PDA

View Full Version : Someone else published my novel!



hypofocus
10-24-2014, 07:56 PM
Well, not quite (but that was a good hook, wasn't it?)

I just read that Jodi Picoult has published a novel ("Leaving Time") about a young woman who goes to search for her mother among elephants in Africa. Sounds a bit like my manuscript, in which a young man goes to meet, for the first time, his father...among elephants in Africa. From the review I read, it even sounds like she uses the same narrative structure as mine, using perspectives of different characters throughout.

My questions are:

- Does this make my book more publishable, or less?

- If her book really is as similar to mine as it sounds (I haven't read it yet), should I mention her book as a comp in queries?

Also, would there be any value in contacting her?

Thanks for your help.

-Rick

thisprovinciallife
10-24-2014, 08:12 PM
Well, not quite (but that was a good hook, wasn't it?)

I just read that Jodi Picoult has published a novel ("Leaving Time") about a young woman who goes to search for her mother among elephants in Africa. Sounds a bit like my manuscript, in which a young man goes to meet, for the first time, his father...among elephants in Africa. From the review I read, it even sounds like she uses the same narrative structure as mine, using perspectives of different characters throughout.

My questions are:

- Does this make my book more publishable, or less?

- If her book really is as similar to mine as it sounds (I haven't read it yet), should I mention her book as a comp in queries?

Also, would there be any value in contacting her?

Thanks for your help.

-Rick

1. I think it makes it less publishable, especially since Jodi Picoult is a well-known, respected author. You should read her book. Focus on the difference between the novels, and edit your MS to highlight the aspects of your story that make it unique. Consider making some changes to set it apart!

2. If it's that similar, using it as a comp will hurt you. An agent or publisher doesn't need to publish something that's already out there making money.

3. I don't know what you would say! "Hey Jodi, great minds think alike!" I mean, if you want to give her a compliment because you like her work, go for it--but I don't think she'll be able to do anything about your book.

Good luck! I'm sure that even though the concepts are similar, the voice and the characters and the meat of the story are unique to each author. Figure out what you love about your story, and run with that. You might have to leave the elephants behind :)

Fruitbat
10-24-2014, 08:17 PM
I'd probably just proceed as if that other book wasn't there. If you've ever read a group of stories that start with the same prompt, well, the stories that follow are far from the same. So with a novel, there's likely even less cause for concern. And then "copy cat" books on the tails of someone else's best seller can do quite well anyway, from what I hear. Imho, no worries and no cause to do anything. If it was me, I'd probably read hers just from curiosity, though. :)

stormie
10-24-2014, 09:17 PM
I'd write the thing first (hold off on polishing it). Then read her book. There will probably be a big difference in your sub-plots. Besides, yours might be more geared toward general commercial fiction whereas hers might be commercial women's fiction.

LJD
10-24-2014, 09:33 PM
Two books, both with lots of reviews on Goodreads, both released in 2013:

The Rosie Project: FMC asks MMC to help her find the identity of her father. MMC is a geneticist who has Asperger's.

Someone Else's Love Story: FMC asks MMC to help her find the identity of her son's father. MMC is a geneticist who has Asperger's.

Do these books sound similar? They are absolutely nothing alike.

Just saying. Books can sound similar and be very, very different stories. I might not have even noticed that similarity if I hadn't read those books in the same month.

(*FMC=female main character; MMC=male main character)

Jamesaritchie
10-24-2014, 10:06 PM
It may help your book. Unless your book is so close in every way that it's considered pure copycat, it can't hurt it.

Do not read her book until after you've finished and polished your own. If you read hers before writing your own, copycatting can slip in, even without thinking about it. You'll also spend far too much time trying to make yours different, which means you won't be writing the novel you really want to write, and really should write. If you write your own first, I guarantee and similarities will be superficial, and you'll have a novel that only you could write.

hypofocus
10-24-2014, 11:39 PM
Thanks very much for the thoughtful replies so far.

Dennis E. Taylor
10-24-2014, 11:54 PM
Good hook, though. :D

evahart
10-26-2014, 01:00 AM
I don't think you could really make a decision based on reading the blurb. Why not get the book and read it to the full, before making your mind up? Her story may be nothing like yours, and if so, you can go for it! Besides, everyone loves stories of elephants, don't they? :)

GingerGunlock
10-26-2014, 08:12 AM
I can imagine how that must have felt. "Hey, that sounds awfully familiar! Wait a minute..."

Jodi Picoult (almost) always does the multiple perspectives thing, complete with a different font per perspective character. There's also frequently some kind of legal issue to do with her stories, or there is in the three or four I know the plots of off the top of my head. I've only read a couple, but she's hard to keep on the shelf at the library. Even her older stuff is constantly out.

I agree with other comments you've gotten, write your book as though Picoult's doesn't exist. Then read hers and see what the differences are, and the similarities.

hypofocus
01-23-2015, 08:02 PM
Sorry to be so long in replying again. Thanks to all for your input. I'm going to soldier on and see what happens.

Lena Hillbrand
01-23-2015, 09:34 PM
I agree with other posts. It's probably not as similar as it seems. Lots of books (including all Piccoult's that I have read) are from multiple POV.

Also, my own book apparently has the same premise as the movie Daybreakers (still haven't seen it, but need to). But people who have seen it and read my book have said even though it has pretty much identical premise, it's nothing alike. So you're probably worrying over nothing. A lot of dystopian books (or books in any genre, really) have basically the same premise. But the similarities end there.