conversation over at Hugh Howey: people stealing your ideas

I really enjoy Hugh Howey’s books, and above and beyond being a great fiction writer, he’s also a damn good chronicler of the self-publishing adventure.

He had a post earlier today that I thought was great. One bit:

http://www.hughhowey.com/what-do-self-published-authors-need

I’d say the biggest barrier to releasing quality material is probably impatience. You have a work that feels pretty good; you’re exhausted; you want to move on; you might be a bit delusional about how good it really is; so you hit publish. Nobody steps in and tells you to make it better, to do another pass, to get a better cover, to write a better blurb, to hire or trade for some editing, to beg or trade for some beta reading. You simply jump the gun.

In the comment thread someone said of beta readers “You would have to deal with the fear of people ‘stealing’ your idea”.

I replied

TJIC

June 17, 2013 at 7:13 am

I’ve started two companies and I’ve written two novels, and I find that almost universally, people who WANT to do one or both of these things worry about ideas being stolen, and people who HAVE done either one of these things know the truth: ideas are cheap and competent execution is really really REALLY hard.

“Young kid comes of age and joins the space military”. Heinlein did it. Haldeman did it. OSC did it. Each did a different amazing take on it.

…and then ten thousand OTHER people have done it, and they’ve all been forgettable.

Heinlein could have published his idea on a billboard, waited twenty years for all the “clones” to “rip off his idea”, and still blown everyone out of the water when Starship Trooper was released.

My two cents.

And Hugh himself replied a few minutes later:

Hugh C. Howey

June 17, 2013 at 7:58 am

> Ideas are cheap and competent execution is really really REALLY hard.

Complete agreement. Truer words were never spoken.

Cool.

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8 Responses to conversation over at Hugh Howey: people stealing your ideas

  1. Kelly says:

    Cool! Am currently reading Wool – I like it when things converge.

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  3. Pingback: You must read Hugh Howey’s novel, Wool | Write on the World

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