Query: Literary Agencies - Page 2

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  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pelwrath View Post
    The story idea so they can have it. My cousin, a lawyer, said for me to watch out for that and be careful with beta readers. He said that proof is hard to show. I’m unknown, so my ideas are more valuable that the actual story.
    It's true and not true.

    A good author can take an idea and write something. It won't be the same as the original, because it's inspired, not copied. And a well known author will have an easier time selling it than an unknown.

    But -- if your book is done well, and since the name guy can't just use it word for word, you still have a good chance of selling your book.

    I'm not sure I agree with the thought that it's difficult to prove. If you can show that you have been working on the book for two years (random timeframe), and the other guy can't prove he started earlier than before you submitted it, then I think your case is won. Spending the money on a copyright cements a date that your book was written, too.

    I used to worry about my ideas being stolen. But the more I write, the less I worry. If it came down to a court case, I have all the knowledge of why certain characters made certain choices, etc.

    The thing is, we're all inspired by various things, including other people's stories. Is it stealing to see a story and think of a way to do it differently? I do that. Am I a thief?

  2. #12
    Thank you all for your replies. I'm less worried about agents now but My first experience with beta's(non-good friend/family) is still in my mind. Let two beta my story and haven't heard boo in over a year. That's where the story being stolen came from.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  3. #13
    Member
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    "Ideas are a dime a dozen" is a phrase that is quite common within various forms of art, whether that be film making, game design, comics, or books. It's a phrase I myself had to come to realize when I had a spout of game-design mania a few years back.
    The thing is that there's nothing new under the sun, even your "completely original" grandeur idea has most likely already been thought up by someone else at one point or another.
    I mean this as no offence towards you, your story, or anyone here. I just felt it needed to be said.
    What differents you from those who have written before you is your style, your story telling. What makes your writing, and ultimately your book, unique is you. Not the idea.
    These agents aren't looking for some new great idea, they are looking for talented writers who have spent a lot of time, and invested their hearts and minds, into creating a story that they can sell.

    Sharing your idea, and moreover what you may consider your precious, is nerve-racking, as there's always the thought in the back of your mind of someone taking it and using it as their own or just flat out rejecting it as garbage.

    The same is for many beta readers, most just want to gain experience editing and giving feedback.
    However, if you want to do something to put your fears to rest, make a poor man's copyright. Simply put, mail a copy of your manuscript to yourself and lockit away without opening it. The date on the letter can be used if you have to go after someone for stealing your book you may have sent them to beta read.

  4. #14
    For twenty bucks and the cost of shipping, you can file your manuscript at the USCopyright office. That's pretty ironclad for copyright.
    I used to do this then realized it was a waste of twenty bucks.
    I can actually use my Dropbox account to prove copyright; because it has version backups that stretch back to file creation. I can show you what a manuscript looked like a year ago.

    Anyhow, digressing...I agree with BV and Moderan, publishers are not trying to steal your thoughts. Aliens may be, the government may be, but publishers couldn't care less. They're just looking for fresh products to stock the shelves.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    For twenty bucks and the cost of shipping, you can file your manuscript at the USCopyright office. That's pretty ironclad for copyright.
    I used to do this then realized it was a waste of twenty bucks.
    I can actually use my Dropbox account to prove copyright; because it has version backups that stretch back to file creation. I can show you what a manuscript looked like a year ago.

    Anyhow, digressing...I agree with BV and Moderan, publishers are not trying to steal your thoughts. Aliens may be, the government may be, but publishers couldn't care less. They're just looking for fresh products to stock the shelves.
    It must be at least six or seven years since you last purchased a copyright.

    I say if it buys peace of mind, it's worth it.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Pelwrath View Post
    Thank you all for your replies. I'm less worried about agents now but My first experience with beta's(non-good friend/family) is still in my mind. Let two beta my story and haven't heard boo in over a year. That's where the story being stolen came from.
    Yeah. I had a couple bad beta reader experiences. But... ya gotta keep tryin', or else you might as well quit writing.

    Once you find a good beta reader, or two, keep them happy to keep reading and giving feedback. They're golden.

  7. #17
    The thing about a US copyright is you can't take someone to court over intellectual property theft without an official copyright. You can apply for one when (if) you actually need it, but you might have to pay extra to have the copyright process (which can take up to six months) rushed. The info on whether the court case can be heard before the process is complete is confusing. Some say yes, while others say no. All agree, however, that the copyright filing must be done before the court case filing.

  8. #18
    Again, thankyou all. I’m on the paranoid side when all I should be is just cautious.
    "Illegitimi non carborundum " Vinegar' Joe Stilwell

    "Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." Martin Luther King Jr.

    What you learn in life is important, those you help learn, are more important.

    "They can because they think they can."
    ​Virgil

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools will speak to say something." Plato

    "The only difference between reality and fiction is that fiction needs to be credible."
    ​ Mark Twain

    "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States." George W. Bush



  9. #19
    Just to complete the copyright info for anyone interested, a few more points.

    A copyright in the US a couple years ago cost $35 for a one author and one manuscript work, and $55 for joint writing and possibly a series (but I could be wrong about the series). If you pay with a credit card, there's a small fee, because the credit card transaction is handled by an external company, and not the US Copyright office.

    There's no need to print and mail the manuscript any more. In fact, that will cause a delay, if I recall correctly, in obtaining the copyright. It's electronic file transmission, these days, that's preferred.

  10. #20
    Just for clarification - in any country that's a signatory to the Berne Convention (which most countries are) copyright exists as soon as the work is written down. The US has a bit of a weird system which acknowledges that authors have copyright without registration but nevertheless requires registration before the courts will do much to actually enforce the copyright.

    In other countries, there's no need for registration.

    But in just about every country, if you want the court to enforce your copyright you're going to need tens of thousands of dollars for legal fees, and the person/entity you're suing may or may not be financially viable enough to actually pay your court costs even if you win. For most of authors, registering copyright is a step in a direction it makes no financial sense to travel...

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