Thursday, May 31, 2018

In the wake of cockygate

The unintended consequence

     By now we have all heard about #Cockygate. Even those outside the romance world are chiming in. Faleena Hopkins attempted to trade mark her series name “Cocky” and miraculously succeeded.
     The ramifications for allowing the trademark of a single common use word are unending. It has been an all-out war of pro-bono lawyers, collectives, memes and hashtags. It’s important and everybody needs to pay attention. I admit it’s easy to get lost in reading the fallout of outraged authors, readers, and lawyers. Who needs soap operas?
     Here is where it is taking on a life outside the courtroom. Ms. Hopkins is a self-published author. She is not the face, personality, or professional example of what the Indie community represents, but she is self-published.
     For brand-new authors like me… well, we are entering the arena with a black eye and bruised ribs. For many, entering the arena in the current climate is too daunting.
     The best way to separate yourself is talent. That’s a fabulous notion but I can tell you it’s bullshit. Nobody will ever read your books, nobody will know your name, and nobody will see your talent unless you put yourself out there.
     The way that social media platforms work is by increasing the visibility of the most interacted posts or concepts. In short if everybody else likes this, so will you, therefore we will increase this relevant to you, visibility. Before you know it, that thing you’ve seen everybody is posting is trending worldwide.
     When a conflict like #cockygate gets a lot of attention it floods our feeds, and when it is negatively associated with an Indie Author, so does the impression it leaves. I appreciate the collectives formed to separate this negative situation from the community as a whole. I appreciate the posts encouraging would be Indies to not be swayed by this negativity. I also appreciate how come together those that remain standing have been. Sadly, that necessary support, necessary education, and necessary call to action had an unintended consequence.
     It is impossible for a new author on a low budget to get traction in this climate.
     In my immediate world it started with my BFF Robin Leaf. She released an amazing book. A romance novel unlike any other I’ve read and I’ve read thousands! A roller-coaster plot with so many twists you aren’t sure who to root for and just when you think you know… you’re wrong. It has the happily ever after you thought was off the table and is satisfying on so many levels.
     Sounds amazing, right? With a review like that you want to “one-click” it right freaking now! Sadly, Robin had the misfortune of releasing the day #cockygate broke the internet. All of her release news was buried at the bottom of your feed. It’s hard to get traction on a good day.
     Enter CockTales. This is an important book. I highly recommend buying it, because it will fund the initiative to protect the English language from being trademarked. You better believe I backed my book release up a week to not be overshadowed by this (as it should be) powerhouse. If you released the same day, I’m so sorry.
     Today, I’m feeling the burn. I released book number four. It’s a huge deal for me, because it concludes my first series. I’m so stoked. I love this book! It’s the story of two players who meet in therapy. They are quirky, sexy, crazy, and oh yes, she’s pregnant. You don’t want to love either character, but slowly you can’t help it. My ARC readers were blown away by how funny it was and I truly enjoyed writing it.

     In other more prevalent news, #cockygate has gone judicial and a court hearing is scheduled tomorrow.

     Better luck next series?

Keep fighting the good fight.
I’ll have my time when this is fixed.
Rebel Nicks O’Dey

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