I just finished a revision of my newest Work-in-Progress. I sent it to two editors, feeling good, until I read Publisher’s Lunch. I don’t believe it, but my very favorite author just announced the release of a novel with the exact same theme. I am devastated!
Even if my book is acquired, I’m going to look like I got my idea from her. Should I ask for the submission back and wait a while before sending it out? Or just toss it?
Dear Copy Cat,
Stop worrying! Do not toss your book! Your story may have some similar themes, but it will not be the same book. It will not have the same character or story line or antagonist or structure. It is original. Besides, even if it is acquired today, it won’t come out for a long time. No one will accuse you of plagiarism.
It happens all the time.
Among my writer friends, we talk about this phenomena occasionally: Ideas fly in the air.
Trends happen. We are all affected by the same news reports, magazines, art, and music. Many of us are adults of a certain age who grew up watching the same shows, reading the same books, loving the same movies. We share a lot of perspective!
Now I agree—it is nerve wracking to hear that another author—established or not—is tackling the same material, but that just means it is pertinent. You have to not worry about this. There is always room for another book with a similar theme when it is well written! Maybe you can even team up when it is time to do some marketing!
One thought: maybe you should stop reading Pub Lunch for a little while, at least until you've received some feedback. Stop worrying about what others are writing. It is not always helpful to know what is going on every minute. Especially, since it doesn't change the fact that you have finished your book and sent it out!
Really, you should be celebrating.
You finished your draft and sent it out. What an accomplishment! Congratulations! Eat Chocolate!
And let me know when you have sold that story!
The advice lady (I couldn't find a cuter, younger one...oh well....)
Writers: Got your own copy cat story? Or more advice? Write in. It’s another rainy day, and we would love to hear from you.
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