“Plagiarism, ‘book-stuffing’, clickfarms… the rotten side of self-publishing.”

Plagiarism, “book-stuffing”, clickfarms… the rotten side of self-publishing.

Scams are rife, particularly when some authors can rake in thousands each month – but high-profile victims of plagiarism warn ‘day of reckoning is coming’.

The Guardian has a fantastic summary of recent scams and all that plagiarism currently going on in the self-publishing world.

I would strongly recommend writers and readers alike give the article linked above a read.

And I would strongly recommend against using Amazon’s dodgy Kindle Unlimited/KDP Select reading/publishing platform (as opposed to Kindle Direct Publishing, which I have no issue with). As a writer, your work is being buried by scammers. As a reader, your money is going to those scammers, and you’re helping to harm genuine authors.

More Trademark Drama

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos Canberra Australia Winter Afternoon Sonya Heaney Oksana 7th July 2017

The #cockygate trademark drama – started by an author obtaining a trademark to the word “cocky” and threatening authors with legal action – has taken an even more serious turn over the past few days. The author in question, Faleena Hopkins, has now filed legal proceedings against some of the authors and others caught up in the drama she created.

We might not be able to do much to help, but we can buy the authors’ books to show some support (the authors being attacked, not Hopkins!).

This is appalling from start to finish. Honestly, what is going through Ms Hopkins’ mind?

Keep up to date on the cockygate hashtag on Twitter.

Now “Forever”?

The trademark wars continue, with another author attempting to steal another word out from under everyone in publishing.

While the trademarking of the word “cocky” did set a dangerous precedent, the trademarking of the word “forever” seems even more worrying, and certainly more restricting. However, that’s exactly what seems to be happening as I type.

Despite what every article under the sun said, cocky is hardly a common word in book titles. Forever, on the other hand…

I’m not sure what has Heidi McLaughlin convinced she owns the word, but surely most people associate forever with a certain hit from Judy Blume in 1975, not any recent romances!

Judy Blume Forever 1975 Young Adult Romance Vintage

Why would you even want to?

Trademark Symbol.

The more I think about this insane trademark saga in the publishing world (actually, now there’s more than one word at stake), the more I think some authors are totally misguided.

Why would you want to steal a word from everyone else? Even if you write twenty books using the word in the title, people aren’t only going to want to read YOUR books.

People want variety. Even when they’re sticking to a particular genre, they still want variety! If I read a great book with a certain theme, I go looking for books by other authors with similar themes.

So, what if someone else has the word “cocky” in their book title? So what if I read another “cocky” book first? What if once I’m finished reading that one I search for the word and discover yours?

It’s a GOOD thing to have many options. Readers (and romance readers more than others) read so many books they go to social media platforms to beg for help finding MORE of the type of book they want!

I don’t just want ONE romantic suspense book about a reunited couple; I want THOUSANDS. I don’t want ONE historical romance about a Victorian self-made man; I want THOUSANDS.

Literally the only reason to trademark simple words and force others’ books to be removed from sale is greed. But it’s counterproductive.


Cocky Rebellion cockygate rebelliongate trademark Nika Dixon

Credit to Nika Dixon

Just in time for the weekend!

Less than a week after the drama of an author trademarking the word “cocky” spiralled out of control, sparking Twitter hashtags like #cockygate, we now have #rebelliongate.

Yep, that’s right. Now there’s an application to trademark the word “rebellion” not just for books, but across all kinds of media and all kinds of products. The people who were mocking the romance genre and women in general this past week are now scared their own genre is under attack.

Trademark Symbol.

Follow Kevin Kneupper for information and updates on both cases. Not just a writer, he is also a lawyer who came out of retirement to fight this pro bono on behalf of everyone.

These trademark stories… there’s so much greed behind them. I keep thinking of the American company that commandeered the Ugg Boot – an Australian icon. Or that Kardashian who tried to steal Kylie Minogue’s name!

More #cockygate

To follow up on yesterday’s post about author Faleena Hopkins trademarking the word “cocky” in order to bring down her competition and force them to remove their books from sale, I’d just like to point out that one thing you can do to help is buy the books of those other authors.

This is not a little Romancelandia drama; it’s something anyone in a creative field should be worried about. If one overreaching author nobody had even heard of until the weekend can inflict this much damage on other people’s careers, imagine how much more harm someone powerful and well-known could do if they decided to go around trademarking common words.

Already, Amazon is taking down authors’ books after threats and complaints from Hopkins, and some can’t even access them to retitle and republish:

Tara Crescent cockygate Faleena Hopkins copyright trademark

However, in the past couple of days, people in the romance community (and others) have managed to propel one of the victims of Hopkins’ staggering selfishness to the bestseller list.

Hilariously, look how she’s retitled her book!

Jamila Jasper The Cockiest Cowboy cockygate Faleena Hopkins Amazon

Jamila Jasper had previously received threats from Hopkins (notice she didn’t even bother to spell the author’s name correctly):

Jamila Jasper The Cockiest Cowboy cockygate Faleena Hopkins Trademark

How can someone be this perfectly awful? It’s not the sort of thing you usually see in this community, and it goes without saying Hopkins has permanently ruined her brand.

Author trademarks common word and threatens other authors with lawsuits over its use.

I tend to stay out of book dramas these days, but something has been unfolding over the last few days that I want to mention.

Self-published author Faleena Hopkins (heard of her before now? Nope, neither have I) has somehow managed to trademark the word “Cocky”, and is going after any other romance author using it in a book title, threatening them with lawsuits unless they rename their books and series and buy new covers. She’s even going after authors whose books were around years before hers.

Note: the word in question was first recorded in the 1540s!

To add to her awfulness, the font she has copyrighted is actually one she stole from someone else.

She is also upset that everyone is “copying” her book covers, both because of similar stock photos used, and because… well I don’t even understand.

Here are a few examples of Ms Hopkins’ oh-so-original cover designs:

Faleena Hopkins Cocky.

Faleena Hopkins Cocky..

I bet no romance reader has *ever* seen covers resembling those before, right?

I’m not going to say more here, but you can read all about it on many sites. I think these explain everything you need to know:

Cocky Writer: Romance Author Faleena Hopkins Trademarks ‘Cocky’ and Tries to Shut Down Others Using the Word

Don’t Do This, Ever: Faleena Hopkins Cocks The Whole Entire Fuck Up

Cockygate: Faleena Hopkins Has Registered a Trademark on Cocky, and is Using it to Threaten Other Romance Authors

Now the big US organisations (e.g. Romance Writers of America) are getting involved from a legal standpoint, and surely common sense is going to prevail. As for Ms Hopkins (and her earlier pen name Sabrina Lacey), she’s earned herself a spot on my “Nope” shelf on Goodreads, and I hope to never hear her name again.