Justine: Your Intellectual Property Questions Answered

copyrightWhat a week it’s been in the romance writing world! In case you missed it, there is a huge uproar over #cockygate, or the trademark of the word “cocky” in a romance series.

Background: Faleena Hopkins, the author of several books that have the word “Cocky” in the title, recently received an official trademark of the word “cocky” in a romance series in both regular and stylized (meaning in a specific font) form from the US Trademark and Patent Office. You can view her filings here and here.

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Ms. Hopkins’ stylized trademark of the word “cocky.”

Ms. Hopkins has threatened other writers whose book titles also contain the word “cocky” with a lawsuit if they don’t change their titles. She’s also reported some authors to Amazon, telling the Zon that the authors were in violation of her copyright. Amazon took down the offending books at once. Romance Writers of America has hired an IP attorney and has asked Amazon to reinstate the take downs pending a legal challenge (Amazon agreed), and former IP attorney-turned-writer Kevin Kneupper has come out of retirement to Continue reading

Justine: Looks Can Kill

book covers, eight ladies writing, justine covington, sarah maclean

A well-designed cover for “One Good Earl Deserves a Lover” by Sarah MacLean.

In this era of self-publishing, where anyone can sell their book on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, etc., it’s important to differentiate yourself from the masses. To separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. A key way to do that, aside from writing a freaking fantastic book and paying for professional book editing, is to have your cover professionally designed by someone who knows what they’re doing. That last part is key and bears repeating in big, bold letters:

by someone who knows what they’re doing

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Mindy Klasky, Guest Blogger: Rapid Release Publishing or One Writer’s Tale of Madness

Hello all! Today it is my pleasure to introduce my good friend, fellow author, and all-around font of writing and publishing knowledge, Mindy Klasky. Please give Mindy a warm 8LW welcome, and in the comments, feel free to ask questions about romance and fantasy writing, as well as traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing options. Mindy will be stopping back throughout the day to answer. – Nancy

Klasky - Perfect Pitch

My, how things change… Way back in the Dark Ages, in 1998, I signed my first publishing contract. PenguinPutnam bought a fantasy novel, its sequel, and a book to be named later. That “book to be named later” was actually the novel I wrote while my agent was shopping around the one that sold – another fantasy, in a totally different world, with totally different characters.

I’ll spare you the long, boring discussion, but my agent, editor, and I invested hours trying to solve the problem of when to bring out that “book to be named later.” Conventional wisdom said no one would buy two books by the same author in a year, so we either needed to save the book till the end of the first series or use a pen name. (Ultimately, we did neither; we brought out a second Mindy Klasky book in a year. It flopped.)

Today, new authors would laugh uproariously at such a decision.

Today, the mantra is publish, publish fast, publish early. Just publish.

That mantra is chanted a thousand times louder and faster when the author in question is self-publishing. Amazon, the largest distributor of self-published fiction, relies on a complicated series of algorithms to promote its books. Continue reading