Oh, dear here’s Faleena
It’s never should be nice to meet ya
You claim you’re holier than thou
Yet on other authors you like to plough
You dish it out but you don’t want it back
A certain class you seem to lack
You want other people’s hard-earned cash
You gloat you’re entitled to give their career a bash
You make fun of the pain you to others cause
And yet you don’t understand the uproar, you’re at a loss
Let me explain it in a nice way:
You for better marketing need to pay
Short and sweet, that’s what #cockygate, #freecocky and #byefaleena is all about.
The longer version of the infamous #cockygate and #byefaleena: in order to protect her band of cocky bad-boys called “the Cocker Brothers” Faleena Hopkins chose to trademark the word “cocky”. Basically, this means that as of right now no other romance author can use the word “cocky” in their titles. Faleena allegedly felt like this drastic step was needed as people allegedly plagiarised her stories and front covers (yep, imagine that, a romance author using a cover with a half-naked man on it). So, Faleena felt it necessary to fight dirty by trademarking the word and then start sending cease and desist letters to fellow authors. Faleena claimed that if those authors didn’t change the name of their books, she would get all their monies.
Now let’s be honest, to most people a letter like that is very threatening. Hell, on my non-existing wage I’d cave instantly, throw my hands up and do as instructed. That’s how intimidating it would be for me. Now imagine an author, who may already have put the book up for sale, made merchandise, book covers and what not, how would you cope? Well according to Faleena it’s easy to do.
But then again, only as long as it’s not her that needs to change anything:
In Danish, which is my native language, we have a saying that roughly translates like this:
standards are good, double standards are not twice as good.
Which seems very fitting here! Along with Weiler’s Law:
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.
Or if in order to not be sexist, and since I’m writing about a woman, maybe the more fitting is:
Nothing’s impossible to those that don’t have to do it.
As abovementioned I’m originally from Denmark, and now living in England. So, as a child and teenager I read books in Danish. Either by Danish authors or translated from their original language. One of the first books I read in English was the Harry Potter series, Twilight Saga and Fifty Shades series. Like them or hate them you can’t deny their success. Of course, authors need to protect their assets, but I find it ironic that (again, as far as I’m aware), those big-time authors didn’t have to go after an entire community to protect theirs. J.K Rowling hasn’t trademarked Harry, Potter, Philosopher’s, Goblet, Chamber etc. Yes, she has of course trademarked her brand, but those individual words and names does not (as far as I’m aware) belong to her. Because on their own they are just words. The same should go for the word cocky.
This have already been addressed by people that have a way bigger community that I do, and I’m so glad that it has. Here’s some of the people who has voiced their opinion:
Jessica M. Butler:
There are many more, but these are the one’s I’ve watched and read.
Now I’m not an author, I’ve always wanted to be though, so maybe one day. But I won’t ever be if we cannot re-use ideas. I remember many years ago, I had an idea that was a little like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books. Well my idea was about a son of Aphrodite being a modern-day demigod and finding peers in a special camp. My idea was all in my head when I stumbled across Rick’s fantastic series. So, either Rick Riordan is in my head and using my ideas (this is of course very likely even though, he came up with it for different reasons and more than likely worked on his idea for years, but never say never). Or maybe, just maybe, people get similar ideas because come to think of it, I can’t actually remember the last time I read a book where I’d never heard of that theme, plot, beings or setting before.
I love steamy reads, especially the ones that involve the creatures that go bump in the night.
But hang on, we’ve all heard of vampires, shifters, Fae and magic wielders before, so what creatures could I read about, if there was only allowed one book per idea? So why do readers keep reading about the same things? Why do authors keep writing about these things that were exhausted many years ago? Because each author is unique and when they nail it, their spin and their “voice” is what makes it new and exciting. Let me just say thank F for that! Because I love reading, so I’d be sad if all of a sudden, I couldn’t read any new books because I’d simply read them all. I’m only 32 for crying out loud, I have many years left to read *fingers crossed*
In the video Faleena kind of tries to put up a hard exterior by saying “oh yeah 1 star this or that of mine”, but actually she threw the first stone and with such an example, how can you be surprised if people follow in your footsteps:
Reviews should never be used for personal vendettas. Now I want to be clear, I haven’t actually read those two books but that’s beside the point. If you have an issue with someone, don’t take it out on their reviews! Faleena is a grown up so she should know better. Not only is this a very poor example to set, but if you want go down this route you invite people to rate your own work by the same standards. But not liking someone, or having personal issues with someone, does not make it okay to be mean, cruel or vindictive. It’s one of the first things we’re all taught as kids and throughout life. I’ve had colleagues I didn’t click with on a personal level, but that didn’t make their work worse than mine. Hell, most of them were better at certain things than I was, but we’ve always been polite, at the very least, towards each other. So, I’m sad that Faleena hasn’t extended the same level of courtesy to her peers.
Luckily, we’re dealing with creative people and a lot of people have contributed in their own way, which have led to some amusing reads:
Here’s what I don’t get, well actually I don’t get any of it, but humour me.
Faleena Hopkins has a series containing of 18 books called “Cocker Brothers” and each book is called something with “Cocky” – that I get. No, she’s not the first, but it’s a good move and as a reader I love when a series is kept together in a neat way. So well done! When you look on the cover of the Cocker Brothers books it has a picture of a model, the name of the book, the name of what I assume is the Cocker lead and then of course, the authors name. So, how can Faleena claim that she had a real issue with readers not being able to recognizing her books? According to Faleena, the reason she felt she had to trademark cocky was, that her readers got upset that they bought books names “cocky” something, by author authors. But how can this be an issue when the authors name is on the front cover? I’ve read many romance novels throughout my years, but I’ve never ever mixed authors. I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence here, but if you can read a book, I think it’s okay to expect you can also read the author name, so why isn’t that enough?
Faleena also claimed that fans got upset that they saw “her” characters on other covers and said something like “why is xxx on this cover?” – well, who are those people that actually think that the model and the character is the same person? In my world that would justify me being upset with Julia Roberts for promoting a Lancôme perfume because I’m not sure that’s the kind of perfume Vivian Ward (her role in Pretty Woman) would be using, or maybe even used.
Faleena keeps deleting posts and videos, I’m not sure why though, because once something is posted on the internet, it’s usually permanent.
Especially if it’s something that’s already been seen by so many people. Case in point, here’s her video uploaded by Deena Rae here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lonM1ELSB7Q The video starts with Faleena saying: “I’m Faleena Hopkins *dramatic pause* I’m being attacked to the point of dangerous”. For a better run through, I suggest you read Jenny Trout’s summary of it.
At about the 10:45 mark Faleena says: “authors are losing control of their readers” – well, I don’t belong to any one author and they sure as hell can’t control me. But more importantly, are they trying to? Nope! I’ve seen authors ask people nicely to not leave Faleena 1-star reviews, because they don’t want the rating system to break because obviously, that would be bad for authors everywhere. However, they can’t control it, all they can do is ask their readers nicely. People do what they want to do, because they’re individuals! I’ve not gotten into this mess due to anyone specifically, but because it’s wrong and I don’t like when someone tries to bully their way through life.
“There’s no reason to nothing you don’t want to do”
Well I am not. I do want to comment on this, actually, I feel I have an obligation to, and this is one of the rare times in my life where what I want to do, and what I ought to do, come together. That’s lucky, isn’t it? I don’t want to condone nasty comments or behaviour towards Faleena, her fans, family, cover models or her “tribe”. But what Faleena is doing is so wrong that it amazes me, that she can even think to defend it. She also starts the video by saying “if you have problem, contact me” yet, she deletes the video and her Facebook. Well she’s not exactly making it easy, then is she?
The thing is, I don’t believe anyone wants to piggyback ride on Faleena’s accomplishments, but if they do, address them like a grownup. Don’t trademark a word. Personally, I would probably have tried to make sure my books stood out more or improve my marketing strategy. Because if that was me, I would feel that it was on me to make my product stand out and make sure that my fans could find my work easier. But you don’t become better by taking down others and removing the competition. Instead you look inwards and improve yourself.
Now that’s fighting with light. And honestly, there’s enough readers to go around because most of us read a lot of books by different authors, it’s not like dodge ball where we have to pick a team.
I think it’s very important to clarify that Faleena is not the unique mastermind she tries to portray.
This have happened to so many people before her, it’s happening to people right now, and it will definitely happen again in the future. Now, I’m not going to list them all, but let’s have a look, shall we:
If you look closely, you’ll see that the Fifty Shades of Coq is even written by E L Dames.
If we look at covers the entire Reverse Harem community is in trouble, because most of them puts some kind of kick ass female on their front covers, so are they copying each other? Or, more realistically, are they doing what the genre they write in dictates works? As a reader I don’t expect to see an aubergine on the cover of any book, except maybe a vegetable cook book. So, let’s be real here, certain genres do dictate what the front cover should look like!
“Come at me, I don’t care”
but Faleena obviously does care and no matter how many times she says that she’s not defending herself, she is! The almost 2-hour long video is about her, how she made it and why she did as she did. But I seriously doubt she’s explaining herself because she’s got nothing better to do (at least I don’t hope so), she does it because she feel like she need her side to be heard.
I’m not the first to comment on this, but since the story isn’t trademarked yet, I’ll get my 2 cents out there.
Honestly, I hadn’t heard about Faleena before all this started. I’m actually one of the people who probably would have read her books sooner or later. However, free or not, now I never will. Because I don’t support bullies. Some time ago I reviewed a book series on Goodreads where the story was so-and-so, but because the author had made the lead character a bully and let her get away with doing a lot of nasty shit to other people, I couldn’t in good conscience rate it high – even if I had liked it. Because I hate bullies! I have friends and family who’s been bullied, some so bad that it left scar on their now adult souls. That’s not right! There’s anti bullying campaigns everywhere where even A list celebrities speak up about it, because that’s how serious it is. So, no, I won’t ever be reading her books and I don’t think anyone should. Because this is not about her merit as a writer, this is about how horrible she is as a person.
This is not about accidentally stepping on anyone’s toes, which we’ve all done at some point in our life. She went after people with the attention to remove them from the book shelves they shared. Words do not belong to anyone and if one day they do, I pray I’m the first one to get tall, dark, handsome, sexy, vampire & orgasm. Those six words would make sure that me and future generations of my fur babies are set forever, without me lifting a finger.