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Messages - Becca Mills

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That is heroic, Becca. Do you actually have a life outside this place, or do you live in the Kboards stationery cupboard?

Betsy and Ann absolutely DO NOT have me wedged in a smoky crevasse. ;)

Okay, I'll do a little paring of the closed thread and reopen it, but let's do keep things factual and resist piling on Rutkowska. A few posts struck me as having a nasty edge at the end there. Staying informed is good, but KB isn't the place to host a sustained effort to get a particular book taken down.

A thread focused on the larger issue of what and how much incentivizing material a blurb should/is permitted to contain would of course be fine.

:) :) :)

Hey, it let me ignore my WIP for like an hour. #procrastination #level6unlocked

This thread has been active for going on three months, and I daresay its hugeness has made it difficult to mine for information. So I've made a sort of table of contents of posts that struck me (subjectively, of course) as the kinds of things people might specifically want to find. I'll place a link to this post in the OP so people will be able to find it easily, even as it gets buried. If the thread continues to cover new terrain, I'll add more entries below. If you think I've missed something essential, or if you find an error, please feel free to drop me a PM. That said, I've tried to keep this short. There's a lot of super-interesting stuff in this thread I disciplined myself not to mention below, as I don't want a tool intended to assist manageability to itself become unmanageable.

Information on filing a letter of protest against a TM application:
Where and how to file:,263084.msg3661924.html#msg3661924
Suggestions on what to include:,263084.msg3668065.html#msg3668065,,263084.msg3668148.html#msg3668148

Attempts to grasp trademark law and procedures:,263084.msg3673372.html#msg3673372,263084.msg3673376.html#msg3673376,263084.msg3677591.html#msg3677591,263084.msg3682162.html#msg3682162,263084.msg3682640.html#msg3682640,263084.msg3685279.html#msg3685279

Where in the thread discussion of various other TMing efforts begins (listed alphabetically):
"dragon slayer," "destroyer," and others:,263084.msg3677420.html#msg3677420
Michael-Scott Earle cover trade dress:,263084.msg3691733.html#msg3691733
"quantum series":,263084.msg3668850.html#msg3668850


Legal actions:,263084.msg3668850.html#msg3668850,263084.msg3669209.html#msg3669209,263084.msg3671325.html#msg3671325,263084.msg3684566.html#msg3684566,263084.msg3685145.html#msg3685145

RWA involvement:,263084.msg3661677.html#msg3661677,263084.msg3661340.html#msg3661340,263084.msg3671087.html#msg3671087

SFWA involvement:,263084.msg3692327.html#msg3692327

As to protesting it? A web search should bring up the place where protests can be sent. Best to do it now, while it only costs time.

Directions and advice from Kevin Kneupper appear in this thread as well. I'll track it down.

Edit: forgot to add the link
Edit again: specifically, see here

Guess I know what the $20 I asked be refunded but haven't received when she shut down IASN went for.

Please locate reports of late/missing IASN refunds on Phoenix's thread about the closing:,264334.0.html. Such reports should not include allegations embezzlement.

There's a thread on this book that got locked yesterday. I think a lot of people complained about it because they were violating TOS right on the Amazon site by saying you needed to send them a reciept to get the bonuses.

Thanks for mentioning the locked thread, Hope. I see that the book in question is available for preorder again, and the offer of $5,000 in bonuses for those who enter their receipt on a website after purchase is still present in the blurb. Apparently, that blurb material has passed muster with Amazon -- they had the book down for a while on Wednesday, so we know they looked at it.

As I said above, let's keep this thread focused on "Goodreads Cracked."

Writers' Cafe / Re: Gender neutral singular “they”
« on: Today at 10:52:45 AM »
I conclude that the writer is either illiterate or lazy.

I would think threads like this one, where people are going to the trouble of discussing the issue (suggests non-laziness) and seem capable of extracting meaning from one another's posts (suggests literacy), provide counter-evidence.

I believe "Downloadable series of fiction books" is pretty specific. You can find it under Goods and Services on the application.

IME, CONAN The Destroyer would not violate the proposed TM. Chris Fox's Destroyer book would not violate the TM. No single title books would violate the TM.

Are we really sure about this, not regarding "destroyer," specifically, but as a general principle? Couldn't a TM holder argue that using their series title in your individual book title represents an attempt to make your book seem like it's part of their series?

For instance, I'm pretty sure I couldn't get away with publishing a standalone, non-series book titled Chicken Soup for the Urban Fantasy Lover's Soul, or whatever. Even though I'm not using "chicken soup for the ___'s soul" as a series title, my book's title would be a pretty clear attempt to piggyback on the trademarked series title. I suspect they could take me to court and win on that.

There's got to be a line in there somewhere, maybe having to do with the strength of the mark? Or how much of it you're using? Dunno. I think I'd want advice from a lawyer before using a trademarked term, even in a non-series title.

Edit: inserted a word for clarity

Well, there are already legitimate definitions for these things. Of course, we can depend on Amazon to come up with something needless convoluted and make it pointless.  :P

A boxed set has traditionally been multiple full length works "boxed" together (traditionally, an actual box). Current boxed sets are generally uncurated collections of full length, unrelated books by different authors. (often, the only curation is a willingness to pay to be part of the set).

A short story collection is a collection of short stories by a single author.

An anthology is collection of short stories compiled and curated by an editor (usually multiple authors, but occasionally single-author. But the key point is that it is curated by someone other than the author)

An omnibus is a collection of previously published full length works, usually by a single author. Rarely, multiple authors but in such cases it is a curated collection by an editor and the books are related in some way. For example, an omnibus of books all set in the same fantasy world, but written by different authors.

You and I know the difference because we're humans.  ::)

But seriously, if they do take this step, I hope they'll try to stay a step ahead of those who want to abuse the system. If I can think of one loophole, those with a strong incentive to abuse will come up with far more.

I can tell you for a fact that this is not true. We know that Amazon removed some titles after trumped up TM claims. I bet those authors saw some financial harm when their books disappeared.

I know of quite a few authors who filed for trademarks as a way to protect themselves. When you see people being granted questionable trademarks and then using them to strong-arm their competitors out of the market, it is only natural to want to protect yourself, especially when your books are your livelihood. Even some of the filings that seem the worst might be coming from someone who is legitimately afraid that someone else is going to come along and TM their books out from under them.

The real problem is that many of the TMs never should have been granted in the first place. If we could trust the trademark office not to grant unwarranted TMs, then we wouldn't see so many authors rushing blindly into the process because they think it is the only way to protect themselves.

Have there been a bunch of totally ridiculous filings lately? Sure. But to claim every author who has ever filed a trademark application is doing it unjustly is incorrect and unnecessary.

I'm sure some people are motivated by genuine feelings of concern, Steve, but giving in to those feelings perpetuates and worsens the problem, potentially exponentially, IMO. This trademarking movement has the potential to sweep across indiedom like a virus.

Also, considering it through the lens of self interest ... every trademark an author owns is going to be a money pit, due to the need to spend decades defending the thing with pricey C&D letters or even lawsuits. You have to defend it consistently if you want it to still be valid when you feel you really need it, right? Well, if one has that kind of money to spend, I personally I think it'd be better to bank it to cover the possible cost of defending one's books from suits brought by overly aggressive trademarkers, rather than taking on the certain and unending cost of suing people to defend one's own questionable trademarks.

Trademarking conservatively, rather than aggressively, seems better both for the community and for the author themself. That's my thinking, anyway.

So, fake news? Was anyone else in the RWA audience who can comment/confirm/refute?

MARK: Can you change the subject line for this thread, please? (ETA: Maybe add a note to the OP as well. This rumor has been spreading like wildfire.)

3rotic: The metadata requirements are in the policy links Mark posted above.

I'll change the thread title now. Mark, if you get confirmation of your initial info, you can change it back using the "modify" button on the thread's initial post.

Darn. Based on initial responses from a range of people, this did seem to be a good solution.

Welcome to KBoards, vcerises, and congratulations on your book. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Gender neutral singular “they”
« on: Yesterday at 11:55:27 PM »
Well, no, it's already just like 'you,' since 'you' uses the same verbs whether singular or plural. I am a big fan of 'themself,' though. Singular verbs with 'they,' on the other hand, trip my brain a bit, but I'm not against them.

Oh good heavens. Yeah, I guess "you" isn't a good analog. ::)

I've deleted a post here. Book Cat, insults to the authors under discussion are not permitted. Nor is further discussion of material a moderator has seen fit to remove.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Gender neutral singular “they”
« on: Yesterday at 09:01:10 PM »
A good way to avoid confusion might be to use singular verbs with "they" when it's intended as a singular pronoun: "they is" instead of "they are." If we did that, "they" would become just like "you," which  is both singular and plural. Hasn't happened so far, but the coinage "themself" seems like a good sign.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Writers' Cafe / Re: Box sets no longer eligible for KU bonuses
« on: Yesterday at 05:11:23 PM »
Thinking about it ... I'm guessing all authors who feel they have a reasonable shot at All-Star status will take their boxed sets out of KU (but keep them exclusive to Amazon, for those who want to purchase), so as to concentrate reads in the single volumes, where they'll count. Since it's likely to be a sudden and universal migration, hopefully none of these really bigtime authors will be disadvantaged vis-a-vis their peers, and readers will quickly get used to having to borrow single books separately.

No insults aimed at the would-be trademarker, folks. I've deleted several already. Those who persist on that front will be banned from the thread.

Sorry, Becca. This turn from the original topic is entirely my doing. Although I'm not all that experienced posting here, even I should have easily seen that my TM post wasn't a good idea. I'll now return to my usual place of lurking where I can do no damage.   ;) :P

No need for apologies, andrea! As you can see, I was posting on it here as well. It was a natural choice, I think. Only when I noticed the Cockygate thread becoming active with the same focus did it occur to me that it might be better to group it all together there.

And as it turns out, the thread-splitting feature of the forum software is actually broken. Now we know and can get it fixed ... happy outcome. :)

*Catches yellow snowball before it nails me in the face* 😜

Thank you for working to keep the thread open. 👍


<passes over the hand-sanitizer>

Writers' Cafe / Re: Live from RWA
« on: Yesterday at 02:01:40 PM »
Wow. Did he say when that's going to take effect?

I hope the new rule is paired with a clear and enforceable definition of what equals a boxed set (versus, say, a legit short story collection, book of poetry, or a frame-narrative work like A Thousand and One Nights).

There's currently parallel and duplicating discussion of this TM effort here and in the Cockygate megathread. I'm going to try to transfer the TM-focused posts from this thread over to that one, as keeping track of both threads in a timely way is proving difficult ... and why invent the wheel in two places? Not sure I'll be able to, but I'll give it a try.

ETA: I'm getting a database error. Going to lock this thread for a few minutes and try again. If that doesn't work ... oh well. Guess I need a bigger snowball.

EagainTA: Annnnnd, nope. So I'll just *suggest* we move discussion of the trademark issue over to the Cockygate thread, which is where all the info on trademark law, filing letters of protest, etc., has been collected.

John Van Stry, as I said in the other thread where this is being discussed, we can't have the quotation from the TMing author (which I've just deleted from this thread) if it came from a private communication from him to you. He needs to have posted it publicly somewhere. If we can't all see that he really did say what's being attributed to him, it's not allowable under our hearsay rule. The author is welcome to come here and share his reasoning with us himself. We will all be civil. Ahem <waves yellow snowball around>.

Okay, just looked it up. 'Specimens' are a part of the filing.

Right, yes. But it's hard for me to tell from the specimens exactly what the mark is supposed to encompass. I mean, the features they have in common show up in so many covers. Yours for instance -- series title above book title, both centered near the top; author name, centered near the bottom; central figure(s) with weapon(s). If the author is granted this mark, it seems to me he would have to defend it against covers like your Loose Ends, which shares the same characteristics. If he doesn't defend the mark against all transgressors, it won't be there for him when he decides he does want to defend it. That's my understanding, anyway.

John Van Stry, regarding the post of yours I just deleted: where was that material quoted from? If it was a private communication from the TMing author to you, we can't have it. He can come and explain his reasoning here himself -- that's absolutely fine, and it would be great to get his input. We will all be civil to him <looks around and hefts yellow snowball menacingly>. But attributing words to him that we can't all see proof he actually said would be hearsay.

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