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Researching your comparison titles

August 10th, 2014

Many authors get stuck trying to figure out what titles to compare with their proposed book. Here is some guidance based on my prospectus model, and a little instructional video on using Amazon Advanced Search to find the most relevant titles.

FROM MY PROSPECTUS MODEL FOR “LITERATURE REVIEW”:This should not be an exhaustive list — you can go into detail in your book’s final bibliography. Instead, this section should give your editor a concise snapshot of what other titles currently matter in your book’s field, and why. Your challenge here is to bring your editor up to date on what other publishers have done regarding your subject, while continuing to make the case that your book is necessary within this context.

All of the books should have been published (1) within the last decade, and preferably within the past five-seven years, unless they are established classics; and (2) by a university press or one of a very small handful of trade presses that have scholarly imprints. Also include forthcoming titles, which you can find through Amazon Advanced Search (the date function) or our library’s Forthcoming Books In Print subscription. You can put purely trade titles in a separate area of this section if they are extraordinarily on-point, but please don’t bother comparing your UP title to the most recent offering from Thomas Friedman or Malcolm Gladwell. If you really think your book compares, then speak to Carole Sargent, because in that case we should discuss a different strategy altogether, one involving a trade book proposal.

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