I’m a little fed up with being compared with other authors. I’ve been equaled with Kurt Vonegut at least three times, Christopher Moore (once), Carl Hiaseen (Who?) and Monty Python several times. Well, that last one isn’t so bad, as it sets the tone in which most of my comedy books dabble in. I have been also compared with Stephen King (twice) during my horror-writing phase. I guess many out there believe I ought to be pleased… but no…
From a marketing standpoint this would be great if someday a member of the aging Monty Python Fan crowd stumbled upon one of my funny books (say Eco Station One) and read it, and he or she found it so pervasively amusing that he or she would then run to the nearest Facebook MP fan page and recommended it as a “it’s as if Eric Idle and John Cleese got lost in the jungle with a couple of gorilla suits!” thingy. Alas, this won’t happen.
It would also be fantastic if I had a few fans lurking in several Goodreads or Amazon forums and they used these comparisons to recommend my books to others; when asked what the book are like, they could say it reads as so and so. Sigh. Alas it… blah blah.
(You know the drill by now)
Besides, comparisons are really a lazy way to advise others on what a book (or movie) will be like. What’s the issue here? That the person who’s following these comparison-basis recommendations doesn’t want to invest their time and effort to form an opinion if he or she will like it. A comparison, in this case, is a shortcut to an opinion.
I once heard an anecdote (probably apocryphal) about the pitch session of the original Alien movie at the Executive Board of 20th Century Fox studios. In their desperation, the people trying to sell the concept had to resort to make a comparison. “It’s as Jaws…in outer space!” I can imagine the embarrassing silence which hung upon that chairboard…
I suppose we’re lucky that they finally greenlighted it.
Want to know my deepest, most heartfelt but unfulfilled fantasy? One day, sometime in the near future, when I see someone recommending any book, I wish to hear…. “It reads like the latest Edwin Stark’s zany novel.”
A man can dream, can’t he?