YA Writer Contest: Flaunt Your Comps


search-2 Hi, Linda’s intern Tara here! So, we’re having a YA Comp Contest! (I’m doing YA again because not only am I most familiar with YA books, but we have a great YA book as a prize!) The winner will receive an Advanced Reader Copy of Carl Hiaasen’s new book, Skink No Surrender, plus a copy of Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein’s must-read guide for children’s book writers, Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. SecondSightFinalCover-9

Making a comparison of your manuscript to another book can tell a lot about your work. It makes it easier for an agent or editor to imagine who your reader might be. Your manuscript doesn’t need to be identical to a book for you to compare the two. You don’t want it to come off sounding like your manuscript is the doppelganger of another title. Instead, pick a few aspects of your work that compare to those same aspects in another book. This demonstrates that yours has some really great qualities that have worked for other writers. Thinking about the books that are similar to your work is a healthy and helpful exercise. Then when you write your query letter you can include your comp, if you like.

searchHere’s an example of what I mean:

Four teenaged girlfriends spend their first summer apart, yet are still connected by their deep bond of friendship and a magical pair of pants that brings luck to each of them in unexpected ways. SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS is like a teenaged version of DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD in a light-hearted way showing how strong female friendships can impact our lives.search-1

Here are the Comp Contest rules:

  • Write a logline for your YA novel. (If you’re not sure how to write a logline, refer to my post about them.)
  • Pick one YA book that you think is the best comparison for your work. In one-to-two sentences, describe how your manuscript is similar to that book. Don’t forget to include the title and author of the book you’re using.
  • Post your entry into the comment box below.
  • Entries must be submitted before midnight (EST) on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
  • Only one entry per person (and sorry, but Linda’s clients may not enter).
  • This contest is open to U.S. & Canadian residents only, due to the high cost of international shipping.
  • Winners will be posted here on Friday, August 8th.

Now, put your YA book knowledge to the test and find your perfect comparison!


8025427_1Tara Slagle is Linda Epstein‘s intern and is working toward her M.S. in Publishing at Pace University. After completing her degree she would like to work in the publishing world as either an acquisitions editor or literary agent, focusing on YA and (the emerging) New Adult titles. 



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10 responses to “YA Writer Contest: Flaunt Your Comps

  1. Carmella

    When her gay brother is kicked out, 16-year-old Kelsey wages two campaigns: one to keep her brother’s news secret from the kids at school and another to get her mom to accept him so he can come home for Thanksgiving. KELSEY OUT LOUD is a sibling version of OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsberg, exploring just how far we’ll go to avoid labels and the costs of finally speaking up.

  2. Sixteen-year-old Sarah Koziol values three things: farm life, family, and keeping her abuse hidden. That last one’s easy – until she meets Bonnie.

    A girl who struggles with poverty and with being different from her peers falls for one who is assertive and rebellious in my LGBT contemporary novel WINTER ON BRIMSTONE HILL; it pairs Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor (from Eleanor and Park) with John Green’s Margo (from Paper Towns).

  3. sparrowkatie

    Okay, so I’m not in the contest (because the illustrious Linda is already my agent), but I’ve been working on this to help form some of the shape of my novel.

    Sera Blue has just moved to San Francisco for the summer, like all the Blue girls do when they turn sixteen. They serve some kind of um… god (what?) who dwells in the city, and after that summer they are made: rich, influential, and lucky. But the details of how to get from Sera’s current life of just getting by and living with her schizophrenic mom, to that charmed life? Super fuzzy. Maybe the hot, probably-alcoholic, book-smart boy who is serving a different god will help her out. Or maybe he’ll just get her in all kinds of trouble with the tech god, the goddess of the sea, and the rest of the specific deities of San Francisco.

    Sera Blue is a young adult novel that is the row house next door to American Gods and shares a backyard with The Hunger Games.

  4. When commoner Raisa is chosen to wed the crown prince, she thinks her worst problem will be learning to curtsey– until she awakens an ancient and vengeful river elemental that begins a war her country is too weak to win.
    RIVER SPELL, like THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, shows one girls struggle not only against supernatural powers, but against peoples’ perceptions of who she is.

  5. Mostly Hoshi

    Alex is quiet, overprotective, and deeply disappointed to be an involuntary shapeshifter. Too passive for their own good, Alex ends up at St Thaddeus’ School for Desperate Situations. Not only must they learn to control their race and gender, but Alex must also try and figure out their feelings for classmate Darlene, who is as beautiful and caustic as she is constructed and alcoholic.
    Much like Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS, a school for magical teens quickly becomes entrenched in questions of personal identity and lies. Balancing magic and interpersonal relationships, BOTTLE FAIRIES is the story of how even the best of intentions quickly become complicated.

  6. The senior year Mesa has pictured begins to slip away when her grandmother, mayor of Devil Springs, calls for revival and a town name change to mark the devil’s official banishment from his hold on the teenagers of the town. At home, Grandma Avis buys Mesa a hope chest, pressures her to get baptized, and stands in the way of her relationship with Cody, leading scorer of the basketball team and every girl’s not-so-secret crush. As Mesa fights to understand what’s driving her grandmother’s rising fanaticism, she begins to uncover the demons Avis is so eager to cast out. With the truth set free, Mesa must redefine both family and faith.

    DEVIL SPRINGS is contemporary young adult fiction that blends the emotional tension of Sara Zarr’s ONCE WAS LOST with the southern grit of Flannery O’Connor.

  7. Simeon Mann

    In a world where everyone possesses magic, three teenage siblings, already battling sibling rivalry and self-doubt, are drawn into clashing sides of a struggle to save their nation from genocide. MAGICIA: DIVERGING PATHES often mirrors ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card, reflecting how special talents and strong beliefs can fracture even the strongest of families and thrust people into roles never desired or even contemplated, but which must be embraced for the sake of their nation’s survival.

  8. Destiny

    YA thriller

    In a race against time, two teens form an unlikely alliance to uncover the truth behind a series of deadly bombings and clear their brothers’ names.

    Set over the course of seventy-two hours, ALLIANCE is a YA thriller written in a dual POV and could appeal to teen viewers of the television show 24 and readers who loved the fast-paced thrills and complicated protagonists in Marie Lu’s LEGEND.

  9. YA – romantic thriller – International Intrigue

    The nine days Dru and Darcy are together on an international tour, they witness three murders, are chased throughout London, Paris and Rome by the killers, and become involved with espionage, stolen paintings and a stolen diamond and emerald necklace.

    Dan Brown set his novels, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, in Paris, London, Rome and the Vatican, with his characters involved in chases and life and death circumstances. My protagonists, Dru and Darcy, are running for their lives in these same cities, with the Louvre, The Palace of Versailles, The London Eye, the Tower of London, the Coliseum, The Spanish Steps and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square as backdrops for the life and death situations they encounter.

    • Emily Weaver

      When four teenagers find themselves embroiled in a worldwide bio terrorism plot they must connect the dots to determine who is pulling the strings and why their own country wants them dead. THE GOD STRAIN gives a nod to dystopian themes while weaving in contemporary settings and an “amnesiac” chase narrative that might best be described as a YA take on the BOURNE IDENTITY.