The Same But Different

I’ve used a couple different comparative titles over the course of writing, querying, and selling Temper:

Black SwanTemper gets compared to this dark and twisty ballet movie all the time, and it pleases me to no end. I actually studied Black Swan as I was plotting Temper and took copious notes on the story structure. The protagonist in Black Swan could not be more different from Temper’s heroine Kira, though, which is where my next comp title comes in.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll – This one actually ended up in the official marketing copy for Temper. My book doesn’t have much in common with Luckiest Girl Alive plot-wise, but any reader who likes spending time in the head of Knoll’s scathing narrator Ani will probably enjoy Temper’s Kira and Joanna too.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – I used this book as a comp title in some of my query letters, when I wanted to use two books instead of mixing in a film/TV comp. It’s a dark theater-themed drama like Temper, but maybe not the best comp because it’s considerably more literary than Temper, rather than a pure psychological thriller.

UnREAL – I used this TV show as a comp for the Pitch Wars agent showcase last year, and it seemed to do the trick! It takes place behind the scenes at a reality show rather than a theater but it’s similar to Temper in terms of soapy backstage drama, “unlikeable” female characters, and feminist themes.

As you can see, I’m definitely a fan of using movie and television comps if they’re apt, though I think you should always have at least one book in the mix to show that you’re well-read in your genre, at least when you’re querying.

I can’t wait to see what other books, etc. people might compare Temper to in future reviews! And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to work on my next book, which I pitched using Robin Wasserman’s Girls on Fire and Killing Eve as comps.

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Layne Fargo

Layne Fargo is a thriller author with a background in theater and library science. She’s a Pitch Wars mentor, a member of the Chicagoland chapter of Sisters in Crime, and the cocreator of the podcast Unlikeable Female Characters. Layne lives in Chicago with her partner and their pets.

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