Don’t know what a comp title is? Well, it’s a book or a film whose title gives an idea of the tone of your project. Often the comparison is given in the “X meets Y” format. So Alien might be Jaws meets 2001: A Space Odyssey, Avatar might be Fern Gully meets Dances with Wolves, and Chronicle might be Akira meets… Akira.
Two comp titles seems like a good number. Only one, and the agent might wonder why they need your book: if they want to read something like Oliver Twist, they can go read Oliver Twist. But if they’re intrigued to read a cross between Oliver Twist and Blade Runner, they’ll have to wait till your manuscript hits their desk. Just to be clear, I am not advising you to write Oliver Twist meets Blade Runner. Not even Spielberg should try that. Have you seen A.I.? *Shudder*
The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde is the one Wilde biography every bookshop carries. It’s also one of the most exciting. There’s quite a bit of speculation, no references, and it focuses on Wilde’s sexuality: just like OWCA. Books about Wilde’s American tour do exist, but they’re tonally nowhere near my project, so it wouldn’t be right to mention them.
If you’re working on a writing project, how did you settle on your comp titles? And do you think three comp titles is too many?
Discover more about Oscar Wilde's American lecture tour, and our comic about it, at oscarwildecomics.com