(art from Richard Sala’s lovely graphic novel Cat Burglar Black. No publishing idea theft occurs during this book.)
Every so often, someone e-mails or calls or comes up to us at a show to tell us that they have a wonderful book that they’re working on, but they don’t want to show it to us because they’re afraid we’ll steal the idea for it, then get another author and artist to write and draw a book with the same concept behind it.
I’m here today to tell you definitively: if you’re an author, this is not something that you have to worry about.
Because we’re publishers, we’re always on the look out for new authors and new books to publish. We are constantly wandering around being like, ‘I hope some amazing new author comes and sends me their wonderful new book and then we will give them a contract and publish it!’ It is literally the best day of the month when someone e-mails us with a wonderfully exciting new project that has something in it that speaks to us, or when a talented author we know comes to us and says, ‘let’s work together.’
If you’re a person who’s a writer/artist who has lots of interesting and great ideas that work harmoniously with our publishing program and you e-mail us about them, our response is not, ‘great! Let’s steal those and then we’ll have to go through the trouble of finding and hiring another person who’s less enthusiastic about these interesting and great ideas and we’ll give them some money to develop them; I’m sure that’ll work out amazingly.’
We’d rather work with the person who has the interest and great ideas in the first place! And then perhaps they’ll have more interesting and great ideas in the years to come and we can publish them for years and years to both of our benefits. We’re publishers; finding an author/illustrator who has great ideas and can make them into a book for us is an exciting and wonderful and valuable thing!