Jennifer Lyon

Monday, May 7th, 2018
Weekend Roundup + Rant

It was a good weekend, but there’s no way I can get everything crammed into this blog in the short time I have to write it, so I’ll  recap with–we had a good weekend. We saw Baby Slayer and he’s getting bigger, stronger, faster and amazing!! Here’s the picture I posted on my FB of him (he’s 7 weeks old):

Now taking off my Grandma Hat and dusting off my Author Hat: If you’ve ventured anywhere romanceland online over the weekend, you’ve probably heard that latest uproar. I oftentimes avoid social media pile ons, but I consider this a potentially serious threat to authors. My recap is this: A self published author has trademarked the word “Cocky” that appears in her series title, thereby (supposedly) preventing other authors from using the word in their titles. And she’s sending takedown notices to authors who’ve used “Cocky” in their published single book titles.

**NOTE: I am not a lawyer, I don’t play one on TV and this is not legal advice**

However, I’m an author who’s been around a long time, and I’m calling this a cheap-ass, attention-grabbing, bullying move. If it’s not and I’m wrong, I’ll happily admit it. But from where I stand, that’s what it looks like. The word “Cocky” has been appearing in titles for quite awhile now BEFORE she used it, and it’s a commonly used word in romance. It’s my opinion (and only an opinion) that it should never have passed the trademark threshold, but that’s not something I’m not at all qualified to judge, so whatever.

However I’ve been a human being for decades now, and I’m not seeing much humanity in her actions of sending authors cease and decease letters with a threat to sue, and then reporting them to Amazon, as the authors involved claimed has happened (see copy of takedown letter here). That does not show class, integrity or good business sense.

Again I could be wrong.

But I’m not wrong about this: If something like this happens to you as an author in the romance world, reach out to your fellow authors. We will try to help you if we can. That’s exactly what is happening with this latest uproar that has the (unfortunate in my view) name of “#Cockygate” on Twitter. You can also read more about it here  and a more legal explanation here of Trademark here

Also if you’ve been targeted for using “cocky” in a book title, Romance Writers of America would like to hear from you. They are working with an IP attorney to clarify this issue, and hopefully resolve it. Contact Carol Ritter

What I want you all to take away from this bears repeating: IF SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS TO YOU, ASK FOR HELP! The romance community has its faults, but when we pull together to help authors we feel are being treated unfairly, we are powerful and relentless. You’re not alone. We may not be able to give you an instant fix, but we can be there to support and help you.  I’ve reached out in my career and received help, and I believe I’ve helped others.

So, as you may know, I’ve been very quiet on most social media lately, and in fact, this blog is where I engage the most. But even though writing is a struggle for me with my cervical spine issues right now, I still care passionately about all my fellow authors. I respect their hard work and right to make a living. So here I am speaking out :-)

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now. How was your weekend? As always, I really want to know!

8 comments to “Weekend Roundup + Rant”

  1. Marianne
    May 7th, 2018 at 8:44 am · Link

    Good rant, Jen. Also Baby Slayer is seriously cute.

  2. Silver James
    May 7th, 2018 at 9:10 am · Link

    I caught part of this kerfluffle. Makes me want to publish a book with cocky in the title just to make her spend her money to sue me. I have in-house counsel. And he’s free. He’s all…WTF?!? Like you, I can’t figure out who lost their mind in the Trademark Office and signed off on this. Like Lawyer Guy, I’m all WTF?!?!?! When it counts, the romance community will normally stands together.

    My weekend was mostly good. Had a death in Only’s extended family. The weather was nice and I got some work done. Not enough, but some.

    Baby Slayer is too cute for words!

  3. B.E. Sanderson
    May 7th, 2018 at 9:50 am · Link

    Yep. Definitely some major stupidity all up and down the line there. Like Silver, I want to publish a book with cocky in the title just to see what she tries to do. (Not that I have free legal counsel or anything.) I suspect if anyone digs deeply enough into this person, they’ll find that she is author, publisher, AND supposed legal counsel all in one. Her or members of her family. :shrug: And yes, someone at the trademark office needs to be slapped upside the head repeatedly. (Perhaps she’s related to someone there, too.)

    Baby Slayer is awesome!

    The weekend here was nice. I took loads of bird pictures, added dirt to the rosebed, moved some spent bulbs around. All good. Today? Who knows.

  4. Jenn
    May 7th, 2018 at 12:04 pm · Link

    Marianne, Thanks on both! Baby Slayer is so much fun. This “cockygate” thing is crack-crazy, and I can barely get my head around it.

  5. Jenn
    May 7th, 2018 at 12:11 pm · Link

    Silver, books exactly like that are popping up–it’s hilarious! And if she’d targeted you, I’d start or contribute to a fund to cover all LG’s expenses and keep him in coffee as he went after her. I absolutely loathe this kind of arrogant bullying crap. And I must stop now :-)

    I’m so sorry about the death in Only’s extended family. It’s so hard, and I hope everyone is coping okay.

    Hope your week is getting off to a good start.

  6. Jenn
    May 7th, 2018 at 12:19 pm · Link

    B.E. you could be very right. I’m pretty sure she wanted this attention and thought she had the skills to control it as well. We’ll see how it plays out. I’m just wanted to go on records as part of the “Oh Hell No,” crowd. If this Trademark stands then we have a real problem.

    I have to agree on Baby Slayer :-)

    Sun, moving dirt to please the roses, rearranging bulbs–you’re quite the gardner! I read your comments and think, I want to garden! Then I go out in the heat and look at the dirt and think…I’d rather read, bake, play with Maggie, write a book, clean out my kitchen cupboards…so maybe I’m not a natural born gardner, LOL! But I love seeing the work everyone else does!

    Hope today turns out awesome.

  7. Viki S.
    May 7th, 2018 at 3:04 pm · Link

    Baby Slayer is getting SO big :). What a cutie too. I love his mitts ;). Hubs says Harrison has razor blades attached to his fingers ;).

    Good rant. I caught a little of this yesterday and didn’t really get it. I kept wondering how an author could capture a word, makes no sense and is mean.

    Middle son, lady and kitty are all moved in to the new apartment. I was worried because the city they’ve moved to has gone down in recent years but they found a great place. This newer office building turned the upper floors into small apartments. So the kids have a doorman, coffee/bagel shop, upscale dining and some shops all on the ground floor of the building. Now what I like best is they can see the lake from the bedroom windows :).

    Have a wonderful week :)!

  8. Jenn
    May 7th, 2018 at 4:55 pm · Link

    Viki, Baby Slayer has a checkup Friday afternoon, so we can find out just how much he’s grown. I cut his fingernails the best I could this weekend, but the mitts help.

    I suspect someone at the trademark office was a sleep on the job. I try to remember they probably catch a lot more of this sly crap than we ever realize, and one is bound to slip through now and again.

    Congrats to Middle son, his girl and kitty! That place sounds awesome! I’m far away from every possible convenience (except place to walk Maggie) so I’m a little jealous of his fabulous location, and his lovely view. You must be so happy for them!

    Happy Monday!

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