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I occasionally see in book blurbs things like "For fans of Gone Girl and ..." etc (or Hunger Games, or Harry Potter, or Jack Reacher, you get it...)

What's the general consensus on this sort of thing? Does it make the author look desperate, or is it good for getting in the search results?

I saw one recently and it smacked of trying too hard so I didn't even bother with the sample, but in other cases it HASN'T put me off. Perhaps it was just the way this one example phrased it.
 

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There tend to be mixed views on this. I did it when I started out as I wanted people to know what they were getting, but there is the school of thought that says you're setting yourself up for a fall by comparing yourself to more successful authors. It can backfire.
 

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I pass by books that use this type of thing. I'm invariably disappointed because the book will be nothing like whatever it was compared to.

If the book is like a certain other author's, or another book, then make the description (blurb) show that. Don't break the fourth wall and talk to the reader.

But, others will disagree, because so-and-so does it, and they sell, or big publishers do it and they sell, or whatever. Remember, people do a lot of things and sell books, but that doesn't mean it will work for you.

You should do what you think is best for your book. My advice is always to do what is best for the story, and what is best for the author's career.
 

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I don't like this, particularly for self-publishers, because the author is describing HIMSELF as like this more famous and better selling author. It smacks of self-aggrandizement.

In print books, I've sometimes bought a book based on a cover quote from a famous author whose work I liked. And sometimes I'm disappointed in the book and consequently with the famous author who led me astray. 'I thought I'd like this because YOU said it was good!'
 

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I'd leave it to my readers to compare me to more successful writers in their reviews if they feel like doing so.

It's great praise when it comes from a reader. When you say it yourself, not so much...  ;)
 

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this reader just skips past the book.  tell me about YOUR book and i'll decide if i think it's similar to something else.

 

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The thing is, if a reader is looking for something like... Harry Potter
, Jack Reacher
, Hunger Games
, Twilight,
etc....there's already a couple dozen books claiming to be the next in the genre. It seems sort of... weak... to jump on the bandwagon.
 

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My upcoming police procedural serial is inspired by Breaking Bad, Dexter (before it jumped the shark), Law & Order, The Blacklist, etc. But I'll let the readers figure that out.

Honestly, it's too unique for a direct comparison because it's a mash-up of a million things. It focuses on one character as she digs a deeper grave for herself (a dirty FBI agent who's also trying to be a good mother and wife) while introducing new cases in each book.

I combined my two favorite things. Police procedurals and character driven stories about terrible people  :D

Anyway, "For Fans of" wouldn't stop me from reading a book. But I would never put it on one of mine.
 

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I'm going to be the reader who throws the kink in the trend here. I've never thought the author wrote those bits.
Neither has my wife.
Which is to say, that readers who aren't savvy about how self-pub works, will probably be more taken in by such tactics.
I was reading over blurbs in my genre to get ideas a couple weeks back and my wife pointed at where someone had "For fans of the Dresden Files..." and asked "So... who writes that? Did the author put that there? Can you do that? Or did someone else write it?" And I had to seriously think about it for a bit. I figured finally, "The author put it there. This person is self-pub, so they had to have written it because no one else would have been writing it for them." And my wife confirmed, "So you can DO that?" And I figured "Yeah, I guess you can."

Which is to say, as readers, we always took those as pretty "Official" statements. Someone important had said that, right? The author didn't just say it about themselves... right??
So we generally looked at such things and responded more with, "Ooh. Well I like the Dresden Files... Let's see how the blurb reads..."
Also, never considered those parts "Part of the Blurb" just "Near the blurb".

A little sideward info about readers who aren't writers/don't know much about the publishing side.
 

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Adrian Howell said:
I'd leave it to my readers to compare me to more successful writers in their reviews if they feel like doing so.

It's great praise when it comes from a reader. When you say it yourself, not so much... ;)
This.
 

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carinasanfey said:
Interesting point of view - but just because we can get away with something like that by preying on the ignorance of some readers, does it mean we should?
What exactly are we "getting away with" by "preying on the ignorance" of readers, though? I'm interested to see that most people seem to be assuming that the work of the author who uses the comparison is bound to be inferior to the original.
 

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"Read this awesome book if you enjoy The Hunger Games, Dr. Seuss, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Holy Bible. There's something for everyone in this work of art! Give me your money and read it now!"
 

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Interesting question. Back in my agent-querying days, there was a practice of including some touch-point reference in the pitch, a sort of shorthand for the benefit of a busy agent or editor who wants a feel for your narrative direction without actually reading your whole ms. For including in indie-pubbed books, though, my instincts would tell me to err on the side of extreme caution. And I think that instinct is coming from my reader brain. I've picked up a bazillion books and seen that "for fans of..." statement, and reader brain simultaneously says, "That would be great!" and "I'm skeptical--PROVE IT!" I don't want to my book up for a negative review by a reader who was disappointed that my virtual promise of similarity didn't pan out.
 

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carinasanfey said:
Personally, I don't think it's our place as authors to make that decision, it's up to our readers. I think what we're 'getting away with', if Arshness' posts applies to lots of readers, is writing something glowing about ourselves that our readers assume is written by someone other than the author. It doesn't sit right with me, but that's just my 2c.

Obviously, these decisions are ours to make individually. The above is just my opinion on the ethics of it, and, of course, other opinions are equally valid. I just thought Arshness' post raised an interesting question, and it was something I hadn't thought about before, because I've always assumed that potential readers know we write those things ourselves...
As indie publishers we are writers, publishers and marketing departments rolled into one. Once the book is finished you (generic you) are no longer an author but a marketer, and your job is to sell the book in the best way you can. You don't necessarily have to do it by comparing your work to someone else's, but big publishing houses do it all the time so why shouldn't we if that seems appropriate in a particular case? We are supposed to be as good as "proper" writers and "proper" publishers, so if that is the case I don't see why we shouldn't borrow their tactics. Let's face it - if you (again generic you) don't feel confident that your work is as good as the bestsellers, then why should anyone else?
 

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I've been seeing one author post in a bunch of facebook groups that their book is "A cross between The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Gray". I liked HG, but I wouldn't be interested in 50 Shades to be honest. I don't think it's appropriate to draw those comparisons, but if a reader posts a review drawing their own comparisons then awesome. Otherwise you could put a bunch of best seller titles in your description and look like you're obviously trying to ride some coat tails...
 

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Only if you like 1 star reviews.  Let the reader decide.    They will put it in the reviews.
It also looks cheap and tacky: whether you put it there or your copy writer puts it there.
Now I have read a couple of the blurb compares to books.  Usually at the new author's request.    Unfortunately,  it is nearly always a case of no you are not the next big name in your genre. 
Also please do not put reader reviews in your blurb.    Show me your voice.  For all you know I may think Mary Reviewer (name made up) doesn't know a thing about books. 
 

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drewavera said:
I've been seeing one author post in a bunch of facebook groups that their book is "A cross between The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Gray". I liked HG, but I wouldn't be interested in 50 Shades to be honest. I don't think it's appropriate to draw those comparisons, but if a reader posts a review drawing their own comparisons then awesome. Otherwise you could put a bunch of best seller titles in your description and look like you're obviously trying to ride some coat tails...
Amazon is cracking down on big names in the blurbs.
 

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cinisajoy said:
Now I have read a couple of the blurb compares to books. Usually at the new author's request. Unfortunately, it is nearly always a case of no you are not the next big name in your genre.
Maybe in self-publishing land. But in trade-publishing land, the marketing department decides what--if any--comparisons to make, and the author has no say, even if it's dead wrong. A new author can't just tell marketing they want a particular comparison, either.
 

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There is author in my genre who compares himself to Tom Clancy.

He'd be like Tom Clancy, if Tom wrote his books when he was 6 years old.
 
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