OMG someone’s written my book

Posted: August 2, 2011 in thoughts
Tags: , ,

I am just basking in the glow of finalising my book for 7s-9s when I get a shock of such proportions that I can hardly breathe. And that is… Someone has written a book that has significant elements of mine, so closely related that I may as well lie down and call it a day.

I. Cannot. Believe. My. Bad. Luck.

The book in question is from T.M. Alexander’s Tribe series, which starts with Jonno Joins.

The competition: Tribe

I’ve read the first part on Amazon and now the whole book has arrived and I will read it thoroughly. But the thing is, I already know from the extract that there is a group of boys (well, one girl too), that a new boy joins them, that they form a club/tribe/gang/whatever, that the first person narrator has a distinct voice for the age group, that the children have nicknames, and that there is a series.

Now how could that happen to me? All of those things apply to my book (including the possibility of a series). Yet I swear I never heard of this writer. I imagined my book myself and now I’ve been pipped to the post. I could cry.

Right. Get a grip. My story (ie the plot) is totally different. That’s a plus point. What else is there?

Well, my events are set in fantasy as well as reality, which offers a different scenario for each story, should I be so lucky as to get a series. It’s not all home and school life. I don’t have a girl in it. And I don’t have fact boxes about the kids on the page – but I so nearly did.

I’m not sure what other differences there are yet – I’ll spend this afternoon reading Jonno Joins, although I don’t think I can stomach the rest of the series till my chagrin seeps away! I mean, she won the Hull Children’s Book Award last year. I can’t compete.

So what can I do about this?

I’m clearly going to have to rely on my plot being original and sufficiently brilliant to engender interest.  But do I acknowledge to an agent or publisher that this Tribe series exists and point out my differences as strengths? Do I keep quiet and risk sounding market-unaware? Do I target Alexander’s publisher, Picadilly, as they clearly publish similar stuff? Or steer clear and hope no one mentions this little problem?

My plot is so different; it’s just that the opening premise, the set-up and the first-person narrator are so similar. It’s freaked me out. I need a G&T…

  1. I’ve seen three of my books on the shelves, Eleanor. One of my favourites, A Hug needs Two, about a bear who gives inappropriately huge hugs, was called Hugless Douglas. The plot was identical. But I reckon the life of a picture book is short so one day I may be able to publish it.


  2. PS Don’t know how to get rid of my name!


    • Hi Maureen

      They say there is no such thing as a new idea, only what we’ve done with it. So we won’t be beaten on some a small matter, will we?? Actually some ideas do seem new: what about Tall Story and The Hunger Games? But in picture books, less often, because of the narrow subject range for the age group perhaps. Onward and upward then!

      And as for getting rid of your name – I’ve no idea…


  3. Hunger Games is very like the Running Man which of course is based on gladiators. There are no new ingredients – only a new recipe!


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