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message 1: by Elodie (new)

Elodie Hi, all! A question.
If you'll give a beta reader your manuscript, isn't there a risk that the beta reader could simply "take" it? Because the copyright isn't published yet. How do you make sure that no one "steals" it?
Don't get me wrong: I would trust my beta readers not to do that. But writing a book is too much work to get into trouble because of something like that later.
Thanks for your answers!

message 2: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 41 comments I'm no expert so take what I say with a pinch of salt but unless you physically hand over a paper copy of your manuscript to the beta reader, you can always prove the timeline should you need to in future.

By this, you can always prove the date and time you originally emailed a copy to the beta reader, which would go a long way to proving that you were the original writer. Just make sure that you do not delete said email.

Also, why I never bother too much myself is because a beta read is just a draft copy. My final work tends to be different to the first draft. I intentionally leave things out of it too.

With my latest book, another thing that I did was put it as available for pre-order even before I wrote a first line. So if a dishonest beta reader tried to steal said work, the title and my name have been linked together well before the thief can put his out. That will be used as a time stamp putting me as the original creator of the work

Just my 2 cents

message 3: by Beth Durkee (new)

Beth Durkee | 4 comments For me, I only have about three beta readers and I have established personal relationships with them all. In addition to the threat of jeopardizing our relationship with their theft, they are all witnesses to when I started writing my story and when they were handed my manuscript. So no, I am not really worried about that kind of theft.

I did have a beta reader "leak" an unfinished manuscript once. (She leaked it to a nun, so no real danger.) I was very unhappy about that and cut her off from the end of the story till it was published. With only one chapter left to the end of the story, that was an actual punishment.

message 4: by Elodie (new)

Elodie @ Beth: What a crazy story! Don't know if I'm shocked or amused! Glad that everything worked out for you.
@ Segilola: Thx for the info, I hadn't thought about the mail traffic I could use as proof. Great tip! But a question: You really put your books on preorder before you even have started to write? How do you know it's finished in - let's say 6 months or 1 year or whatever date you set. It's a cool concept but I wouldn't know how to do that :D

message 5: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 41 comments I can type pretty fast and I tend to have the story in my head fully long before I decide to start writing.

With my latest book, it took me a few hours to type the first draft. The rest of the time was waiting for feedback from beta readers etc etc. I uploaded a draft copy to meet the date I set but didn't start promoting book until a few days later when I received final copy from editor.

I feel having a launch date helps you be focussed as you have something to achieve

message 6: by Tia (new)

Tia Tormen (tiatormen) | 10 comments I'm also just sending out a first novel to beta readers and was concerned about the same thing.
I sent my beta readers three chapters at a time, as a PDF file. I realize that even a PDF wont stop someone who really wants to steal the work, but it might slow them down.
Also, just putting a copyright notice in the MS somewhere (add a footer or header?) tells your readers that the © is in place. They don't have to know whether or not you have filed for your copyright or whether or not your filing has gone through.

message 7: by Elodie (new)

Elodie @ Tia: I already thought about the copyright symbol but it wouldn't help you much if someone just typed off the text from your file, right? So probably it's really the best to rely on the proof that you've sent the mail to the beta reader.
@ Segilola: I admire your work style! I wouldn't be able to have the story fully thought-through before writing. I start writing and then need to wait a few hours/days until I have an idea how to proceed. But great if that's working for you!

message 8: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 41 comments well my books so far have been children's, so it's been pretty straight forward.

however, I am trying out a full adult novel and it's not been that easy. having a one year old greatly minimises the amount of time I can dedicate to writing but what I have done is put out the first 3000+ words online for people to read and give me feedback. this way, absolutely no one can claim the work is there's cos I have the timeline to prove that the work is mine.

and to be honest, theft is a great form of flattery. no one steals crap

message 9: by Elodie (new)

Elodie yes, you're right about that!
well, I'm only into fiction and as those are the books with the most pages/word count, you really need to put a lot of thinking into it... and there are already so many unique stories published that it's hard to create something new that captures the reader. but I won't give up :)

message 10: by Tia (new)

Tia Tormen (tiatormen) | 10 comments Elodie wrote: "@ Tia: I already thought about the copyright symbol but it wouldn't help you much if someone just typed off the text from your file, right? So probably it's really the best to rely on the proof tha..."

If they are typing it verbatim--the exact word for word way you wrote it--then yes the copyright symbol helps.
Once you write a story, commit it to digital or paper, it is in essence copyrighted. It is just not fully protected. Filing with the copyright office and adding your copyright to your work, helps ensure the protection of your work.
Just fyi, emails are not admissible as evidence in court. Should something like this ever happen, the email you sent with the story attached would not be admissible as evidence that the work was first written by you and belongs to you.
Anyone can steal and rewrite a story, I hear about it all the time from authors on email groups. Someone takes the digital file, gives it a new cover and sells it from their site(s), as if it belongs to them. And I'm sure even some crap gets stolen and sold.
In this age of digital everything, there are no guarantees. Take a couple steps to make it harder to steal. At least that's my line of reasoning.
I had two people contact me regarding Beta reading. They said they had seen my posting on GR. I asked if we were hooked up on GR. One went away, the second sent me a FR. When I told that reader that I sent PDF files in three chapter segments, I never heard back again.
I'm not saying they were going to try to steal the work, maybe they just got busy.


message 11: by Elodie (new)

Elodie thanks for the info! I'll keep that in mind!

message 12: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 41 comments Tia wrote: "Elodie wrote: "@ Tia: I already thought about the copyright symbol but it wouldn't help you much if someone just typed off the text from your file, right? So probably it's really the best to rely o..."

really? since when are emails not admissible? why then do the cops confiscate criminals computers? what else is admissible as evidence?

message 13: by Tia (new)

Tia Tormen (tiatormen) | 10 comments The Web is full of useful information from authors who have written blogs on writing related copyright information. If you want information, all you have to do is search the information and start reading.

link: Poor Mans Copyright

link: Copyright Myths

link: Top Five Legal Issues for Authors

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