by Pamela S. Meyers
I’ve always wondered if there was a good reason for including a section in a novel proposal where a list of currently available novels similar to yours is provided along with explanations as to how they are similar and dissimilar to yours.
Just recently I submitted a proposal to a publisher for a novel I’d written a couple years ago. A few days later, the editor advised she couldn’t take the story because it was very similar to one that was published last fall by another publisher. She then listed at least seven or eight plot points in the other novel that were an exact match to my story. I expected to hear the theme song from the old TV show The Twilight Zone tuning up in the background. It was that similar!
Although I’d briefly met the other author at a writing conference, we have never exchanged emails or discussed in any way our current stories. Yet here were two people writing stories that had come out of their imaginations, each containing many of the same plot points.
Curious, I ordered a copy of the other book, secretly wanting to dislike it. Just joking folks. In fact, I loved the story. Yes, the plot points were eerily similar—even the heroine in both stories had the same first name—yet there were vast differences in the two storylines and that is what I intend to camp on when I tweak my story and the proposal.
I can’t change a lot of the plot points without having to totally take the story apart and start over, but I can change a couple of them. However, I can make small changes here and there. Most importantly, I will include the other book in the comparison part of the proposal as one that is similar to mine, making sure to point out all the differences, including the style of storytelling—mine is straight third person past POV throughout, while the other is told from the perspective of two heroines, one being third person past and the other first person present. There are enough other differences that I hope the similarities won’t matter.
The bottom line is I don’t plan to give up on seeing this story be published, along with the other two stories in the series. And that’s something I think all authors, new or seasoned, need to remember. Be prepared to show others that in spite of there being nothing new under the sun, there is always a fresh way to tell the story.
2017. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas. Here’s the link to her Amazon author page where you can purchase Second Chance Love and any other of her books: http://amzn.to/2kqP5C