Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Stop Other Writers Stealing Your Book Or Film Idea - 5 Tips by Stephanie J. Hale

Authors and scriptwriters are often worried that someone might steal their book or film idea. They become nervous once they start sending out their manuscript to agents or producers.

I usually offer a number of reassurances to writers who ask me about this. Here are some of the points to consider:

1. Date-stamped mail
A simple and legal way to safeguard your copyright is to send a copy of your manuscript to yourself via registered mail ensuring that the package is date stamped. You can then leave the envelope sealed - something that is valid in a court of law.

2. Register your work
There are a number of companies that offer to 'hold' your manuscript for you or register your idea for a small fee. In my opinion, this is unnecessary. However, if this sets your mind at rest, this is an option to consider.

3. Ideas & concepts
Be aware that there is no copyright for an 'idea' or a 'concept'. This is because there are very few original book or film ideas. Most ideas are workings or reworkings of archetypal or classic plot lines.

4. What is unique?
What makes a plot unique is the writer who writes it. Consider 'Romeo and Juliet' and then 'West Side Story'. Same plot, different writer. You could say that Stephen Sondheim stole the idea from Shakespeare. Yet the new story set in 1950s New York is a masterpiece in its own right.

5. Professional reputation
Agents and producers work hard to build up their reputation for excellence and professionalism. They wouldn't last five minutes if they started stealing clients' ideas. In this Internet age, where millions of people are connected via blogs, ezine and social media, word would soon get about. You can quickly and easily check out the credentials of most book and film professionals simply by using Google.

5. Your passion
Every writer has their own passion. I might love the pitch for a thriller set on a desert island. But the fact is, I could never write it even if I researched it. Passion is the hidden ingredient that gives writing its energy, vibrancy and appeal. Without it, writing is lifeless and dull. Remember that no-one else will ever be able to write like you.

Stephanie J Hale is a leading writers' coach and publishing expert. She's worked with bestselling authors and top literary agents for over 20 years. She specializes in helping writers get the publishing deal and readership they deserve. More FREE publishing tips at:

1 comment:

Rogan said...

Hi the information you that was given was great, but I have a different probelm, you see, I write books and to be honest this is my first one, know, I met this woman on the internet on goodread, an wed site thing, and she's offered to edit my book for me, I agreed, the thing is, I now scared in case she steals it, as I know she's a writer too, so what should I do?