The word comps is well-known in the real estate market. It means comparables. To find out what your house is worth, you need to see what other houses like yours cost.

It works the same with books. Agents and editors compare your book to other books like yours. It is a standard part of the acquisitions process at many publishing houses. Editors must identify current books that compete with your manuscript and compare them.

Why are book comps so important? Comparing your manuscript to known titles lets the publisher know…

  • what your book is about
  • where your book fits in the market
  • what type of competition your book will face

Finding comps for your manuscript before you send it in will help you…

  • research the competition
  • make sure your book is unique

(If your book is not unique in some way, why will anyone buy it?)

Q. Where will I find three books like mine?
A. Use these resources:

  • Begin with your own bookshelves at home.
  • Check out books from your local library.
  • Browse the online Children’s Picture Book Database at Miami University for a collection of picture book abstracts searchable by topics, concepts, and skills.
  • Use the lists on the Book Awards, Best Book Lists and Best Books by State pages to help you broaden your search.
  • Visit your library to see if it has one of these books on the reference shelves:


A to Zoo: Subject Access to Children’s Picture Books (9th Edition)

Best Books for Children: Preschool through Grade 6 (10th Edition)

Q. Do my comp books need to be written in English?
A. No. Over the years I have worked with writers from every continent and many of them read books in their own languages. As long as the homework is written in English, it’s all good.

Copyright © 2017 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.