The words every Author dreads. Your book is a lot like (insert popular novel here). But should we cringe when our book is compared to (insert authors name here) novel?
I am finding that my debut novel is being compared to (wait for it) Twilight. I can't deny there are a lot of similarities. A young woman, two gorgeous guys, and vampire like immortals (The name of my book is Immortal. I know I got really creative with that one). Though there is no drinking blood and not everyone will survive (have to wait for the sequel to find out who). The ending to the first book is decidedly not Twilight-esk (this is mentioned in every review so far).
The question remains as authors should we baulk when our novels are compared to whatever book happens to be popular at the time? Personally, I think not. We as humans tend to group things. It gives us comfort knowing everything has an order. As readers and writers a lot of us tend to like a certain type of novel. (I know for me it is shear torture having to read through the first 50 or so pages of Stephen Kings' and Ann Rice's novels. I also know going in I will have to deal with this.)
I know being compared to another writer can be chafing, but it can also be good. I think the thing most of us worry about is can/will it be bad for our book? I think the answer to this is yes and no. If someone didn't like the novel or author your book is being compared to they may not read it (I know this worries me). This may not be a bad thing though. Nothing bugs me more when I pick up a book to read and discover it is similar to another book I hated. So as writers having someone know up front that it is similar to a book they dislike may prevent a bad review or taste in someones mouth and leave the door wide open to those who may enjoy it.