Thursday, April 28, 2011

OH NO SHE DIDN'T! Someone already wrote my book!

YOU WROTE A HORSE BOOK TOO!???
I had a writer email yesterday. It was a very nice email, just reaching out and saying hello. The writer has a manuscript in process that happens to be about rats. The writer admitted they had a bit of a start when someone directed them to my series, THE NIGHTSHADE CHRONICLES, thinking maybe I had beat them to the punch and it would hurt their chances of becoming published, but after looking at my excerpt, etc, the writer soon realized there was no need to worry. Our books were quite different.

Long story short, has this ever happened to you? Have you been in the middle of a manuscript only to discover there is a new book out there--already on the shelves--quite similar to yours?

Well, if it has, don't freak out.
I REPEAT: DON'T FREAK OUT!

It happens, but it's not the end of the world. In fact, it may actually help you. And by and large, if you actually read the book, you'd probably find out it was very, very different from your own. So keep writing your book! Never write for the market or for what you think might sell. Write for you. That's the surest way to get published.

xoxo -- Hilary

20 comments:

  1. Phew! Crisis averted. Glad it turned out ok. :O)

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  2. "Write for you." That is so, so true. It's the passion that drives the story.

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  3. This is great advice. When I first started out writing I was so worried about this. But, now I know there is no need to worry about another book having the same concept. Everyone's execution, characters, and story are unique and different.

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  4. Great post. I went to a teen book conference a couple weekends ago and one of the panels talked about this idea. They said, give all of us a prompt, and in an hour, you'll have 5 completely different stories. Even similar stories will turn out completely different, because each writer incorporates their own experiences and style. We have to write the best book we can, for ourselves, not for a trend we're trying to chase (because it's likely already too late).

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  5. Very beautiful and sound advice. Thank you, Hilary!
    My Blog

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  6. Somebody told me a book I started two years ago was similar to a TV show that premiered AFTER I'd started writing the book. Luckily that show has since been canceled and my book is unique again... ;)

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  7. Yes, it happened to me, and yes of course I freaked out. I was half-relieved and half-heart-broken, deciding to abandon the project when husband and writing friend reassured me that no, my book was different enough, and I felt better. Glad to know it happens a lot, apparently! Whew! :)

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  8. "Write for yourself." Hilary, I couldn't agree more. Well said. :)

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  9. Yes, I had submitted a unique music picture book with a little interest, but no sale. This year I saw an extremely similar book but authored by someone in music biz so maybe that was the push to publish. ARGH! Though mine still is different enough that maybe someday I'll pursue it again!

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  10. Great advice, Hilary! I know my stomach plummets whenever I read something even remotely similar to one of my WIPs.

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  11. I've had this happen. I was writing a book with hippos and then I read Belly Up and was like, "....sonofabitch. That man stole my hippos." Thanks for the reassurance :)

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  12. Okay, good, we are all a bit crazy then! :)

    Jess, I just laughed out loud at your comment! You are funny!

    A good example of why we shouldn't freak out is all the vampire and/or werewolf books out there (and there are a lot), sure there are similarities, but they are all different enough to make their ways to the shelves. Editors and agents know a special book when they read one.

    That is comforting. :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  13. I've heard of this happening and though stories ideas may be similar the way they are executed will always be different. (Unless of course there's out-right plagiarism.)

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  14. Great advice. Thanks for helping us not panic.

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  15. I've had this happen. More than once. Scary, but fortunately, they've never been exactly the same. No one can write the same story as you because you bring your own experience and perspective to the writing. Unless, you know, they're plagiarizing. But that's a whole other story!

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  16. I just published a book to Kindle. Feeling very pleased with myself, I went to look it up on Amazon and there was another book with the same title! The main character, though a girl where mine is a man, had the same abilities. From what I could see, though, this book was out of print, so I feel a little better now.

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  17. YES! This has happened to me. WHen Becca Fitzpatrick's first book came out, Hush Hush I just about died. You are right, though, I read it and it wasn't really the same, just the angel part. Sadly, I'm still working on it years later:)

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  18. Years ago, when I first began teaching, I invented post its. LOL! I cut up little squares of paper and used a tiny piece of tape to write state objectives in my teacher's manuals. I also invented the light on the dishwasher. Well I talked about having a way to show your spouse the dishes were clean or dirty without them having to look in the dishwasher.

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  19. Thanks for this advice! It has happened a couple of times to me. I'm still plugging away at them though.

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  20. I always google my ideas and see first so that doesn't happen. I had to read a bruce coville novel before starting my first manuscript. Luckily they were immensely different as well.

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