Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Manuscript Theft Part 2

Yesterday, we talked about the risk of manuscript theft. Does this mean you shouldn’t show your work to anyone before you have an agent? No. In fact, it’ll work to your benefit to have some trustworthy people read enough of it that they’d be able to vouch for your work in court, if the need should ever arise.

Another concern is that agents who also write may steal your book. That’s not likely. The publishing world is fairly small. Agents are aware how important it is to maintain a good reputation. If the word got out they’d stolen an author’s story, their career as an agent would be over.

Can someone steal your idea? You bet. You can’t copyright an idea. However, don’t be so naïve as to think your idea is unique and has never been done before. What makes your story different is your style, voice, the combination of characters, and the arrangement of the plot. The basic idea has been done over and over again. In fact, if I were to give ten writers the same subject to write about, they’d deliver 10 different stories.

By the way, don’t think once your published you’ll be safe from this problem. Nora Roberts, for example, has sued over the illegal use of her work.

Do you have anything to share on this subject?