Resources and tips for the self-published author.

Publishing News Roundup Series: Can You Trademark Words for Your Writing?

by Maureen Crisp •  May 15, 2018  •   Follow

Published in Publishing Tips  •  One comment


This week is all about legalities in publishing.

Writers can trademark. But just how far can this trademarking really go? As a romance writer goes to court over trademarking a word this week, we will find out. This begs the question of how much can a writer trademark and when does it begin to mess with the art and freedom of writing?


Legally Spotted

Pic: Flicker Creative Commons- USFWS Mountain Prairie


What a week in the publishing blogosphere. Cockygate and the GDPR have filled my news feeds. They both have some important takeaways to consider.
Cockygate is the term writers and industry pundits have applied to a situation involving a romance writer who has trademarked the word ‘cocky’ in relation to her romances. Yes, a word can be trademarked. Will it stand up in a court… that’s the big question? The can of worms has got bigger because in addition to the trademark the author has been sending cease and desist notices to other authors who have the word cocky in their titles. It all gets very emotional with authors and lawyers and lawyers and authors and RWA and lawyers etc. Jami Gold boils it down to branding– The right way and the wrong way – This is a must read.


G.D.P.R. is the new regulations from Europe, which take effect on the 25thMay and affect anyone who has or operates a mailing list. That includes authors who have newsletters and mailing list sign ups on their websites.  Seth Godin has written about the GDPR and the marketer’s dilemma very neatly and succinctly. This gives you an overview. Nick Stephenson engaged a lawyer to talk him through what changes he had to make on his website. 
Sharp eyed readers will notice a small privacy policy notice on my websites. I’m still working through all the ramifications so this policy may change in future.


Now armed with all your knowledge of GDPR you can read Nicholas Erik’s huge post on everything to do with mailing lists.


Joanna Penn is talking about critical mindsets this week. Do you have the right mindset for your author business. And yes, if you are writing it is a business.


Kris Rusch takes it one step further looking at growing the author business too fast and not having the right people in place to help you when you need it.


And have you ever thought about copywriting… In the Alli blog this week was an interesting post about fiction writers making money on the side with their writing skills.


Natasha Bajema talks about creating 1000 reader superfans from zero. In the article she references David Gaughran’s new book. (I think it’s 5 star)


Anne R Allen features a lot in this week’s blog… mainly because she consistently puts out great stuff. Check out this post on 10 tips for getting your novel off to a good start.

In The Craft Section,

100 scripts to download and study– Go into the story- screenwriting – Bookmark
9 ways to keep your writing safe– Alexa Bigwharfe- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Seven new books for writers– WrittenWord Media
Not sold in stores- ways to excite readers- Bookfunnel- Bookmark
To Finish,
Chris Fox is an Indie Publisher guru and so I was interested in his short video about shortcuts… and how sometimes they are a massive mistake for the writer.  This is an excellent motivation video. Let’s be careful that we are dotting i’s and crossing t’s.




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About Maureen Crisp

Maureen Crisp has been writing her weekly publishing roundups for over seven years. She is a traditionally published children's author as well as indie-published. She lives in New Zealand and is heading the team organising the 4th National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators. She is currently trying her hand at writing a children’s book series if she can drag herself away from forever tweaking her Mars novel or obsessing over space.