Saturday, June 2, 2018

How To #FightLikeARomanceAuthor

I've shared a lot of this information over the past few weeks, ever since #cockygate started, and I decided it would be good to have it all in one place. If you think this will be helpful, feel free to share the link.

Basically, Romancelandia has woken up to a lot of the problems that were being hushed up or talked very quietly but not very loudly about, and a lot of people want to know - what can I do to help? Which is wonderful!

So I've put together this list and if anyone thinks I'm missing anything please let me know (you can comment or email me at and I'll add to it.

1. Follow @cockybot on twitter - you'll get daily updates about trademark filings - @cockybot is the fastest and easiest way to stay apprised of new trademark filings and it's pretty clear which ones are legitimate and which ones are way too generic.

2. If you see trademark popping up that you think is too generic, the good news is it's easy to protest once it's been filed!:

Here's the letter of protest:
The form is easy. Check "too generic" and upload screen shots of similar books as evidence.

Kevin Kneupper also provided a "how-to" on twitter for a more in-depth explanation

3. Check out the affected authors - Tara Crescent, Jamila Jasper, Nana Malone - Tara is being sued by FH and Jamila and Nana both had to change covers at the last minute due to FH's threats - as well as the heroes of #cockygate - Bianca Sommerland and Jenny Trout who broke the story after talking with Jamila (I also highly recommend following them on Twitter and Bianca's YouTube channel as they have been ON TOP of updates); Kevin Kneupper who saw the original tweets and immediately jumped in with his invaluable knowledge of IP law to file a petition; Courtney Milan who has been providing legal updates and commentary along the way, paid for the hearing transcript out of her own pocket, and is on the RWA board; and Suzan Tisdale, who lent her powerful voice and platform to #cockygate. 

4. Contribute to the RWA's perseverance fund, which is used to help fund the memberships for authors who wouldt' otherwise be able to afford them (and if you're wondering why membership is important, just look to how they and the Author's Guild are funding Tara's defense in #cockygate)

5. Buy a copy of Cocktales! It's a limited release anthology which will be on sale through August and all proceeds are going to "authors already impacted by creative obstruction" and the RWA's advocacy fund. 

6. But trademarks aren't the only issue! What about book stuffing? Report them to Amazon. You should be able to do that from your Kindle. Also, check out Heather C. Leigh's video on what's happening, why it's bad, and give her some love because the scammers threatened legal action for exposing their scammy tactics.

7. You've heard of something new? #GetLoud <--- and follow that hashtag on twitter. If you're not comfortable getting loud, talk to someone. I don't have the platform of someone like Bianca or Jenny, but my door is always open just to chat or if you want someone to help you get loud. Keeping things in the dark is how people get away with doing shady things, and they WANT everyone to be quiet about it because that way they can continue doing what they're doing. If you're unsure and just want to chat privately, that's ALWAYS okay, sometimes it's hard to get loud, but there is support here for you if and when you're ready to. 

8. Engage your readers - this goes with GetLoud! Don't just be loud with other authors or in author groups. You don't have to name names or anything, but one of the first things I did when I decided to pull the vast majority of my books from KU was explain WHY. They had NO idea some of the things Amazon was doing to innocent authors who had been unwittingly caught up in Amazon's determined but overly wide sweep to get rid of scammers. I'm already out but I'll be bringing up book stuffing to them soon, just so they know. And I see a lot of readers on twitter who have become a huge part of reporting when they see something wrong. The readers are the biggest part of the romance community, so they need to know what's going on.

That's all I have so far - please, if you know of something I'm missing, definitely let me know and I'll add it! I'd like to have all of this in one, easy-to-find place for both myself and others. 

Stay Sassy <3

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