This is going to be a little bit of a rant post but here we go.
I want to start by saying I do not condone bullying in any form. In fact, I’ll be the first person to step in and defend the bullied party and/or break up whatever it is I’m witnessing that I don’t like. I wasn’t always this way. I was a really shy person in my past life but my skin is as thick as an elephant’s now and I will be a person’s person (to steal from Grey’s Anatomy) whether we’ve been friends for a a day or 20 years. It’s just the type of person that I am.
Recently on Twitter there has been a storm amongst authors in the romance world. The hashtag has been #cockygate and it’s talking about one specific author who did something that, well, is a pretty shitty thing to do. Basically the story goes, this author decided to publish a book series with the word Cocky in the title because the last name of the brothers she describes in her books is Cocker. One day, I guess, she woke up and decided that she wasn’t making enough money because her books weren’t top in the search results for other authors’ work with Cocky in the title so it was hindering her ability to make money. Her solution? To file for a trademark on the word “cocky” and the font she used (a font she did not create btw), in order to stop authors from using the word.
Now, you’d think she’d stop right there. I mean that alone is outrageous considering she did not create the word and many have been using said word for many years before she was a blip on the author radar. No, she took it a step further. She proceeded to send emails out to authors who had the word “cocky” in their titles and told them to “cease and desist” using the word from this point forward and to change the title of all their books, past and present or she would sue them. If they did not comply, well, sucks to be them because her lawyer supposedly assured her that she would get all their royalties from any books they sell using her “trademarked” word and she’d create a firestorm on Amazon for them.
Now, going back to what I said in the beginning. I do not condone any form of bullying. I really don’t. But you have to ask yourself, especially in a situation like this, what did you think was going to happen? Did you honestly think all these authors would just bend over backwards spending tons of money to change what has already been made and apologize for using the word that wasn’t trademarked previously? I mean honestly, I wonder if people really think through the consequences of their actions before they do stuff. She’s now complaining that she’s being bullied by the Twitter world because people are leaving one star reviews on her book among other things; basically ruining her reputation.
In a case like this, I honestly cannot sympathize with the woman. She went about this the complete wrong way. Authors strive so hard to support each other. I mean it takes time to create and make the most perfect form of a book, it takes courage and confidence to release it to the world and it takes strength to accept that not everyone is going to 100% love your book and handle negative criticism with grace. If she needed a boost in book promotion, I feel like all she had to do was reach out and ask the community to help her and she probably would have received it in droves. Instead she did some slap in the face underhanded nonsense and then proceeded to threaten the ones in the hardworking community.
At the end of the day, I honestly hope she learned some kind of lesson here because this will most definitely hurt her career. I also hope she’s not getting super harrassed because the message is pretty loud and clear from a lowly reader. It doesn’t need to be pounded into her to death.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter. Have you all ever heard of a situation such as this and thought as much as you want to sympathize with a person, there’s that 95% of you that just can’t? Let me know in the comments below!