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Is It Possible for Someone to Steal Your Book Concept?

We see a few things in the writing and publishing business have stayed the same over the years. However, at every writing event I go to, there is always one person who worries that agents, editors, and Book publishing companies will steal their book concept.


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2 years ago | 4 min read

We see a few things in the writing and publishing business have stayed the same over the years. However, at every writing event I go to, there is always one person who worries that agents, editors, and urban book publishers companies will steal their book concept.

In fact, that one person often uses the fact that this could happen as an excusenot to send in their book concept at all. I know this is a worry for somewriters because there is always at least one person who says something. But onthe other hand, most writers want to publish their book concept, which isusually done by sending it to agents, editors, and publishers. This makesthings hard for them.

So, let's look at whether writers need to worry about literary agents, editors, and publishers stealing their book concept.

Do you like to write and have a fascinating story you wish to tell? The only thing that will ever stand between you and the success you want is fear. Fear that you aren't good enough, fear that the market is too crowded, or fear that no one wants to hear from you. You can't be in the flow and scared simultaneously, which is a good thing. The question is if you'll write without fear.

Do literary agents steal book concepts from people?The quickest way to respond to this inquiry is to just reply "No." Iwill not assert that it is not conceivable or that it has not beenaccomplished. In point of fact, I have been working in the publishing industryfor the past two decades, and I have never heard of a particular instance.During the same time period, the publication of thousands upon thousands of new books took place. It's interesting to note that a good many of them receivedassistance from literary agencies.

It is more likely that more than one author came up with the same concept. Consider the following scenario: ten authors collaborate to produce a book about a school for witches and wizards. About them, things are written. Did the ideas of the other nine authors get stolen by the tenth author? Of course not.

How famous books are actually stolen book concept

Even the concept of a school for witches and wizards has been done before. Mildred Hubble was the protagonist in a series of books written by Jill Murphy under the title The Worst Witch that came out before the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling gave an old concept a fresh spin, and she delivered her story in a way that was practically flawless, which is why the Harry Potter books have achieved such widespread popularity.

Therefore, the most important argument is that literary agents and editors steal ideas for books. However, there is no need for them to steal ideas because they encounter fantastic ideas on a daily basis, even in the projects that they choose not to pursue. They want fantastic book ideas and fantastic approaches to putting them into action.

There are a lot of authors out there who are concerned that their writings will be taken without their permission if they send them to publishers or agents. On the other hand, despite this, is it not possible that a literary agent may take their idea and sell it to a well-known writer? Or perhaps you could "sell" it to a publisher, whomight then commission you to write a book on the same subject?

Don't worry about your ideas getting stealed 

I always tell writers that worrying about this is a waste of time. First, publishers and agents with good reputations don't "steal" work. They get a lot of pitches from writers with lots of ideas, but if yours is good, you can be sure that the agentor publisher will be interested in you and your work.

Also, if they turn down your manuscript, it won't be because they've given the idea to someone else but because your book doesn't fit with their list.

But if you find a book that looks like yours, does that mean someone stole your idea? Let's be honest: there are many writers worldwide, so more than one of them may come up with a similar book concept. So then it might come down to who writes it in a way that will sell better or who gets there first.

What you can copyright is "the way an idea is put into words." This includes your sentences, your characters, your plot, your argument, and your conclusion. All you have to do to protect these (and claim ownership of your work's copyright) is write them down.

A book idea you've been thinking about or that you and your best friend came up with in the pub will not be covered.

Be smart

Just use common sense and make sure that all of your novel ideas and plans are either saved on your computer or written down in a journal. Some authors send a copy of the completed book to themselves in the mail, complete with the date on it, so that they have tangible evidence that it is their work.

If you're a natural worrier like I am, fearing that your work will be stolen is just giving yourself one more thing to worry about, which is easy for me to say because I am a natural worrier. Your ultimate objective is to turn your concept into a book that a publisher can sell, and fortunately, your copyright will protect you if you are successful in achieving this aim.

ConclusionIt is possible for someone to steal your concept. If you hand along your pitch,outline, or character sheet to other people, they might come up with somecreative uses for it. Now I agree with the second response because no matterwhat that person does with your concept, it will never be exactly how you wouldhave done it, therefore they will make it their own in some manner. This istrue regardless of what they choose to do with your idea.

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