. Aka a clone of a past success with enough new clothes to pass as new and original to casual inspection.
 

Biskit

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When I see that, I skip on to the next one. Maybe one day I'll be hit with "if you liked X you'll love Y" that's actually accurate, but that's on a par with buying a winning lottery ticket.
Unless it's an Amazon email. I automatically filter their recommendations into the bin.
 

Ihe

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That sort of thing raises expectations. Maybe it will increase sales from the casual reader crowds, but it might hurt the author in the long run when those expectations are betrayed (let’s face it, those comparisons will probably almost never fare well for the newcomer). I also stay away from books pitching like that because I feel it is a bit cheap and shameless to do it that way, and I always take it as hyperbole, but it’s true that I haven’t seen the strategy being used much lately.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Yes, once upon a time that kind of thing would grab my attention, long enough to read the back cover copy and take a look at the first page. (This was long before ebooks so no downloading samples.) But after many disappointments I paid less and less attention to such comparisons, since so many of them seemed false to me.

But it's a bit different now. If there is something in the book description, including a comparison with other books or authors, that catches my fancy I'm likely to give the book a chance via a downloaded sample. However, when I read, "if you like" and all the authors listed are writers whose work I have not liked, it usually helps me make up my mind very quickly not to buy the book.
 

Ihe

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On that note, I will say I feel there's a difference between comparing a book to another book and comparing the author to another author. I'm more flexible in my judgement when it's comparing authors, for some reason. One tries to evoke a writing style and genre, rather than content, when comparing authors. It could just be for the sake of name recognition too I suppose.

Comparing books is a bigger "sin", IMO, as it evokes more specific elements to compare. Also, disappointment would be more pronounced if it doesn't deliver, I imagine.
 
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