Recently I was asked if I would sign a non-disclosure agreement before an author would agree to query me. I said no and explained why, but I want to expand on that further.
BookEnds has a history of brainstorming ideas with our clients and for our clients. We actually have almost a full page of ideas we’d love to see brought to publication, all of them are ideas we’ve come up with in-house and all of them are waiting for just the right author. We also have a number of clients working on a variety of different books with different ideas. Signing a non-disclosure could put any of those ideas at risk.
I can’t agree to sign something that I don’t know what its about, I can’t do that to my business and I can’t do that to my clients. How would an author later prove that the idea came from someone else and was not something I disclosed?
You might be surprised at how often we see the same idea and how rare it is for that idea to actually go to publication. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times Jesus has been cloned or how often real estate agents become amateur sleuths.
Ideas can’t be copyrighted for a reason. They are just ideas. Even the best idea is only as good as the execution. Fourteen different authors could come to me with the exact same idea, but if they don’t execute it to the full extent of where you could go with that idea it’s only that, an idea.
If you are concerned that an agent might steal your idea don’t submit to that agent. Its that simple. In the end though, you’ve got to write an amazing book to match the idea, the idea alone isn’t going to sell.