Writing Books/A book idea


I have an idea for a book but I don't want to share my idea in fear of someone stealing it.  How do I protect my idea while pursuing my dream of turning my idea into an autobiography, novel, etc?

Thank you.

Hi, Georgette!

Unfortunately, an "idea" (such as a plot outline, characters, etc.) can't be copyrighted. It's only words on paper that have protection. Your best defense against anyone stealing it is to write it. Then you're automatically protected under U.S. Copyright laws (if that's where you live). Even your own notes aren't sufficient to keep an idea safe, so my best advice is to start writing! Not only is it fun, but it can be very profitable.

If you want to read more about your rights under copyright law, you can visit the source. The U.S. Copyright Office has a TERRIFIC website with easy to understand information. Check out:


You'll find out a bunch of information to get you started. Hope that helps, and If you have any other questions, just let me know. :)


Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.