There are some good blog posts currently running around that deal with lookalike books – meaning you’ve spent the past year writing your darling only to find out that not only has Venerable Big Author written the same book, but has the same character name – as seen in Nicola Morgan’s intestinal-lurching post.
Editorial Ass tells a similar story of a friend who flipped out when they thought they’d been scooped. Assie also tells the story of buying a book for the small publisher Assie worked for and getting scooped by Great Big Box Publisher with the same kind of book.
Here’s the deal. It happens. Does it mean the end of the world? No way. We had a book that we released last year, knowing that another very similar book by a McPublisher was also in the works. Were we worried? Naw. For one thing, we knew our book was coming out first.
Secondly – and this is the most important part – we concentrate on all the ways our book(s) differ from McPublisher’s, without ever naming our competitor. We do that in order to show the genre buyers – who will make the connection between our book and McPublisher’s book – how and why the two books can coexist in peace.
Thar be a giant sandbox o’ books, many are reminiscent of each other, and there’s no reason why they can’t all play nicely together. Don’t let this freak you out. Sure there will be times when an agent or editor will reject your work because it’s too closely related to another already-pubbed book. But that differs from two books being released around the same time. It means that both books were being written roughly at the same time. One can offset its twin quite nicely. Or one can blow, and one can rock. Hint: make sure it’s your book that rocks.
Just because a book may have the same title (just plain creepy if you ask me, Nicola), the same named characters, and the same plot doesn’t mean it’s the same book – unless you have a beagle who’s in your brains stealin’ all your secretz…
*We don’t need no steenkin’ lolcats when we gots us lolbeagles…