plagurism how common is it?

Tue, Apr 10 2018 02:33am IST 1
7 Posts
I have read a lot about people being worried about having their ideas stolen by people some have said many people are going on amazon and stealing ideas after they are published.
has this happened to anyone I am debating whether to publish myself or send to a publisher.
I also would rather send a few pages to a publisher than a whole novel in case it was stolen i've talked to my cousin and he just said don't tell anyone your ideas.
Tue, Apr 10 2018 09:57am IST 2
1670 Posts
Hi sparkle,

I think this is a genuine risk (there was a lot of discussion a couple of years ago about a short story writer who was accused of stealing ideas from writing colleagues whose sorties he helped critique).

However I think most writers understand that it's illegal / not the done thing to steal other's ideas and it's very much the exception, not the norm.

If you self-publish, it will be clear that you wrote the piece, because there will be a published text which shows this, along with a publication date. Ditto if you are published through a publisher. You can't stop other people from copying stuff you write, but they would be held up against the laws / rules on plagiarism.

Anyone can technically copy another author's work, but they'd be silly to do so. If everyone kept their ideas and work to themselves through fear of plagiarism the entire publishing industry would grind to a halt.

NB: Most publishers require you to have a literary agent before your work can be submitted to them. If sumbitting to an agent or publisher, you should always send exactly what they ask for.
Tue, Apr 10 2018 01:52pm IST 3
Aonghus Fallon
Aonghus Fallon
59 Posts
That said, plagiarism - ie, nicking somebody else's work - is only legally an offence if it's word-for-word. You can't copyright an idea. It's easy to envision a scenario where - say - an agent or a publisher might come across something in the slushpile, like the basic concept, and then pitch the idea to one of their regular clients, who might not even be aware the idea is secondhand and who then goes on to produce a book based on the same idea.
Fri, Apr 13 2018 01:45pm IST 4
5 Posts
I can totally relate to the fear of plagiarism. Even though my novel is still in nascent stage, the fear of my idea being stolen is always in my head. The negative comments about plagiarism prevalent in publishing industry only add to my fear of plagiarism. But, I guess it is part and parcel of writer's life. There is no foolproof way of safeguarding your work from plagiarism. All you can do is be positive and have faith in your publisher.
Mon, Apr 16 2018 08:58am IST 5
1177 Posts
Let's face it: when looking at a manuscipt submitted by an unknown author, the first question agents and publishers are going to ask themselves about plagiarism is not going to be 'Is there anything in here worth nicking?' but 'Is there anything in here that has been nicked from somewhere else?' If I were to worry at all about plagiarism, that would be my worry.

Getting hung up on plagiarism is a waste of mental energy that would be better used to make your own story as good as you can possibly make it.
Tue, Apr 24 2018 01:28pm IST 6
991 Posts
Agree with others - yes plagirasm happens, but the chances of it happening to you are so small as to make it hardly worth worrying about. Agents and publishers only want to see the first few chapters initially anyway, so don't worry about having to send off the full ms to a long list of strangers. But if you don't choose to show anyone your work, then it will never be seen! If you are writing just for yourself, then that's okay, but if you want it to be published, then you need to send it out into the world.

I guess it is always worth checking the agent/publisher before you send stuff to them, to make sure they are not dodgy (as well as to make sure they are looking for your sort of thing).

And as has been said to me before, even if someone stole the entire premise of your book e.g. from Amazon, they would write it completely differently to you. Your story is yours. When someone likes your story, then they like it for the whole - premise and writing.

Good luck whatever you choose to do.

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