Author Gail Gauthier's Reflections On Books, Writing, Humor, And Other Sometimes Random Things
Sunday, March 07, 2010
An Unfortunate Coincidence
While I was at a writers' retreat yesterday, I learned about a new book called Happy Face by Stephen Emond. The cover and title couldn't help but catch my eye, given how similar they are to Happy Kid!.
Then I read what the book is about--"a shy, artistic boy who decides to reinvent himself as a happy-go-lucky guy after he moves to a new town." Happy Kid! is about a boy who is "friendless, mistakenly taking super-difficult accelerated courses, and infamous for allegedly being involved in a violent "incident" on the bus" "...but a self-help book from his well-meaning mother changes all that. Magically, the book seems to know all about him. And it wants him to improve his life."
Happy Kid! was published four years ago, which is probably a generation in publisher years. Nonetheless, it's hard not to be frustrated.
Happy Face's author even lives in my state.
UPDATE: After fifty minutes or so of exercise and a hot shower, I have started moving on. Also, is the Happy Face cover supposed to be a paper bag? Because that would make it different. Let's say it's a paper bag. Yeah. Ommmm.
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Ack! That's quite a few overlaps! And at the moment, I am hip-deep in a revision my editor required because she wants to publish my book, and another book is coming out that is on a similar topic... and she wants to make sure and erase any overlaps.
Whichever similarities remain, I always take comfort in the fact that there is no one else who writes like me -- no one. And, in the weird world of fiction, your own work might suddenly have an uptick of sales due to cover confusion.
But yeah - I'm also going to say it's a paper bag...
Yes, I've wondered if this could end up being good for Happy Kid! in some small way.
Given the number of books that are published every year, there have to be many that are on similar topics. Readers can accept that because, as you say, what the authors do with the material will make the final works different. You'll probably see that happening in your case, too.
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