Shall I compare myself to Hemingway?

Effective bragging seems like a necessary skill nowadays for  writers.   I have a friend who recently attended one of those publisher-writer events where you meet ten or so publishers’ representatives over two days and get maybe five minutes with each to pitch your book.  The organizers also prep you for the experience and help you work on your lines.  It apparently isn’t a time for  humility.  Part of the pitch consists of comparing yourself  to famous writers.  You need to come up with lines like  “My novel is cast in the tradition of The Sound and the Fury” or “Ayn Rand and Mickey Spillane have been major influences on my work.”

This speed-dating approach seems to work.  My friend tells me a number of the participants were requested to submit manuscripts.  Two publishers are looking at her novel.  I’m still following that old advice “Get an agent first!”  I’ve been “getting” an agent for about a year now.  And  even after I get one,  there is sure no guarantee they’ll ever find anyone to look at my manuscript.  I think I’m going to try speed-dating myself.  I just have to find the most appropriate famous novelists with whom to compare myself.

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