When Romance gets Cocky



Ah, how much does that word mean to you? Does it conjure images of steamy nights, intense chemistry, love and lust? As human beings we all want to love and be loved, to desire and be desired. When that word comes up, it’s all vanilla, peaches, and cream.

I hate to disabuse you and my apologies if you thought this post was going to be about that. It isn’t. I needed that “catchy” title and intro because I wanted to get your attention. For the world of romance is in an uproar. The genre, I mean.

A small-time romance author got greedy, trademarked the word “cocky” and then proceeded to go around threatening other authors that have the word “cocky” in their titles with legal action unless they withdraw their books from the market.

As it happens, the greedy author has a series of romance books that has “cocky” in them. As in “Cocky Cowboy,” “Cocky Roomie,” and four other “Cocky” titles (boy, how severely“cocky” is this post now?).

It’s absurd. When I first heard about it on Twitter, I thought it was a joke. It isn’t. The word “cocky” is common in the romance genre, most often used to describe alpha males. It is upsetting enough that the Romance Writers Association of America stepped in with an Intellectual Properties lawyer to help those that the greedy author has sent notices to (I refuse to name her; she simply does not deserve this much publicity).

The one good thing about this fiasco – now being called Cockygate – is that the writing community has turned out to be an incredibly close-knit one.

I have never been more proud to belong to this writing community. At one point in my writing career (fledgling though it is), I wrote and was published under the adult romance banner but am now attempting to write thrillers.

For the first time, authors from across genres, both indie and traditional, banded together against this threat.

It is a very serious threat. Should Greedy Author be allowed to have her way, the publishing world will fall apart. Who knows who else will follow suit and trademark just about every word there is in the English language? Where would that leave us?

Words are every writer’s currency and to not be able to legally use common words would be disastrous. Writers of every genre will be adversely affected, and with them, their readers.

Courtesy of RWA, the whole copyright/trademark discussion is being studied to see if Greedy Author’s claim can be overturned.

Turns out it can.

If you have time, may I ask that you sign the petition to cancel the trademark filed by Greedy Author at this link. The goal is 25,000 signatures. There are now 23, 997.

Writing is an act of self expression. It is important that our work goes out into the world unadulterated. Cocky romances or not, our readers deserve nothing less.


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