What happens if, after all that reading, you can't find the perfect, recent, New York Times bestselling comp for your manuscript? That's okay. You can get creative. Instead of mentioning a straight, one-to-one comp title in your query letter, try an "x meets y" formulation. Here, you can also bring in TV shows, movies, classic novels, Shakespearian plays--the possibilities truly become endless. I saw a sale in Publisher's Marketplace not long ago for a sci-fi pitched as "Harry Potter meets Star Trek." Seriously, how amazing does that sound?? And they even got to work in the forbidden Harry Potter comparison. It worked because it was in "x meets y" form (plus the authors were already bestsellers, but set that aside for the moment). Here's another example that is so great, I can't get over it: Kim Liggett's YA horror-romance novel Blood and Salt was pitched as "Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn." Chills!