Comps for the Author
Comps is a publishing stem-term with several possible meanings and applications, all of which go to how your work fits into the marketplace. Doing this reveals your style, genre, and audience in a short-hand to industry pros. It can also reveal how topical your story line is, offers an indication to how audience size might expand by timely proximity to headlines.
When you get serious about writing agents or publishers, both will want this done. Your prospective agent will need comps to pitch your work to publishers, and publishing editors will need your comps to pitch to their circulation editor.
Comp can be described as the shortened version of the following. You can choose to focus on one word, like comp-eting and build your list. However, doing it for all variant meanings of comp will reward you more.
Comparison: titles of works that exhibit similar qualities found within your work.
Competing: titles of works that exhibit contrasting qualities found within your work.
Completing: titles of works that exhibit open-ended qualities finished within your work.
Complementary: titles of works that exhibit qualities that are different but fit those within your work.
The discussion of business competition is expected by every investor, and even though this isn’t strictly a Start-up Business Plan, you need to have knowledge of those who write in your genre. By building your comp list, this exercise will function quite well for this business expectation which is a successful strategy. It will also help clarify advertising campaigns that allow targeted ads (Amazon, certainly).
For my own work, I would draw comparisons to titles from Lee Child (Jack Reacher) and Gérard de Villiers (Malko Linge) as examples of action and espionage.