Today I’ll be talking about #cockygate and what can be done in protest. I was hoping to have a book out—the next Demon Bonded is nearly done—but it just didn’t happen. My face hurts. =_= That burning mouth syndrome bullshit connected to dopamine levels is back and it’s extremely hard to focus, blah. But that doesn’t mean I can’t fucking rant about shit!
Before I jump in, just a heads up that there are new wallpapers on the website. Trying some mobile wallpapers too. Also, prettied up the front of the site and I’m looking at making some animated images. I don’t know what they’re called… they’re like these little short movies of moving images and text for books. We’ll see if I can conquer this damn software. I’ve had it forever (adobe after effects) but it’s like relearning photoshop. Fun, but probably time consuming. @[email protected]
Also, if you’re at Boston Fantasy Fest right now, I’m fucking jealous!!! I live like an hour and a half away, but yeah, not driving like this. Have fun, you lucky bitches. <3
Okay, so most of you have probably heard about cockygate in passing. I want to give you some steps that can be taken to not only fight back against what’s happening, but also create a market that will punish anyone else who tries this bullshit in the future. That’s the key to a proper protest. It’s not about making your voice heard while people continue to trample on you; it’s about making shit expensive and annoying and counter productive for the person infringing on your rights. Leverage is key.
But first, a summary of events, aka, wtf am I talking about.
Cocky. A word no longer for everyone.
So, for the non authors out there, there is a process when it comes to writing a book and publishing it on Amazon. Part of it is coming up with the title, handing that title over to a cover artist, and asking them to put it on your new book. This, depending on your author, can be arduous as fuck. Titles are damn hard, and neurotic minds abound in those who write for a living (or worse, edit!) But it’s cool because once you have that title and pay for a cover (which can be up to thousands if you get a professional artists,) everything is fine.
Sure, it might be the same title as someone else’s book, but that doesn’t matter. The author’s name is different as is the damn story inside. The cover might look similar to another cover out there, but that doesn’t matter because there aren’t a shit ton of cover artists out there, and they repeat certain styles to fit into the genres. This is basic practice in the self publishing industry. If you think you’re being super amazingly unique on your cover, you’re probably not going to sell a book because readers won’t have a clue what they’re looking at.
So, you smack your shiny new book up on Amazon after throwing down cash to get it ready (unless you’re a do-it-yourselfer like me) and you go off to write a new book. Done. A few months back you never had to worry about someone coming along with a DMCA notice and taking your book and livelihood from you because you used the ‘wrong word’ in your title. That’s no longer the case. No, not because of a new law, but because of one territorial, uncreative author.
Who’s the bitch?
I want to be clear that I’m not going to name the romance author who has done this. Not to protect her, not to ‘be nice,’ but because I don’t want to give her any free publicity. I will not be linking to her for the same exact reason because I don’t want to push her SEO up (which we’ll get into later.) She knows what she’s doing with this bullshit and I’m not feeding it. She’s making about $40,000 a month on a series she claims she needs to protect from sniping competition who use the word ‘cocky.’
And let me just say, you made it girl. You are at the top of the fucking dragon horde right now. You’re looking at nearly 1/2 a million a year on passive income. You don’t need to fight to be there; you made it on merit. So maybe chill and realize you don’t have to take a word away from everyone else to try to get any higher. The word ‘cocky’ didn’t make you that cash. You’re just scorching the playing field for everyone else in your clinging fear that you will drop to the bottom of that cash pile, and you’re looking like a total asshat while you’re doing it.
Seriously, you look like an asshat right now.
Anywho, I will mention the series in question in the hopes readers won’t support the books being used to justify infringing on free speech within the free market—but that’s a choice on your part, not a request or demand. I’ll be blunt; I don’t care if you read her books or not. We’re all grown ups here, and I get it, you shouldn’t have to feel like shit for liking what you like. It’s not the books’ fault an author is human and flawed (like all humans.)
It’s the Cocky series, and yeah, I know, hardly a unique, inspiring series title that stands out on its own. Just how the fuck would you even know if you’re looking at one of the books in this poorly named series? Well, for starters it has a ® right next to the word cocky. This is the only distinguishing way to know based on title alone if a book is in this series.
You know who has trademarks on their intellectual property and don’t feel the need to smack an ® on their books? Harry Potter. Star Wars. Star Trek. You know who didn’t feel the need to steal a common word from public use and call it their series’ title and prevent other authors from using it? Every other fucking author out there.
This woman fucked up. She wrote a bad series title—I mean, seriously bad. One word series, unless you crafted that word out of other words such as hey, Hellcat (and there are many out there with this name,) are not good names for a series. Maybe she didn’t know it would get big and make her money, I dunno, but this is when you suck it up and rename your series like a professional artist. You fucking change instead of trying to make all the other books with the word cocky disappear.
The cocky series title is not unique, it’s not inspiring, and it doesn’t stand out as memorable. Well, except for the bullshit of it being used to suppress creativity all around the web with this cockygate fiasco. Maybe not the thing you want your series to be associated with. Just saying.
A free market ideally is an equal playing field made for all, not one.
You might notice parallels to this if you’ve heard my rants about censorship on Amazon. How erotic and romance books are banned and disappear with no reason. A silencing shame-based culture is still being perpetuated in this modern world around sex, as free thought is attacked and hidden away because some repressed assholes have the power to legally discriminate because they’re at the top of the food chain. In this case, cockygate is about owning words. It’s about one author saying I own this word and no one else can use it, and the trademark laws backing her up. The results—books being removed and disappearing—are the same even if the intention is different. This is censorship of our books to suit the needs of one stubborn person.
This suppresses creativity, it suppresses free thought, and all and all, it creates a hostile market. When someone ‘owns’ a word and aggressively goes after all other individuals to have them remove that word from their title with the threat of a lawsuit and their books removed, the marketplace changes. It becomes defensive or aggressive in response. Authors start looking for ways to protect themselves, like trademarking all their titles (because we really want to add on another fucking fee to publish a book. Motherfuck!) or they start trademarking words to mimic this shitty behavior so they can prey on the hard work of others.
It pits us against each other and tears down the community of authors we could be. Because—a reminder to those who think they ‘own’ readers—readers love all kinds of books and no, they are not required to just read yours. They are more than happy to read a ton of great authors than just one, and trying to crush other authors out of the game doesn’t benefit those readers at all. When authors are too scared to write for fear of their books being taken down and a lawsuit coming at them, readers suffer.
This author took a word away. She went through the dictionary and chose a word and said no other romance author is allowed to use that word in a title. She stole a word from everyday speech and said we can’t use it just so she could sell her books. Not only that, she got the law involved to force compliance to her irrational demands. This author sent out legal DMCA notices to take down books with the word cocky in the title, including books copyrighted before her trademark. (Or so the Internet has told me. Let’s be clear, the Internet makes up a lot of shit, so check your sources before you start burning your pitchforks.) This behavior is aggressive, exploitative, and totally dickish.
You don’t get to own language. Take it from a writer of many words and a damn horde of the same in the romance genre, or just everyone you know who has a name the same as you do; you don’t get to own a fucking word! You gotta share that shit. This isn’t something she came up with all by herself. Some time in our past some person came up with the word cocky, and then other people started using that word, and all of a sudden, hey, it’s part of our language—because if other people aren’t using that word, it’s not language; it’s just nonsense mouth sounds. Words only exist because of a collective acceptance that the concept behind that word is real—aka, we have multiple languages made up of many mouth sounds. You need multiple people for that. One mind isn’t enough. So fuck the one mind who says they can own our words.
This is basic branding 101. Don’t suck at it this much and then defend like a fucktard. Create an actual series title like ‘My Little Pony,’ or an actual unique word like ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,’ or just any fucking thing but one everyday word. This is easy shit, but she got lazy, and then she got territorial. Cocky belongs to everyone, as does language, and we don’t have to give it away because of a bully.
But the law says…
Now you may say, but Sadie, you do get to own the words. The law says so. If the law says so, then we have to listen and obey because laws are good.
Fuck the law. Yeah, you heard me. With a 12-inch dildo studded in rhinestones (I rewatched Deadpool last night in anticipation of seeing the sequel, so you know that dildo is attached to a unicorn. XD And hey, Deadpool–there’s fucking branding.) Let me tell you about some upstanding, society building laws that America has had to deal with over the years—some we’re still holding onto like fucktards.
Jim Crow laws were not moralistic inspired poems of equality and social justice, they were racist, oppressive bullshit used to suppress an entire race of individuals, but, you know, not before the fucking slavery laws where people were stolen from their homes and bred like cattle for manual labor, or the laws that supported the genocide of the Native Americans who lived here first, and then forced them onto small pockets of shitty land like it fixed anything. Laws are not made (in majority) for the people, but for the people with money. Rich people aren’t being forced out of their homes and onto the streets because of our laws (no matter the atrocious crimes and treason the White House is seeing since Trump moved in.) Do you think Puerto Rico would still be waiting for the right to vote if they were brimming with diamonds? Fuck no.
As the middle class is swallowed into the higher levels of poverty and renamed the working poor, more and more people are going to see just what it’s like to be fucked over by the legal system because the laws are not there for them. When a prisoner’s or ex-prisoner’s right to vote is stripped from them, and people end up in prison still because of bigotry, a system of poverty that leads to crime, and the simple fact they can’t afford the huge money it takes to get a lawyer who can actually help them, you’re not looking at justice. You’re looking at the ruling class suppressing the population so they can stand on their backs.
Society fucks things up all the damn time. There is no higher power managing all these fuck ups; people just fuck up. Businesses have laws made to suppress people, not raise them up. Big Pharma can hand out highly addictive opiates like candy, while marijuana can still land a person in jail. The Supreme Court just ruled to allow the contractual prevention of class action lawsuits, because, hey, corporations are more people than real people, and how dare real people band together to get enough money to fight back against a corporation. Laws, just like the fucked up humans who write them, are full of flaws, some more outrageous than others.
A law doesn’t automatically mean something is right or good or even remotely justified. It merely means you face consequences where the ruling class will punish you for your actions while ignoring ideas of equality, morality, and social justice because those concepts don’t line their pockets. In some states you can still rape your wife and the law supports it. We’re currently facing a disgusting, soul crushing epidemic where human beings are being rounded up and detained against their will in privately built prisons without legal process or humane conditions because their country of origin is different from the country they’re found in. Oh, and hey, if you’re born here or a DACA dreamer recipient but you’re still too ‘ethnic’ to pass for bleached white bread, the law doesn’t protect you from the racist, sick fucks who think being born outside of America means you’re not a human being.
Laws are not agreements of society, but agreements among the top of society, and no one else is included in those decisions. Unless you’re rich and part of the majority race/religion/creed of wherever the hell you live, you’re not going to have laws support you. And if you’re a woman, you’ll still get thrown under the bus while men remain free—Martha Stewart made some nice jail crafts, I’m sure. For those who bitch about affirmative action making life hard; every fucking law out there in America is basically affirmative action for rich, straight, white males. Don’t talk to me about laws being ‘good.’ Wake the fuck up and grow a fucking brain.
Whoo. Rant mode disengaging. XD
Laws are only as powerful as the people who obey them. It is your choice to agree to an injustice or not. That’s what a protest is, to say no, this law, this injustice, this repeated bullshit again and again where everyone else looks the other way isn’t going to fly this time. Fuck you and the unicorn you rode in on.
So, how do you protest this bullshit effectively? Surprisingly enough, with keywords.
How To Get Cocky—An Action Plan
As of now it is trademark infringement to have a romance ebook with the word ‘cocky’ in the title—which is just painfully retarded. I’ve actually been avoiding this entire thing because, my fuck, what the hell is wrong with some people? Why, once again, must some authors crush others in their pursuit of the same damn thing; to have their book read? Why be that douchebag? What a fucking stupid, stupid thing I have to focus on.
Yeah, I said it. This is so fucking stupid that we have to fight for the right to use the word ‘cocky.’ But if we don’t, then we’ll be fighting for the right to use the word ‘paranormal’ or ‘vampire’ or ‘werewolf’ or ‘lover’ or ‘bride’ or ‘MM,’ or ‘forever’ (this one is already happening,) or whatever big keyword catches the eye of some selfish fuck. This is not idle rebellion/anarchy; this is the prevention of more bullshit down the line. Trademarking is not highly expensive and anyone can do it. Without some push back to this kind of bullshit, it just takes one person to snatch it all up and ‘own’ our words.
So, since I perceive this to originate as a blatant move to eliminate competition when someone searches for the word ‘cocky’ while in the romance category on Amazon, there is a simple solution. If you’re an author and you want to fuck this shit up because you believe no one has a right to own a word, all you have to do is add Cocky to the title, subtitle, or series title of your romance book. Hey, add it to all three. That’s it.
If you want to make an impact and not even shout it out, just add cocky to one of your keywords—or all seven of them (not sure if that helps or not.) You can go through every romance book you have and change one of your keywords on each to ‘cocky.’ If you have advertising on any of your romance books, just add cocky as one of the keywords to relate to your title.
Make that search engine work overtime counting a million cocky titles and let that trademark series get lost in the tide (or at least have to swim like everyone else.) Competition is good for the soul, and hey, it’s funny as fuck to think this is all it takes to ruin a mean spirited plan to steal a word from everyone else. (I mean, for real, what a grinch.)
Authors, use your keywords to fight back!
This is pretty simple if you understand a little about SEO (search engine optimization.) Amazon, at the end of the day, works because it’s a search engine combined with algorithms that reward popularity, newness, KU enrollment, and sales. If you want to overshadow a cocky series of books, then you need to get enough people pushing the keyword ‘cocky’ on Amazon to draw eyes that way instead. I’m literally calling for beating this with the tools used that are available to every author out there. Use keywords to fight back.
This is the same with the Internet. Don’t mention this woman’s name. Don’t attach her name to the word cocky on webpages, but instead attach other authors’ names. If the Internet perceives that this woman ‘owns’ this word because of a high association, then we could be contributing to the justification for her later on to legally keep this word. So separate cocky from this author every time you bring it up.
This is strategy. I know some people want to bash the fuck out of this person, but on a long term level, when you add her name combined with cocky, you’re giving her more power, and every other person a reason to trademark words to get the same results.
People like drama, they like a fucking scandal. Ask yourself how many people will be looking up this author just because they read this newsletter? What better way for some ambitious, scrupulous free author to make a buck, than by trademarking the word ‘Potter’ and making a big fuss with JK Rowling in the news? It’s important not to feed these cocky asshats because they’ll just grow stronger.
Only one person in this situation should be changing the title of their book, and it’s this author who can’t sell hers without needing to trademark the word cocky. If you’re that desperate, change your fucking title. You’ve already failed in naming that series and the world won’t bend for you.
What can readers do to help in this cocky fiasco?
A lot. Seriously, you guys are the force behind this because it’s all about numbers. Here are simple things you can do.
- Buy a non trademarked cocky book to push it higher on the popularity scale. Many of them are priced $0.99 to help this very thing.
- Share cocky books and the word of this annoyingly stupid injustice—so stupid! Sharing cocky books will boost the SEO and make those books look more legit and therefore valuable to search engines like google. The more people are sharing links that go to non trademarked cocky books, the more those books will be pushed to the top of search results when someone searches for ‘cocky’ on the web.
- Post your favorite cocky book in the comments below (trademarked books not welcome and will be deleted.) Create a space where others can quickly find cocky books so they can share them easily.
- Write a cocky book—or fanfic, or blog post, make a video, what have you—and share it. Share it in the comments too; I want to know who’s cocky! The more people get SEO points away from this author’s books, the harder it is for her to own what isn’t hers to begin with. That’s the beauty of the Internet. Make those search engines work for free speech. #cockyfreespeech
To be clear, this is not a malicious intent to bring someone down and destroy her life. If she’s the amazing, popular author that her stats say she is, then she shouldn’t even have to worry about something like the word cocky being the reason she got her books sold. This is a fun, easy way to protest the infringement of free speech while raising your middle finger high and proud to a person so focused on only one thing, she would steal a word from use from all other authors and set a precedent for others to follow.
Let her chase around some cocky prankster authors who don’t give a flying fuck how many words she trademarks. Make her have to pay her lawyers to deal with all the people she’s crossing by pulling this bullshit. Yeah, make this shit annoying, expensive, and counter productive to getting books sold so that everyone who sees will think twice before following in her footsteps of trademarking our words. Keywords are 100% legal and everyone can use them.
I gotta say, there is a lot of shit that pisses me off currently happening in the world I can’t do anything about. I mean every damn day it’s something new, something atrocious and shitty and rage inducing. And the old stuff hasn’t stopped at all; it’s just under the pile of outrage and bullshit that keeps building up. I spend a lot of time finding my ‘happy place’ just so I can write and live my life and not turn into a raving crazy person—it would be so easy to be a crazy person these days. =_= At least for this one fucked up thing I can show solidarity to all the romance authors out there getting hit with take down notices by slapping a big cocky on my next Demon Bonded book and sharing a blog post about it. #cockyfun <3
Even if you can’t write a book, share those non trademarked cocky books all around so they get more play than the bully who thinks she alone has a #righttobecocky. Post your favorite cocky books in the comments and all around the Internet so other people can find more cocky books that support free speech instead of the ones who try to limit. This is a MM newsletter, so I’ll only be sharing gay cocky books in the main text, but all cocky books are welcome here unless they’re a #cockyblockoffreespeech —Oh, everyone will regret my discovery of the hashtag by the time I’m done. XD
I urge anyone interested to post their favorite cocky books in the comment section be it gay, straight, 4th wall breaking, whatever, as they come out and are published. I want to see this page filled with cocks… *cough* Let me rephrase that; filled with your favorite cocky books. And yes, this can include #cockybeforeitwascool and #cockybeforeitwasillegal Because even books made before this trademark are being hit with take down notices.
Some more information for those still wondering what the hell I’m talking about:
Cocky MM Books
Wendy just came out with a cocky book (and I have to say, I adore this sexy premise!) and Cole McCade has one out this month and the reviews are spectacular. Some have done variations of the word cocky to get the point across while also avoiding lawsuits—because yeah, every non trademarked book has to fear a lawsuit right now or have their book removed because of the companies who comply with injustice. Fucking bullshit.
#getyourcockyon peeps and lets #cockyprotest
Noncocky books, but full of cock, cuz hey, it’s a MM newsletter. XD