By Cindy Williams Schrauben
Over the past year or so, one of my roles on the ReFoReMo team has been to discuss comp titles. If you need a refresher, the following links will take you to my old posts and give you a good overview on comps in general.
This post will focus, more specifically, on how ReFoReMo can help you to identify good, recent comps for your work. The ReFoReMo Challenge not only supplies us with mentor texts on the blog, but a valuable catalog of recent PBs from which to draw in the Facebook group.
Although choosing comps might seem simple on the surface, there are more options than you might realize - and more pitfalls. For instance, it would be easy to assume that all mentor texts in a list will make good comps for one another. Not necessarily. For example, on the list entitled Rhymers, you will find the books WHEREVER YOU GO by Pat Zietlow Miller and Eliza Wheeler and THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat. While they both fit the list title (because they rhyme), they would not be good comps for one another.
Most picture books can be categorized in a variety of ways. This is why you will find many titles on several lists. I find the ReFoReMo lists extremely helpful when choosing comp titles. First, I categorize my own manuscript and, later, use these qualities to search the ReFoReMo lists for comps.
To demonstrate, let’s choose a specific title and see how many lists it could fit into. Hopefully, this will help you to do the same with your own manuscript.
For this exercise, I have chosen NOAH NOASAURUS by Elaine Kiely Kearns and Colin Jack. Our first task is to ask a few questions about that title. Questions about point of view, format, theme, etc. can identify similarities in other books - and therefore, help you to find good comps.
I have come up with the following (albeit, subjective) answers for NOAH NOASAURUS:
What is the….
POV: 3rd PPOV
THEME: Character transformation (growth); Universal themes (emotion); Relatable
F vs. NF: F
AUDIENCE: 3-5 year olds
With these answers, we can search the following lists on the ReFoReMo facebook site to find comparable titles.
Kearns has identified the following titles as comps for NOAH NOASAURUS. These titles can all be found on the above lists (often in several).
GRUMPY PANTS by Claire Messer (for Universal theme, Animal MCs, Humor, Transformation/Growth);
EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS by Shelly Becker (for Audience, Humor, Theme),
and FIELD GUIDE TO THE GRUMPASAURUS by Edward Hemingway (for Animal MCs, Relatable Characters, etc. )
So… start by categorizing your own manuscript and see where it leads you. You might, also, find a new twist or strategy for improving your MS - after all, that’s what ReFoReMo is all about.
Join me in August for Comps in Your Query.