Literary Agent Series: Rising Above the Competition with Comp Titles Zoom Seminar, Saturday, February 3rd, 2024
Saturday, February 3rd, 2024
2-Part Zoom Seminar
Live Seminar Via Zoom
Starts at 1PM EST/ 12PM CST/10AM PST
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
*A recording of this seminar will be made available to enrollees.
Led by industry-leading literary agent at Trident Media Group Mark Gottlieb.
“It’s all about the comps” is a phrase commonly tossed around book publishing, but why is that so important, and what does that really mean?
It's important for authors to hold themselves in high esteem, by making comparisons of their writing to success stories. That is why literary agent Mark Gottlieb of book publishing's leading literary agency Trident Media Group likes to sit down with the writers he works with and nail down what the comparative or competitive book titles to their manuscript might be, before making a submission to editors at publishing houses.
Those in the publishing industry casually refer to this as asking what the "comps" are (short for comparative or competitive book titles). These are books in the current publishing marketplace that are similar and successful. It's not just about simply saying that a book or author is not unique—it's about celebrating how great a potential publication could be...
A literary agency receiving a query letter or submission from an author, or an editor at a publishing house receiving a pitch and manuscript from a literary agent, will need to know what the comps are. The literary agent and the editor will be trying to figure out where that particular book/author would fit within their list of authors. A literary agent or book editor will also ask themselves where the book/author would be shelved in a bookstore. Most important of all, an agent or editor will be asking themselves how well that book/author would perform in the marketplace.
So, how to go about assembling the comps for one’s own book? It’s a lot more complicated than simply saying something like: my work is this meets that. There are so many wrong ways to go about the comp title process, with just a very small list of how to go about it in the right way.
This class focuses on the correct methods of assembling comp titles, while understanding current industry needs, and will help make the comp title process simple. An author that has assembled a good list of two to three comp titles will be miles ahead in the publishing process. The process of assembling comp titles may seem small or insignificant at first glance, but it is actually a huge part of the publishing process and a key player in a book's success. The comp process ultimately helps readers find their way to an author's book.
Mark Gottlieb is a highly ranked literary agent both in overall deals and other individual categories. Using that same initiative and insight for identifying talented writers, he is actively building his own client list of authors. Mark Gottlieb is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available at book publishing’s leading literary agency, Trident Media Group. During his time at Trident Media Group, Mark Gottlieb has represented numerous New York Times bestselling authors, as well as award-winning authors, and has optioned and sold books to film and TV production companies. He previously ran the agency’s audiobook department, in addition to working in foreign rights. Mark Gottlieb is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres and looking forward to bringing new and established authors to the curious minds of their future readers.
Session 1: What Good Comp Titles Are & Why They Are Important
1:00 PM EST - 1:45 PM EST via Zoom
This first section focuses on defining what competitive/comparative (comp) titles are and how the book publishing industry uses comp titles to evaluate an author’s work. How to correctly search out comp titles out and how to correctly apply comp titles to one’s work will also be explored. The importance of being accurate in the comp title process will be emphasized, for in fully comparing apples to apples, a book editor at a publishing house will try to base their potential offer to publish on the sales performance of the comp titles. Having the comps handy can therefore help the book publisher in the actual publication process, by raising a book publisher’s expectations. As much as possible, an author should make literary agents and editors think that their book has a good-looking, smart and athletic "twin" in each of its comps. Time for questions and comments will be afforded toward the end of the session.
Session 2: Correctly Assembling Comp Titles & Utilizing Them
1:55 PM EST - 3:00 PM EST via Zoom
The second session will follow with an opportunity for class participants to share what their book is about, and they may share what they feel might be good comps for their book. Whether class participants do or do not come prepared with comps, every participant will have an opportunity to have their work evaluated and workshopped in such a way that the class will help come up with strong and correctly applied comps for the work presented. In using the information provided, the class leader and class participants will evaluate the comps provided and try to further strengthen the existing comps, or seek out better examples in order to help with everyone’s presentation. This is a great opportunity to get one’s work in front of a literary agent from book publishing’s leading literary agency, Trident Media Group. Most of all, participants will learn how to meld their work to the current needs of the marketplace. Time for further questions and comments will be afforded toward the end of the session.
- How to describe one’s own work concisely
- Understanding the needs of the marketplace
- Methods to attract agents & editors
- How to write to an existing audience
- Leveraging prior success to hold one’s work in high esteem
“To find someone in the publishing world these days who possesses such style and grace…a throwback. Crown moldings and brass door knocker in a world of prefab housing.”
—Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author
“He is professional, knowledgeable, and deeply cares about the careers of his clients. …I'm lucky to have Mark in my corner!”
—Alan Hlad, USA Today bestselling author
“My writing career never would have advanced as fast or as far without Mark's help.” —James Breakwell, bestselling author
“He goes above and beyond his work expectations by cultivating caring relationships with his clients, always expressing empathy and patience. He is kind, supportive and knows what he's doing.”
—Ruby Karp, author of Earth Hates Me
"I wanted to thank you for your time this weekend for the Hook and Query writing seminar. It's hard to know from reading articles alone what a query letter or pitch should look like." -Jed H., Workshop Student
"It was my absolute pleasure to meet you virtually on Saturday! Thank you for the wealth of detailed information and on-the-spot, yet carefully crafted critiques you shared with each of us— the experience is treasured, and invaluable." -Mica K., Workshop Student
"Saturday’s class opened my eyes to the mistakes of my query submissions, which boil down to two crucial elements: word count & comps. Soliciting a bloated manuscript with no comps outside of a couple of 20+ year-old movie references advertised a novice understanding of the publishing industry, making me a rightful candidate for the rejection pile." -William W., Workshop Student
"Thank you, Mark, for this wonderful workshop!" -Diane G., Workshop Student
“You gave me enough writing technique and marketing information to feel like I can get started with confidence. Thank you!” — Workshop Student
“Thank you for being so diligent, so focused and so professional in your approach to the class. I found the whole experience exceeded my most optimistic expectations.” — Workshop Student
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This Workshop will meet via Zoom on Saturday, February 3rd, 2024.
Session 1 will be 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM EST
10-minute Break Between Sessions
Session 2 will be 1:55 PM – 3:00 PM EST
*Recordings of all sessions will be made available to everyone who enrolls.PAYMENT OPTIONS:
You can pay for the course in full or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.