Friday, January 11, 2008

When people steal your ideas and H.I.G.H. 9

Hello and TGIF.

Well, I don't think I'll get this in under the buzzer. It is 11:57 on Friday night Eastern Time. I am a sign language interpreter for a local group and I was there until almost 11pm.

Ricardo posted a good question two days ago in the comments that I said I'd addresss here. He said:

What steps can you take when someone copies your content and places it on his site without acknowledging you as the source, and has refused to answer your repeated attempts to contact him/her?

As a writer, I guess one of your profitable assets is the content you write about. I know that with internet technology, while it's become easier to publish, it also becomes easier for content theft to take place.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Well, I cannot claim to be an expert on this. What I can do is tell you what I would do in such a situation. I would post in the comments section a thank you to the author for posting your content and then put a link to the original post in your comment post. I cannot promise the person won't delete the comment but it is a way to give credit back to yourself.

It is frustrating when people steal your content and give you no attribution and I wish I had a better answer but really that is the best idea that comes to mind. I don't look at all for specific quotes [although I have started to do it a bit more simply to track all the places I'm being quoted]. I have found it too frustrating. Besides, I have so much to be thankful for I don't want to look for things that will make me mad.

Incidentally, that is why I urge people who want to be published NOT to post content [fiction stories] on their blogs or websites. Too dangerous. I don't even really talk about my stories at all so there is no chance for someone to steal my stuff.

H.I.G.H. 9

So here I was starting a new year and a new writing career. I'd had my first publishing credit and I'd had major health issues with my daughter. But as those of you who work with kids know, they crash fast and they can perk up fast.

The day after Pookey was admitted to the PICU she was discharged to go home. She was 100% fine. Life started to return to normal and we prepared for the final 12 weeks of my pregnancy. My husband had just finished building a new room upstairs to accommodate the new baby and I was getting the nursery around for our new arrival.

As I told you I was a part of the Christian Writer's Guild and I received an exciting email from them. They were launching a brand new contest Operation First Novel. The top prize was $50,000 and publication with Tyndale Publishers. The deadline was February. I quickly pulled out that 50 page story that I'd put away so many years ago and set out to make it 50,000 words or more. This was how I was going to break out on the scene. This was my moment of destiny, I knew it. Each night I put the kids in bed at 8:30pm and then I'd sit at my computer for 2 1/2 hours and type until 11pm. By the end of three weeks I'd typed almost 13,000 words.

But then I noticed something. The deadline was a YEAR away! It was February 2004. I breathed a sign of relief and completed the first draft of almost 35,000 words by mid-February. The story was still rough, and I knew that, but I was getting closer. I had a perfect heroine who was dealt an injustice that her near perfect husband was trying to help her through. The gripping story had turned in to fluff. I worked at it more and more adding words a little at a time to get the story to word count. But now we were to March, and the baby would be here soon.

It came time to deliver and I had my guild lessons with me in my hospital bag. My youngest was born 9am on March 27th and that afternoon while she slept I worked on my guild lessons. I now had a new baby and I was going to be busy. I had a dream, yes, but my baby was my priority now.

We left the hospital and came home with our 3rd daughter. Her big sisters were 4 1/2 years old and 22 months old. It was a busy house made busier by the babies complete inability to sleep. My writing time began to fade away and was replaced by complete exhaustion and no sleep. By 5 weeks she was diagnosed with acid reflux and put on medication to try to help relieve her pain and constant screaming. Just at the moment I was about to step in to my dream I saw it being pried from my fingers. I finally let go and accepted that, for a season, I'd not be an author.

And three weeks later I was back in the hospital, this time, it was my infant in the hospital bed.

See you Monday.

Thank you again for your comments and for the kind emails you've been sending. I'll see all of you Monday with H.I.G.H. part 9

I'd love to have others chime in on this topic. Post it in the comments section of this blog OR better yet, blog about it on your own blog and leave the link in my comments section. That way all of us can come over and learn along with your normal readers.

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