First, I must apologize for the long absence. The garden takes half my free time and finishing my novel has taken the rest of it. I am on the last chapter, finally and will be wrapping it up in a few days. Meantime, I want to address something my sister brought up.
Looking around the garden, and noticing all the extra bags of mulch, topsoil, garden soil, potting mix, compost manure, etc.. she asked a question that I am sure you have asked yourself.
“Why do all those store keep that stuff outside? Aren’t they concerned someone will steal it?”
It’s a legitimate question. I see piles of that stuff outside hardware stores, grocery stores, even gas stations. It’s not always about the large amount of space the dirt and mulch takes up. Stores can secure that stuff if they really want to.
It’s really about the people who buy that stuff. People like me. Homeowners who don’t mind pine bark and pearlite spilled in the back seat. People who don’t just garden to make a free salad, but want to add a little beauty to the form and function of their garden. Sure I could buy cheaper mulch to spread around the base of my fruit trees, but I cough up the extra buck a bag for stuff that won’t fade out in a month.
People like that, like me, we don’t steal dirt.
Dirt is cheap, so is mulch, manure and all the lot. It would take a moving van and a team of four to steal enough to surpass the misdemeanor stage.
Besides, how would it look, getting caught stealing dirt? You can’t sell it.
“Psst, hey buddy. I got some dirt, real cheap.”
“Hands in the air, this is the Manure Patrol. You’re under arrest.”
“Manure patrol huh? That must be a crappy job.”
Store are not concerned that everyone will steal their crap, but new writer are. I can’t tell you the amount of times I see someone’s story on a review board with a homemade copyright blurb at the end. I did the same thing when I first started out, afraid that everyone would steal my little gems and make a fortune off of them.
Sure, plagiarism still happens. But that’s for lawyers to fight over. Putting ‘copyright’ at the beginning or end of a piece only does not protect you from theft any more than not putting it there. By posting a work on many public sites, the author gives up their rights. Look at the small print.
The truth is, a writer retains the copyright to all of their works until they sell it or give it away. Putting a blurb on a piece only shows ones naiveté, so stop it. Your stories are worth about as much as the bags of mulch I buy. No respectable editor or publisher is going to steal your work. If your stuff is good enough to steal, it’s good enough to pay for.
For now, your work like my own, is dirt cheap.