Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Community Comp Effort: ReFoReMo Lists Can Help and So Can You!

By Cindy Schrauben

One of my roles on the ReFoReMo team is to connect mentor texts to comp titles. If this is your first experience with comp titles, you might enjoy learning more about the What? Where? Why? and How? of comping in my previous posts: Why Comp?Finding Good Comp TitlesUsing ReFoReMo to Find Comps, and Using Comp Titles in Your Query.

Today, I'd like to dig a little deeper. Although many of you are already familiar with the mentor text lists in our Facebook group, I have received some questions regarding their use - and even a few individuals that didn’t know they existed. So, I am going to give you a crash course.

On a computer, access to the “lists” as we call them, can be found in the left margin of our ReFoReMo Facebook group. (If you are not yet a member, you must request to join the group and be admitted before you can access them.) The link is titled: Files.  On a mobile device, you will see a button with the same title below our members’ photos.

After clicking on Files you will see the following (mobile device will appear different).

Here are a couple tips -

If you click on NAME, the list of documents will appear in alphabetical order by title. This is especially helpful in finding comp titles.

If you prefer to see the documents listed in order of upload or revision date, click on MODIFIED (the default setting). This is helpful if you want to view the lists that were edited recently.

Today we will use a pitch to identify key-words that will lead you to the appropriate lists.  Let’s start with this recent release from Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Hilary Leung.

In reading the jacket copy for Two ToughTrucks I found the following words or themes:  Trucks, First Day of School, Friends, Getting Along, and some Onomatopoeias. If I was searching for comp titles for this manuscript, these words would prompt me to look at the following ReFoReMo lists:

+      Character Transformation/ Growth (getting along)       
+      Fear (because, first day of school, right?)
+      Friendships/Relationships
+      Onomatopoeias
+      School

Though not explicitly mentioned in the pitch (or jacket copy), the following lists are relevant, as well.
+      Rhymers
+      Inanimate Objects as Main Characters
+      Identity (because one truck is less confident)

There are additional lists that you could investigate, as well. For instance, lists that identify age range, point of view, and format.

Next… Let’s take a quick look at Future Astronaut by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Allison Black.

This adorable board book would prompt me to look at the following lists.
+      Board Books
+      Non-Fiction/ Fiction with Non-fiction Components
+      Relatable Main Characters

In doing so, I have chosen the following two comps for Future Astronaut:
+      I Want to be an Astronaut or a Stuntman, or a Spy, or a Fighter Pilot by Ruby Brown and Alisa Coburn
+      Nerdy Babies - Space by Emmy Kastner

Both of these books have non-fiction components, the subject matter of space, are board books, and have the same audience.

Now it’s your turn. Read Two Tough Trucks and Future Astronaut, or access one of your current pitches or mentor texts. Look through the lists, and see what comps you can come up with. Share your ideas in the comments below. I think you will be amazed how much you learn from the experience.

These lists exist for all of us. Our entire community contributes to them. It’s also a great way to build your comp identification skills. When you identify a text as a stellar mentor, add it to a list or two. Look for the “edit” feature when you pull up a list. Did you recently ask for recommendations in our group? Take those recs, and add them now. Together, we are more.