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If you see a published PB similar to your MS?

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Hello,

I have been working on a MS and, after many revisions, I'm almost happy with it. I have, however, just got a recent book out of the library that feels remarkably similar to me. The characters are different and the resolution is different but the theme and some elements are the same.

It's left me feeling uncertain about my MS and whether it would just seem like a copied version (it isn't but the other book was clearly written first).

I'm not even sure what I want to ask. Any similar experiences,  what did you do?
#1 - September 13, 2015, 02:25 AM

This sort of thing happens ALL the time. Just press onward. Sometimes it can be an issue and sometimes not at all.

There have been a couple of times when I started something new and then found out that a story with the exact same premise was just accepted for publication. In those cases, I stopped working on it. But if I had something that was already finished, then I would most likely move forward with it. I might also do some tweaks to make sure it was different enough (particularly if the book is a recent mega-success).

You said the resolution is different, so that's good.

I know how frustrating this situation can be!

#2 - September 13, 2015, 05:40 AM
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You never know. Sometimes a second similar  does better than the original (Double Pink and Pinkalicious), or there is room for both (Vampirina Ballerina and Zombelina).
#3 - September 13, 2015, 08:03 AM
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THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
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For me, finding that out is one of the worst feelings. I started something this summer when I discovered another pb on the same topic was due out in October. I was so disappointed because, while I hadn't finished the ms, I had written things I was particularly excited and proud of. I just knew publishers would take a hard line with the topic.

But that was a very specific topic. I think having a similar theme to another book is quite common because there are only so many themes out there. I'd keep working on it if I were you. Your voice will set it apart. Also, it's good to know about the other book because you can already come up with an argument about how/why yours is different, which is needed in a proposal/pitch.
#4 - September 13, 2015, 12:22 PM
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Very good points, stephanie-lucianovic!! :goodpost
#5 - September 13, 2015, 04:48 PM
Creative blessings to you ~

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Corey Rosen Schwartz just posted a picture on Facebook of a new PB entitled THE THREE NINJA PIGS. I believe it's coming out of the UK, but there's an example with the exact same title as her book, which came out in 2012. Wild! So yes, it happens.
#6 - September 13, 2015, 05:03 PM
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The other thing to keep in mind with a PB is that an editor's notes and artist's interpretation and voice will shine through and sometimes the same "sort of story" can look COMPLETELY different in the end.

As many have said, there will always be similar stories. It's YOUR voice and the artist's voice and the editor's vision, too, that make the difference.
#7 - September 13, 2015, 06:21 PM
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This just happened to me too and it's taken me quite a while to decide what to do about it. I've decided to send it out; I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Hey, at least my idea was a good and publishable one!

Alas, I think this happens quite often. If the market can bear two similar books, I don't see why not ...

Good luck,
Vijaya
#8 - September 13, 2015, 06:25 PM
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I had finished a ms and it had been accepted by a publisher. The contract was ABOUT to be sent out when they saw a brand new release about the same topic, for the same age group, in the same style (verse). They sadly retracted the offer, which I could sadly understand. The new release subsequently won awards too. So I have been sitting on my submission, biding my time, waiting for perhaps a time when my ms will seem new again. However, I am concerned that it may be perceived as plagiary, although I have records of when it was written and accepted years ago. So yes, it happens, but your different resolution sounds sufficient for publication - especially considering (as others have already said) different input from editor, designer and illustrator (not in that order).
Best of luck.
#9 - September 13, 2015, 06:28 PM
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Ugh, JulieM.  :gaah So sorry! Try another publisher. It takes so long for a book to come to fruition, your story will be new again by the time it publishes. And a different publisher might have a different audience from the first publisher, so there may not be any competition between the two titles anyway.

I agree with the others, Bruna. Sub it. If it's too close to another title, a publisher just won't buy it. Even with a similar story line, A LOT is left to interpretation, illustration, word choice, voice, etc, etc.
#10 - September 14, 2015, 04:39 AM
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Julie, oh my goodness! :faint That stinks! But I agree with Jody. Try with another publisher.
#11 - September 14, 2015, 05:43 AM
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Oh, Julie, that stinks! This book's time may come.
#12 - September 14, 2015, 06:13 AM
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MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

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Oops, I didn't mean to hijack the thread, but I do appreciate your encouragement Jody, Diana and Kell. I really do. I think I will start to look around for an appropriate home for that ms again.
Don't be discouraged, Bruna. You have nothing to lose and possibly lots to gain.
: )
#13 - September 14, 2015, 03:10 PM
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JulieM hijack away! How crushing...I hope you can rehome it. If I had gotten that far I would have been really gutted.

I have returned the "offending" book to the library and I'm trying to make my ms the best it can be.

Thanks for all the replies. I continue to find wonderful support on these boards that helps me to overcome niggles, doubts and disappointments!
#14 - September 20, 2015, 01:52 PM

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Julie--WOW! That's really a shame. But, yes, it's happened to me too. More than once. In fact, a couple of times, right before my manuscript was to be published, someone else came out with an almost identical book. I've never had a publisher bail on me--but it casts a shadow on your book if another one has just appeared with a similar theme or style or both.

Wait a few years. See if you can change a few things. And try again.
#15 - September 20, 2015, 03:04 PM
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I would want my critique group or a few beta readers to read both the book and my manuscript and give me their impressions.

I know this is a tough situation. Been there.  Even as I write this, I have a book with a major publisher and every month that goes by that it doesn't get released I am chewing my finger nails and wondering if someone else will get a similar story out first.

Also, I think if you private message folks here on the boards with your manuscript, they would be able to give you great feedback.  I know I would be open to that.

Wishing you best of luck.


#16 - September 20, 2015, 03:59 PM
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Stepping in with my admin hat on. Just wanted to clarify Stephanie's suggestion a little. On the board here we should always have someone's permission before sending them a ms by Private Message. But yes, you'd probably find people who are willing.

If you'd like a critique from board members please feel free to post a request on the Critique Request board. You don't need to post the text if you don't want to, just a request for critique and that you'll send ms by pm or email.

 :thankyou
#17 - September 20, 2015, 04:36 PM
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Stepping in with my admin hat on. Just wanted to clarify Stephanie's suggestion a little. On the board here we should always have someone's permission before sending them a ms by Private Message. But yes, you'd probably find people who are willing.

 :goodpost
#18 - September 20, 2015, 06:06 PM

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Thank you for clarifying.
#19 - September 20, 2015, 08:30 PM
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JulieM, Go for it. Sent it out and see what happens. You said the other book had won awards. Some, if not all publishers, love to publish almost copies of award winning book or ms with the same topic, hoping to get on the backlash of the award winning book.

#20 - September 21, 2015, 03:39 AM

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