Q: How can I explore my fabulous idea for a new magazine without
someone stealing it? I want to approach other people in the publishing
business, but I don't want anyone to steal my idea!
Answer: People ask this question all the time.
Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer.
You can read about
non-disclosure agreements at Wikipedia.
And you can download one from Nolo.com.
Lawyers tell us that even a non-disclosure agreement won't really protect
you if someone wants to take your idea and do it on their own. In other words,
a dishonest person will get around any protections you try to put up, no
how careful you are. So there is only one protection, and that's just to
be careful. Know who you're talking to and what their interests might be.
example, consultants like us don't steal ideas for two reasons. First and
foremost, we'd be out of business in a second if we couldn't keep secrets,
we're happy being consultants, and we don't want to be publishers (been there,
done that, not again, thanks).
But a publishing company is different. Big publishers are constantly
looking for new ideas. They have whole teams of people working
on ideas all the time. In fact, experienced publishers have probably
already spotted your idea but haven't acted on it for one reason
or another. Many of the big companies will ignore any publication
that can’t achieve paid circulation of 500,000 or more.
And that leaves lots of niches that they won’t pursue.
A good idea often springs to life in several spots at the same
time. It just happens that way. So another protection is to assume
that you won't get to keep the idea all to yourself anyway, and
proceed with a business plan COUNTING on competitors. Competition
will be inevitable anyway, sooner or later. So just plan for
it and it won't undo you when it comes along. As consultants,
we offer quick, honest feedback about your ideas. Learn about
our services for startups, then, if it looks like we can help
you, e-mail us.
Our two publishing how-to books have lots of information about
bringing your idea to a reality. Starting
and Running a Successful Newsletter or Magazine covers the
business side of publishing - how to raise money and write a
business plan, plus selling
ads and growing circulation. Every
Nonprofit's Guide to Publishing covers editing, design, digital workflow, production, as well
as budgeting, negotiating a printing contract, and working with
the post office.