I learn something new every day. It's fun to see authors promote their books and readers suggest great books. Also, there are people like me, who should read more, but also just love to own physical books. And Book Twitter loves a good scandal. In fact it's where I first heard about the Handbook for Mortals scandal I wrote about in a previous post.
That author of Handbook managed to piss off the tight young adult community, but hold up because apparently there's a new Sheriff Nottingham in town. Like Lani Sarem, the evildoer in question, one Faleena Hopkins, is a self-deluded asshat who's playing the victim while attempting to pull yet another book scam. This red-haired lady (Ms. Clairol no. 5) started out pissing off the tight romance community but then managed to miss off the entire writing community
and it makes for even more delicious drama and snark. Well it would have, except this one affects self-published authors' livelihoods and that's just plain low and disgusting.
You see she decided to trademark the word "cocky". How apropos.
Recently, several self-published romance writers were sent a Cease and Desist letter from Ms. Hopkins saying that she had trademarked the word and that they needed to remove it from their titles or she'd sue. Note that she didn't go after those published through publishing companies, or even those with a super large following. She went after authors like herself, who probably didn't make much income from their books and relied on readers/word of mouth to carry them.
Luckily, Book Twitter hopped on it - and they did not take it well.
There's a twitter thread that explains the whole sordid affair here and it's an interesting read.
She not only went after people who used the word in the title, she is now going after keywords. I'm not kidding. This chick thinks she OWNS the word. And it's funny that it's cocky because she's being quite the dick about it.
There's been quite a bit of back and forth on how she could possibly trademark a word and even some lawyers on Twitter who saw the scandal unfold and offered their help. It turns out that series could possibly be trademarked but not the word and that's causing a bit of confusion. The Romance Writer's Association also got involved and asked authors to contact them if they received one of these notices. Needless to say, she's making no friends.
It should also be noted that Book Twitter is made up of an endless amount of Sherlocks who have no trouble digging up minute details when they want to. It turned out that she couldn't probably have copyrighted the logo as the font owner, who was tracked down during his vacation, had terms that did not allow for anything using his font to be trademarked.
Faleena, for the most part, is basking in all the attention - writing about how she's being bullied, sending tweets about eating popcorn (munch munch) and pulling Maya Angelou quotes out of her ass because she loves playing the martyr. She's still not a household name, but like Lani Sarem she doesn't care. I mean this is a woman who blogged that other authors used the same stock photos she used in her books and therefore were copying her. She also states she shot a few of her own book covers and that NO OTHER AUTHOR EVER DID THAT BEFORE.
I'm going to give you a minute to process both those things. Because I don't understand how someone can be that dumb. I'm not bullying - I'm just in shock. Stock photos can be used by anybody who purchased them unless you bought exclusive rights (she didn't). And hell, even a few self-published people I know in real life have shot their own book covers years ago.
If you have time, don't have time, or just want to view the trainwreck in all its glory, please follow the hashtags #cocky, #cockygate, and #ByeFaleena. I guarantee you, you'll fall in love with Book Twitter as I have, all over again.
Also, let me know what word you could trademark if you could in the comment section below. You can't though and don't try because, you know, Book Twitter. Also, you'd be a jerk.