A coda to yesterday's post... I recently had an academic send me his novel proposal. It came completely cold (that is, we'd never met nor spoken), but on the first page he said in the "competitive works" section that the only thing he could really compare his novel to was THE LORD OF THE RINGS. He seemed like a sharp enough guy, so I wrote back and gave him some feedback. I mentioned that listing one of the ten bestselling fiction series of all time is probably not the best way to do comparable titles.
His response: "Well, THE LORD OF THE RINGS is really the ONLY fiction series that compares to mine. And actually mine is better, but I felt I HAD to include something as a comparison."
Uh-huh. There's certainly no lack of confidence in this guy. I turned it down, since he's not really interested in listening or learning. And because I'm not really taking on new novelists right now. And because, let's face it, he's a horse's ass. A statement like that will get him laughed out of an editor's office. They'll reject him based on hubris alone. (As one editor once said to me when rejecting a proposal, "We love the manuscript, Chip, but I'm afraid the author's ego won't fit into our warehouse.")