Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Lesson To Be Learned: How Hot Buzz Came To Be And Why It’s My First Self-Published Title

Today is a new release day for me. It’s the first time I’ve self published a title. Say hello to Hot Buzz!

 Available on Amazon for .99 cents. Click here to purchase 

Synopsis: Jerri can’t sleep at night. Every night she hears Krysta pleasure herself with her vibrator in her bedroom. Jerri wants to be the one to help Krysta find satisfaction and much more.

Then one night Jerri’s jealousy gets the best of her and she confronts Krysta. She’ll prove to her that something like a vibrator can’t give her satisfaction, and only a flesh and blood woman like herself can.

I was planning on self-publishing this year. I have two short horror type stories I wanted to publish in time for Halloween and I’m working on a full length title I hope to self-publish by Spring 2013, either in March or April. I wasn’t planning on self-publishing Hot Buzz because if was formerly known as Good Vibrations that was published for Decadent Publishing’s new erotic Edge line back in April.

When my editor Kate Richards told me about the Edge line and asked if I would like to write a story for it, I said sure! I had this idea rolling around in my head about a woman, who one night hears her roommate using her B.O.B in her bedroom and becomes very frustrated because she’s in love with her roommate and wants to be the one to give her pleasure and not some electronic device. I wrote it and titled if Good Vibrations and submitted it for the Edge line along with a second title set in the same world called Alana’s Surrender. My idea was to make it into a series called Good Vibrations in the hopes I would write more titles for the line. Decadent accepted both Good Vibrations and Alana’s Surrender and my cover for Good Vibrations was smoking hot and perfect for my story, which was one of the most erotic things I’ve written.

Good Vibrations was published in late April this year and it was released to great success even hold the #1 spot in Lesbian romance at All Romance Ebooks and one of the top Edge stories.

Then in June I received an email from Barnaby Ltd, also known as the company Good Vibrations. Barnaby Ltd. Apparently trademarked the phrase “Good Vibrations” and said my short story, titled Good Vibrations was infringing on the company Good Vibrations’ trademark rights. In their email, “The use of Good Vibrations (meaning my short story) to identify my books that is described as “lesbian erotica” is likely to cause consumer confusion and to mislead consumers into believing my book is endorsed or otherwise affiliated with the company, Good Vibrations. Given that the subject matter of my book is identical to the subject matter of books and other materials published and sold by Good Vibrations the company, my short story may explicitly mislead consumers as to the source of my book and is an infringement of the company, Good Vibrations trademark rights.”

Now when I had chose Good Vibrations as my title, the company’s name didn’t even come to mind. I was more concerned at the time that there would be other books with the title, Good Vibration. I wanted to pick a title that was unique and thought Good Vibrations was that. Some may argue, what about The Beach Boys song, “Good Vibrations”? But again I didn’t mean to put two and two together because the subject matter of my story was so far away from what the Beach Boys song was about.

I made Decadent Publishing aware of what Good Vibrations the company sent me, but instead of changing the title, we waited and then in July, Good Vibrations, the company contacted Amazon and Barnes and Noble and those sites took down my short story. Amazon sided with the company, Good Vibrations because they felt the story violated a trademarked name that the owners of the trademark chose to enforce because of the content of my story. Decadent then reverted the rights back to me and I decided to self-publish my story, renamed it Hot Buzz and here we are.

There’s a lesson to be learned in all of this. Since book titles can’t be trademark, authors need to be aware of what they title their books because now more than ever, book titles maybe targeted as a trademark violation by a company or person who trademarks a group of words an author may chose as their title. Just this week Melissa Marr’s September 4th release, Carnival of Souls and Harper Collins was accused of being in violation of a trademark. Legal Minimum has all the details you can read here.

“For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, an author of graphic novels named Jazan Ward has brought a claim against HarperCollins claiming that HarperCollins' new series of novels called Carnival of Souls infringes a trademark he has registered in those same words. Using various legal theories he wants to have HarperCollins change the name of the series and pay him damages for infringing his mark. Recently Ward has also started to send cease and desist (C&D) letters to various book bloggers and other reviewers telling them that they can't review the Carnival of Souls books because by doing so they're promoting a property that infringes his mark.” 

We may be in a new era where book titles may come into question, especially authors who self publish and don’t have the backing of a big publishing house.

But there is a bright side to this all. I’m thriled that Decadent Publishing gave me back the rights to this story I’m so proud to have written and has jump started me into self-publishing. I reached out Fantasia Frog Designs (they also create covers for Decadent Publishing) to create a new cover. I used them before for my other covers to the next two short stories to be published next month and Tara at FFD did a fantastic job. If any author is looking for a cover to be created for their book, please reach out to Tara at FFD. She’s wonderful to work with and not that expensive. Kate Richards who also does book formatting helped me with publishing Hot Buzz on Amazon, which I did yesterday.  I’m so grateful to her in ways I can’t explain because he walked me though the whole process. It was very easy to do and 12 hours later Hot Buzz is available to purchase there.

I decided to enroll Hot Buzz in Amazon’s KDP select program for 90 days. This means Hot Buzz is exclusive to Amazon for 90 days and during this time I can’t publish it anywhere else, but I can also take advantage of their free Kindle program where I can decide for any 5 days in that time to allow Hot Buzz to be free. I’m taking advantage of this as an experiment in the hopes that I can make money but also interest readers in my other work, specifically Alana’s Surrender, that's still with Decadent Publishing.

I’m in the belief that everything happens for a reason, so maybe there is a reason for what happened with Hot Buzz.

If anyone has any questions about my experience and self-publishing Hot Buzz, I’m more than willing to answer them. My road to self-publishing has started and I can’t wait to self-publish more books. Exciting times for an author, my friends!



Linda McLaughlin said...

KT Thanks for letting us know about his. Sheesh, one more thing to think about. I've never even heard of that dang company, but darn if I'll ever buy any of their products!

helen424 said...

Its Jazan Wilde not Ward and there were instances of that title use before him, it smacks of EL James not wanting "her" work used as inspiration. Tossers the pair of them