Writer calls Melissa Marr a “Laurell K Hamilton knock-off”

A writer for STLtoday.com accuses Melissa Marr of “taking a page” from Laurell K. Hamilton.

Of course the cliche is that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ but where does flattery end and copyright infringement begin? The book’s jacket even looks like the photos on Hamilton’s books.

Another issue: A lot of parents might not think this series should be marketed to 12-year-olds, as it apparently will be. There’s a lot of difference between a 17-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl.

On the other hand, most of the popular series being marketed to teen girls seem to involve beauty, sex and lots of designer purses. Maybe fantasy tattoos and paranormal love interests are no worse. I’m not suggesting that books lead girls down the path to teen pregnancy. But with the sexualization of girls starting so young in all facets of culture, should parents speak up about what they see? Thoughts?

Yeah. I have a few. Thanks for asking.

1) READ Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely. Spot the differences. Here’s a clue: they’re not even close to the same. Hamilton’s faeries are sex-loving, multi-coloured fey. Marr’s faeries are not multi-coloured or sex-loving. They are dangerous, wicked, and power-hungry. Completely different. I don’t know how anyone who’s read Marr’s work could even dare suggested her ideas came from Hamilton’s. Do your homework before even thinking of making accusations.

2) OPEN your eyes to the fact that faeries have been written about since the Middle Ages. Hamilton was not the first to write about faeries living among us. She doesn’t own the rights to all faerie stories. Anyone is free to write about faeries, whether it’s a poem, short story or novel, and have their work published. Do your homework on faeries.

3) Authors have no say in what goes on the cover of their books. This is decided by the marketing and editorial departments. Do your homework on the book publishing business.

4) Accusations of copyright infringement are not buzz words to throw around to get a wider readership. Copyright infringement is taken very seriously in the publishing world, and look, you just accused a huge publishing company of committing a very serious act. Do your homework on copyright infringement.

5) You cannot own an idea. Ideas are nice, but it’s the execution that counts. You can put thirty people in a room and tell them all to write about faeries and they will all write something different. But they are not copying each other, and they are not stealing your idea because you suggested it.

Do your homework.

6 comments on “Writer calls Melissa Marr a “Laurell K Hamilton knock-off”

  1. Thank you for your words.

    It’s hard to remember sometimes that many readers simply don’t realize that faery tales aren’t new. I’ve found that sorta surprising the past year plus. Just because some of us grew up with faery lore doesn’t mean that all readers did. When people say things like this, I find it helps me if I try to remember that.

    Incidentally, I did actually have a voice in my cover–I picked the model. The cover matched the first one: both feature a female with an iconographic image that ties to the plot. The palate matches it as well. The the two UK covers match each other two–cityscapes with heightened use of warmer colours.

    Interestingly, the idea that a fully clad, not sexualized girl with wings is similar to LKH’s covers does confuse me a bit. No bare midriff or legs, no scanty attire–instead it’s a face and upper back . . . Hmm. To each his/her own, I guess. I actually think it’s closest covers match in the US is Libba Bray’s latest (which I love) or the second book inthe Luxe series (also gorgeous–and fwiw, features the model from the WL cover). YA covers in the US of late often have a single iconic image or a girl–Libba Bray’s, Jen Barnes, the Luxe series, the re-release of the Midnighter’s series . . . It’s not that unusual.

    Her take was interesting to read though. Thanks for pointing this out 🙂


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  6. I love the way Melissa Mar responded to this. I love hearing how the writers feel about comments like this. I would love to hear what Laurell K Hamition thinks, but honestly I think she would probably just chuckle to herself.
    Personally I think the idea to the series are alike is just rather funny. One is clearly written for adults while the other for young adults.
    The covers look very different to me (don’t get me wrong, I can see a sense of “dark mystery” in both).
    But to be honest I am a adult and I have no kids. Maybe if I was a mother, or younger I could give better feedback. Yes some of the content in ink exchange seems alittle harsh for a 12 year old, but then I think some of the music videos today are alittle harsh for 12 year olds, and I think one of the better points to Marr’s books is that she doesn’t sugar-coat everything, and I think its something that the young adults she writes for enjoy and take to heart. Children are growing up alot faster now then they did when I was 12, when I deal with them I usually think of them as being about 3 years older mentally just because that’s how must of the ones I’ve come across act. (and yes, I now feel old).
    When it comes down to it I think that children could find books much worse then Marr’s books and I think they do sometimes, that said, yes there are cleaner books out there for their age group, but I doubt they catch their interest the way that these do, not with all that they are exposed to daily. That said, even with as older as they seem and as exposed as they are, I still think that Hamilton’s books are 18+. I remember blushing at a few parts myself and I was over 18.
    It worries me when people use copyright infringement so lightly. I do see the point that you are trying to make, but other people see even a hint of this it can snowball in some scary ways. But I’m sure you didn’t mean it like that.

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