Writing and Publishing

Four Options For When Someone “Takes” Our Idea

While watching TV this week, I was shocked at a promo for a new show. Their hook was identical to a book series I’ve been contemplating. Though I’m sure the show will go in a different direction than what I planned for my books, the premise is the same. The similarity is so great that it will look like I’m copying them if I move forward.

This, of course, isn’t the first time two people have come up with the same idea. As writers, we need to expect this will happen on occasion. When it does, we have four options:

Disregard Our Idea: We can acknowledge that our window of opportunity closed. The timing was off, and there is no going back. We forget our idea and go on to something else.

Proceed Anyway: We dismiss the similarities and move forward. We can ignore the competing work and not be influenced by it, or we can study it to introduce as many different elements as possible.

Change Our Concept: Can we sufficiently tweak our idea so it no longer looks the same? Can we add a new twist, alter the premise, or rework the storyline? However, if we choose this option, it’s essential that it doesn’t look like that’s what we did.

Put it On Hold: We can shelve our idea, waiting for a more opportune time to pursue it. If the competing work tops the bestsellers lists or has staying power, we may need to wait longer. But in most cases time will put enough distance between the two works that the similarities no longer matter.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.

2 replies on “Four Options For When Someone “Takes” Our Idea”

Jerry, the total shock has worn off. Now I am a bit amused by it and can be philosophical.

(When you think about it, it is quite a compliment for a major TV show to have the same idea I did!)

Comments are closed.