Am I plagiarizing if I thought of it myself??

The all too taboo word “plagiarizing”, such an ugly word and the meaning is even uglier. What is it exactly? The definition is:  to take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one’s own. Now with that said, there has been quite the debate in the indie author world. Yes, I believe that if I wrote a book about an obsessive millionaire Dom from Seattle who begins a relationship with a virgin and falls in love with her, oh and his name may have to do with a color. Then that is just wrong.

Now what if someone writes a book and unknowingly it has certain similarities to another book. This is sometimes bound to happen. There are thousands upon thousands of romance novels, and every once in a while you will come across books with a few similarities, I am sure it happens. Do you know how many books I have read about a billionaire and his maid?? With this being said, where do you draw the line?

Now my husband is a screenwriter, and a few nights ago we were watching movie trailers, (his most fave thing to do) -now we came across a movie and after watching the trailer he hopped up out of bed and began freaking out. The movie had a few similarities to a movie he is working on. After a while, his partner and him decided it was ok..the similarities weren’t too bad, and they could tweak a few things. So major crisis averted. 

How many of you watched ‘Speed’ and ‘Blown Away’. Or ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Deep Impact’, the movies were even released around the same time. Sometimes these things just happen….

I know when I was writing Sky Watcher I scoured the internet to make sure that my story was not a rip-off of anyone else’s work, but just two days ago a friend of mine comes up to me at work and tells me that a big time author has the same character names in her book. I began to panic, all of the exact names? Everyone of them, I asked. Come to find out it is only the main characters name and last name which is the same. But there was a brief moment of panic, what do you do? Re-release the book with new names?   So I ask this? how many similarities are too many? How many of us use coffee as the universal beverage? How many rockers are going to sing in bars? (where else would they sing…church? not too sexy now is it?). How many CEO millionaires/billionaires are going to seduce their maids? How many of the heroines jobs consist of artsy/writing jobs? 

We write what we know, and us as authors…we are artsy. We want to relate to our characters. As much as we want everyone else to. We take things from our own lives and write them into our stories, but sometimes we may have a few things that may happen in other books as well. I don’t mind reading about a girl who loves to write and drinks coffee all day long. I also will read about a billionaire and his maid any day of the week. The writing style is usually different. 

I have a best friend, and when she read my book (as a beta) her first response was “Our books are eerily similiar” ….uh-oh never a good thing to hear, but how many ways can you word a sex scene….how many times is the character going to swallow that dang lump in their throat? How many times is their heart going to beat wildly in their chest? How many times does she come undone at the expert hands of her lover? Catch my drift? With thousands upon thousands of books plaguing the market, there are bound to be similarities, and sometimes it happens…..but now blatantly writing a book pretty much scene for scene of another book, or taking character attributes and personalities exactly from other books, well this doesnt need to be done. We are authors, do some research…know what other books are similar to yours, and make sure yours is COMPLETELY different. If someone does come to you and says, “hey your book is kinda like so-in-so’s book” buy the book, read it….and if you have to make changes to yours do it.

My books are written from my mind, heart, and soul.  I try my hardest to be original….but like my sister says….”You are unique, just like everybody else.” So not really too unique after all, and when we write we do need to be careful….No one wants to be called out as a plagiarist. And the line is thin, so be sure to be no where near it!!!

 

A few marketing tips:

I told a friend I would blog some marketing tips I had picked up along the way. So instead of writing two posts, I am just gonna add a little tidbit here. Thanks!!

1.) Social Media is HUGE ….use it!!! Use it to your advantage. No one wants to only see you pimping your book. Buy my book, Buy my stuff!! If that is all you constantly say, you will lose followers quickly. So I learned somewhere. Promote others 90% of the time, and yourself 10% of the time!! It is working for me, the others you promote start promoting you!!!

2.) Think outside of the box. When I first published I felt the only way I was going to get readers was from the internet. I forgot I live in a community full of readers ( I mean at least some). Donate a book to the library, Meet and greets, Call your local radio station, Visit your local Barnes and Noble. Join in the community and think of ways to promote your book. My friend owns a baby boutique, and I sell books in her store. Go to local fairs….I don’t know get creative!!!

3.) Bring a copy of some books everywhere you go, you never know who you may run into….even at the local grocery store. Readers are everywhere….Now I am not suggesting you go up to random strangers….they may not like that too much, but hey what if you see a friend who you haven’t seen in years? Book promo opportunity!! 

4.) Be personable with your readers. I love this one, I love getting to know people. Now most writers are introverts, I know this….thats why we write. Sometimes we would just rather write than deal with people. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get out there!!! 

 

Good Luck Authors, and actually I think I am gonna end every blog post with some marketing tips….so you can always look forward to them!!! 

 

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