I’ve been soaking in other people’s words, which is always a pleasure. In September I read eight books, and I’m working on my sixth and seventh books of October.

I don’t normally read so much. Listening to audiobooks (and, yes, that does count as reading :o) means I go through books a lot faster. I’m doing both these days: listening to audiobooks and reading print books. I’ve usually got two going at once, often one nonfiction and one fiction book.

Lately my books have been a mix of mindset and writing books along with lots of young adult fantasy. Each nonfiction book seems to lead me to the next, or else I hear about something I want to read from a video or instagram post. 

The Hunt For Comps

My fiction reads, on the other hand, have been heavily focused on research for my novel. I’m on the hunt for comps. (Comps, or comparable titles, are books that give an agent an idea of where my book would be shelved in a book store. Finding a good comp or two is part of getting an agent interested in my book.) I’ve been doing searches on Amazon and at my library, creating spreadsheets with possible comps, tracking down the books—some as audiobooks, some in print from the library. I’ve even purchased a few.

I think I may have found a good main comp, but I’m not sure yet. It’s not a perfect match, of course. No book could be. The book I’d like to use as a comp feels darker than mine, and the writing is gorgeous—I would love my prose to be so beautiful. I’m not sure if those differences are a problem or not. On many other levels—the protagonist’s arc of change, the shift in worlds, the low-key nature of the romance, the blend of fantasy and reality—this potential comp has a lot of resonance for me. I’m very excited to have found something that rings so true to my own intentions for my story.

I originally listened to this book. Now I plan to read the print version so I can analyze it more carefully. And I’m still on the lookout for another comp to balance this one, maybe something that’s not quite as dark?

Almost out of space on my book page! But it’s worth it for a book like Escape Velocity.

This month, I also read a poetry book, something I haven’t done in a long while. Written by my sister-poet, Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, Escape Velocity has been so much fun to wiggle into. Some of my favorites are in there, as well as some delightful surprises. I laughed through “If Eulogies Read Like IEPs” and felt a twinge of recognition from “When Screens Replace Touch.” 

I hope you are having a good reading month—any recommendations?


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Kristin Ferragut
Kristin Ferragut
2 years ago

Oh Wow, Thanks, Mabel! Always enjoy our writing time and writing celebrations!

Comps — a new concept to me. So many pieces to writing a novel and getting it Out There! I’m grateful for these posts to follow your journey and have a world of admiration for your humility, honesty, and perseverance!

Thoughts on the creative process

Doses of everyday wonder

Mabel Ferragut self-portrait
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