This is what a conversation looked like on Twitter about a week ago. It was Chaos.
Now, I'm not going to reiterate the problem here. An author trademarked a particular word and then issued other authors Cease & Desist letters ordering them to take down their books from Amazon with that word in their titles. Amazon, in their way, did it without thinking things through. And the Twitterverse, Bloggerville and Facebook went COMPLETELY INSANE.
Did this woman make a complete fool of herself?
YES. YES. YES she did. COMPLETELY. People were posting that they'd gone to make popcorn so they could enjoy the show. The WORDS that other AUTHORS were throwing up on Twitter and various other social media I was scrolling through when the S(*T first hit the fan were...indescribable. Howling, maniacal, let's-get-the-pitchforks-out-ladies-and-nail-her-to-the-wall!!! Burn-her-at-the-proverbial-stake!!! I lost count of the number of people who wanted to set up a GoFundMe page and contribute to a legal fund to fry the B*&$h.
AND LET ME JUST SAY RIGHT HERE --- I'M AWARE THAT SETTING A LEGAL PRECEDENT ON TRADEMARKING A WORD WOULD BE HIGHLY DANGEROUS TO ALL OF US AUTHORS --- I'M NOT AN IDIOT. BUT I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT LEGALITIES.
I'm talking about WORDS and how we wield them. We're supposed to be the ones who know the POWER of the written word. And here were authors piling on top of one single person - a foolish person - like a mob in the streets.
Now, I realize I'm a newbie author whose first book isn't even released yet. I scanned everything I could find trying to figure out what the deal was, how it affected everyone and what it means for authors etc. I figured, what do I know about trademark law? I'm Canadian, I don't know copyright/trademark law to begin with...although I do have an American nephew who's a trademark/patent lawyer I was prepared to phone up if things had gotten dire.
However, aren't we supposed to be, ahem -- professionals? Isn't this a business? If this were a male forum/business would it be likely we'd see men on Twitter etc. acting this way about a single guy trademarking something/behaving badly...do you think? Because I just don't see it happening.
Frankly, I don't care what genre we write in and I'm not throwing stones because I seriously am calling us out here on gender and the use of WORDS - what was wrong with all of us a week or two ago?
I'm ashamed of us, as women, as professionals, and as authors. We know we wield tremendous power with our writing. We can bring people UP and we can cast them DOWN. We're trained communicators! And yet, we communicated something quite horrible and were no better than the woman we were attacking.
I'm saying "we" because I'm no better - I didn't get on Twitter to defend her. But I'm defending her now. We're ALL Romance Authors. We ALL take enough Crapola about our chosen Genre to last a lifetime. The last thing we need is to be attacking one of our own on TWITTER where the world can see it.
So maybe next time another "Cockygate" happens, we can collectively stop, take a deep breath, and remember: WORDS matter, KINDNESS matters, and what we as romance authors show the world matters.
I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.