First, if you do not know what cockygate is – you can view trending posts on Twitter and Facebook. In a nutshell, indie romance author Faleena Hopkins has decided not only to trademark the series name of her books (which isn’t unusual) but also the word “cocky” itself. The specifics can be found here in an article written by Kayleigh Donaldson. In this article you can see tweets, as well as one of the cease and desist letters another article received.
I have not written anything about my drift away from reading as many romances as I did in the years 2014-2016. Some of my book friends know, some authors I’ve befriended know. It started when my own love life, which has always kind of sucked, really took a hard knock. I found it hard after the hurt I experienced from that particular man to read a romance novel at all without rolling my eyes. While all of us looking for significant other can wish that our prospective partners would do and say the things in these books – but they just don’t.
Now, I still have three romance writers that are go-tos for me (I think it is apparent on my blog who two of them are), and I continue to read their books. I have not given up completely.
I further drifted away from romances – and I should probably say specifically the indie romance world – after getting “in trouble” in an author’s Facebook fan group. Many indie authors have groups on Facebook that fans are encouraged to join so you can discuss the books, interact with the author, be part if giveaways that are not offered anywhere else. I had received an ARC (advanced review copy) of the author’s book and made a comment about it. Not thirty minutes later a post was made about “this is a reminder that if you get an ARC of the author’s work, you are not to discuss it here as it causes hard feelings for those who do not receive an ARC.”
Now, I had already left many author groups for petty flare-ups in them. I would think most of the people in these groups are adults; however, in a nutshell, people just cannot act right. There would be bullying. Tattling (see above example). Those who felt that the author was their friend and only their friend (eye roll). I am in my 40s. I’m not in high school.
Thanks to this incident, I left all reader groups those I am still in two but I do not really interact with them at all. I should probably leave them as well.
Now, there is #cockygate.
The indie world, which was once fun and a way to read romances that publishers would not normally touch, isn’t fun anymore. Indie novels are different from the norm and a step away from the “romance formula.” But now indie authors are (seriously) taking ideas from others and copying them OR taking themselves way too seriously – like trademarking the word cocky. So no other romance writer can put it in a title.
Not only are some of the readers being childish but now we have authors who are being childish. Apparently, Ms. Hopkins is using the defense that her readers are buying books they think are hers when they are not.
If your readers cannot read and see who wrote the book they are about to purchase, maybe they shouldn’t be reading at all.
Further, getting a refund from Amazon (I cannot speak for other vendors) for a book is really easy if done within seven days. If you purchase it and don’t read it for six months, then it is your own damn fault for not paying attention to who the author was when you bought it.
Is the author protecting her series? Or is she using it to take the earnings from other authors who use the word cocky in the title (see the C&D letter in the article I mention above)?
It appears that she trademarked the word cocky in a specific font that she purchased from Creative Market. Creative Market terms state (paraphrasing) you cannot trademark the item or end product incorporating the item, not even logos. It also appears that she is sending C&D letters herself, referencing her lawyer. I don’t know that a lawyer would allow this kind of thing – generally, I would think a lawyer would handle sending those letters himself. Which leads me to believe that either – 1) she is saving money by sending the letters herself with his permission; OR 2) she is sending the letters using his name without permission to save money as well as the possibility that he wouldn’t create letters saying exactly what she wanted.
Bottom line: Does she have the money to pay any attorney to file multiple lawsuits against all the people she has sent letters to? She says in her letters that she will get attorney’s fees but bottom line is this: It is up to a judge who is assigned to the case to determine who wins and if that person should receive attorney’s fees. There is no guarantee if she wins that she would get attorney’s fees. In order to get a lawsuit(s) started, an attorney would require an attorney which she would have to come up with. This is just another thought I had…I’m not lawyer and I’m not sure of the specifics in the state she lives in. But at any rate, something for these authors to consider.
All of this childishness is why I just can’t with romance novels anymore. I don’t know if I will ever read them again like I did. But it is behavior like this that makes it seem that I’m not missing out on much.