Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Using ReFoReMo Lists to Find Comp Titles

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….

TONE:                         Humor

POV:                           3rd PPOV

THEME:                      Character transformation (growth); Universal themes (emotion); Relatable

CHARACTER(s):        Animals

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.


  1. What a great post. Love this approach and appreciate the resource!

  2. This is a great way to search for comp titles. Cindy! TY for this idea. I'll be sharing this.

  3. Excellent post! I've saved & shared!

  4. Love the way you thought out the book you wanted to comp and then researched the lists to find good comps. Thanks for sharing a great process!

  5. Super helpful! I’m saving this one

  6. This is so funny! I JUST went to the Reforemo FB page to find some mentor texts before I read this. Thanks!

  7. This is SO cool and helpful -- but how do you "search" on the REFOREMO FB page? I didn't know that was a thing and now I'm giddy to try it!

  8. Aha! Something I struggle with. Thanks for this help!

  9. I am continuously browsing online for ideas that can aid me. Thanks!
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  10. This is what I needed today, something to help find these comparable texts. I can break it down better now.

  11. Thanks, I'm in the process of looking for comps for my WIP. I love Reforemo, but didn't stop to think it would be a great resource for comps.

  12. Thanks for giving me new ways to think about comps. I struggle with this, so I appreciate this post. :)