Tag Archive | publishing

New Ancient Roman Erotic Short: For The Women Of Rome 2

ForWomenRome2CVRFINALIt is finally here. I am very proud to release my new erotic short, For The Women of Rome 2. The story continues with Cornelia and Marcus. Cornelia either has to learn to share or figure a way to keep Marcus to herself. But when a new slave is purchased on the blocks, will it end their new found happiness?

I am happy to be back in the saddle after a year hiatus from writing erotic shorts. I’ve done some intense thinking over the last year. With all the changes of recategorize and blocking erotica and erotic romances from being advertised on Amazon, I had to rethink my business plan and go wide with my catalog. I pulled all of my titles out of KU over a 3 month period during the Spring, and I am slowly releasing them wide. They are becoming available on iTunes, Kobo and Barnes and Noble one series at a time. I am trying to do this month by month, with one of my popular series of shorts releasing once a month.

The reason, it takes time to put all the shorts into the new formatting. So, just bare with me. It will all be available within 6 months. Meanwhile, ALL of my erotic shorts are still available on Amazon. I have reduced the cost to $0.99 each. Plus, there are some series in Omnibus and printed editions. The print editions have always been available wide. So, thank you for your understanding and patience. As an author and manager of my writing business, I have to make tough choices to stay in the business of writing. Since Kindle Unlimited wasn’t working anymore for me for visibility or for sales, I moved onto the next step to insure I could still continue what I love to do: write.

Which of course brings me to the next step: writing new erotic shorts. I have been trying to write longer shorts to keep me competitive with the page read payouts of KU. But it just wasn’t working creatively. Drawing out the stories just seemed like to be adding fillers. Some of the stories I did enjoy being longer, but I am a pantser. I like to let the story flow and evolve. Some are longer than others. So, making them all longer just wasn’t working creatively. It stunted my projects and made many turn into dead-ends.

So, returning back to writing my shorts, it means many stories are going to return to 3k-5k range or even the 5k-7k range. Some series have longer lengths, like the whole On Call series lended itself to be longer each story. Others are shorter like the Scottish Erotic Tales and the Roman Erotic Tales. With the $0.99 price for all my erotic shorts now, I’m hoping more people will enjoy them and take a ride to the dirty dark side with me. 😉

So, with the release of the next Roman Erotic Tale, For The Women Of Rome 2, I embark on this new chapter of my writing journey. I am excited to take you along, and promise many surprises for 2019. I will finish the Roman Erotic Tales with For The Women Of Rome 3, and release a whole new series called, The Queens of Andromeda. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy along the veins of Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey, two of my favorite Sci-Fi writers. I will give more clues and sneak peek hints as I get closer to its release for next year.

Meanwhile, have a fantastic Holiday Season! Best wishes for the New Year! And look for a Thanksgiving Erotica Deals promo that will be starting next week. -Lynda

For The Women of Rome 2 Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Women-Rome-Roman-Erotic-Tales-ebook/dp/B07KKHN1Y8

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-the-women-of-rome-2-lynda-belle/1129900889

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/for-the-women-of-rome-2

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1442572665

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

#Cockygate: The Internet has Gone Crazy Over an Author Trying to TM a Word

roostercockygateAfter watching the hoopla over “Cockygate” the last few days, I have decided to blog about it, mostly for posterity sake. After all, I think this is the pioneer age of self-publishing, and there are some weird, crazy things happening that can get the global hive mind of the internet into a frenzy. Whether you’re a romance author or not, many people in publishing, authors, self-publishers(Indies) and writing groups have gotten involved. All behind the back drop of one author deciding to trademark her series name and protect her brand, most likely because of the making of an upcoming movie. What has happened is probably beyond what she or anyone else could imagine. Mass craziness in social media and writing message boards.

What Happened:
So, basically an author named Faleena Hopkins has registered the word “Cocky” because it relates to a family of characters she’s created and the name of her book series. She registered it with a trademark in a certain font, and now is going around threatening to sue all the authors that have the word “Cocky” appear in their title and telling them to change their titles. She sends a letter to the authors saying she can sue and take the money they’ve earned from their book.

Here’s a link to the letter she has been sending out in Tech Dirt’s Article:

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180507/11303539791/romance-novelist-secures-trademark-word-cocky-begins-beating-other-novelists-over-head-with-it.shtml
So, authors with the word “cocky” had their books pulled from Amazon, because she reported their books as a violation of her TM. So, several authors either changed their titles and their covers to comply with her demands, or stood up to her and called on the RWA organization to help. To let you know, RWA or Romantic Writers of America is a writers group that helps romance writers with the business of doing writing. I am a member of my local chapter, and can’t say enough praises and help this organization does for writers. You must be a member if you write romance. But, I digress.

Here are tags to look on Twitter to follow along with the current scuttle on what is going on too: #cockygate #cocky #byefaleena #freecocky

Here’s an article about this from a few days ago in regards to the trademark legalese: http://legalinspiration.com/?p=503

I’ve also noticed RWA has tweeted that they are aware and asking for other authors to report to them that are affected. They have since helped the authors that have reported it to get their books back on Amazon.
Tweet from RWA: https://twitter.com/romancewriters/status/993883786931777536

The implications are clear. If authors start trademarking words and suing other authors for their use, it could be VERY messy. Imagine an author trademarking “aliens” or “starship” and suing sci-fi authors. I also do know one of the authors that got this email and lost two of her books, Tara Crescent. She’s been a part of some of my erotica/erotic romance deals that I do monthly. She lost two books entitled “Cocky Doctors” and “Cocky Firefighters”. They have since been reinstated on Amazon.

So, it’s hard for me to understand why someone would want to go out and hurt other authors like this. Especially, since it was amazing to see how wonderful the Romance and Indie community have really helped the authors that have been sent these emails and asked to change their titles or get sued. RWA helped reinstate the books that were taken down by Amazon. Many of the books were just pulled down and that is part of the reason why the panic happened, because the Zon tends to just pull or close accounts and then review each case individually. So, that is possibly why there was such a mass panic among the authors.

Cockygate is spilling into the other areas of the media now too. I’m guessing because the title is catchy and the implication on trying to copyright a word as a Trademark. Maybe Faleena Hopkins didn’t intend this to happen, and I know there have been huge amounts of negativity swung at her. She’s taken down her Facebook page and maybe soon her Twitter account may come down. It will definitely affect her career and who she can do business with in the future probably all due to trying to protect her perceived brand. She seems to still be saying she was just trying to help her readers buy the proper books. We’ll have to see how this all goes. There is already a filing against the Trademark patent by Kevin Kneupper that happens to be a lawyer and author.

This can all be a lesson for future self-publishing authors. You need to really look into something before you do it, because actions can have far reaching consequences in this day and age.

UPDATE: 5/23/18

As of 5/14/18, it is noted on the TM website in the application for “Cocky” has a “Cancelation pending” notice.

So, there seems to be a trend for copycat TM’ing authors trying to get a hold of “Revolution” and “forever”. I’m not sure if this is for the publicity now, since Faleena Hopkins has gotten so much attention for what she did. But the author that TM’ed the word “forever”, Heidi McLaughlin, is claiming it was her agent or someone impersonating her, and is retracting the application.

Plus, an app has now been programed to help authors keep tabs on what words are being copyrighted and trademarked. It’s called CockyBot, and can help an author stay on top of things before receiving a take down notice.

So, the drama continues to unfold. I’ll keep adding more information as it happens. 😉

-Lynda

Update: June 7, 2018

Lawyers have gotten involved now. According to a letter and post on RWA’s website blog, 

**(You may have to be a RWA member to get onto the site)

May 16 was the date that RWA sent a DEMAND LETTER to Faleena Hopkins to retract trademark infringement claims and future claims on behalf of RWA and Tara Crescent. Also, the letter asked to send documents to Amazon to retract the infringement, and to send proof of these actions of retraction,  and to apologize. They are also filing to challenge the trademark.

May 25, Faleena Hopkins fired back with a Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining order against Tara Crescent, Kevin Kneupper, and Jennifer Watson in regards to publishing, selling, promoting and distributing, “Cocktales, the Cockiest Anthology”. Lawyers from RWA had to defend Tara Crescent at the TRO hearing to defend her right to keep her books published. The Temp. Restraining Order was denied.

RWA is funding Tara Crescent’s fees to fight in court! On June 1, Preliminary Injunction was denied in the New York court. But the fight continues on!

Stay tuned for updates. This can affect all authors in all genres. There is a run of people going to the trademark office now to file for different words and series names. On Twitter, you can follow the bot at: @cockybot.

UPDATE July 3, 2018: It looks like #CockyGate is over. Tara Crescent and Faleena Hopkins have settled in New York court. Faleena agreed to back down and Tara is changing the word “Cocky” into a different font. It seems both sides are backing down and compromising and that has to be at least something of a good outcome. Here is a Daily Mail article that explains the recent events taking mostly Faleena’s side. 

I’m still looking for more on this. However, it looks like Faleena is trying to spin this in her favor, and calling others bullies. It just seems to me she didn’t understand the laws of trademark usage and tried to enforce something she really didn’t understand well. But that is just my opinion.

Lesson from all of this and what Cocky Gate might be remembered for: if you are an author, really talk to a lawyer or some professional that might know what they are doing. Because the repercussions can be real and costly. Saying you didn’t know isn’t an excuse. But it is possible, this just all blew up with out her meaning to. But then, on the other side, she could have handled it better in her letters in the first place.

Like I said, hopefully the entire author community will take this as a grain of salt in the learning process. Let’s just all try to keep it professional in the end.

 

 

Lynda Belle Pulling Her Titles From Kindle Unlimited

sexywritingI am announcing that all of my titles will be pulled from the Kindle Unlimited program on Amazon starting on April 1. Over the next two months, titles will be slowly leaving the program, but will be available to read through their last term in the KU program. My followers/readers are welcome to borrow my titles from the KU program until they are no longer available. They will still be available to buy on Amazon, and will soon start to be appearing on other retailers in other ereader formats.

This will be the last weekend my catalog will fully be in KU! Grab them now while you can! I wanted to give my readers time to have a last hurrah! before they are removed slowly from the program. So, enjoy!

Link to a list of Lynda Belle’s Titles here on the blog!

Link to Lynda Belle’s Author Page on Amazon!

How Long Will This Take?

I’ve unclicked the renewal box in KU. So, some titles will start becoming unavailable from KU by April 1. Many more will have about a month until they are not available in KU, and the full catalog will be out of KU by end of May. So, this gives some time for any of my followers/readers to pick up titles over the weekend before they start to become unavailable. Keep in mind, they will still be for sale on Amazon, just not in the Kindle Unlimited program.

What Will This Do To Bimonthly Discount and Freebie Deals?

They will still continue! The freebie titles will now be through Instafreebie and different selected $0.99 deals will be on more retailers. So, it will be a win-win for readers. The only real change will be that titles won’t be available as KU reads.

Why Is This Happening?

I guess this has been brewing with me for awhile, and the episode of shadowbanning erotica and erotic romance this last week on Amazon has just been the last straw. KU is not worth it anymore to me, and I can just use Instafreebie and list titles I want at $0.99 to use in promos. SO, that KU draw is totally dead. After almost 3 years in KU, I’m pulling out. I’ve also seen a real slow down for KU reads in the last 6 months, and I’m not sure if this is due to Amazon promoting erotica and spicy romance less or not.

But I need to think about my bottom line, and reach new readers to help stay in business. So, this is an option that will help me do so. It seems to me to be the right time to leave the Kindle Unlimited program.

Thank You To Everyone That Has Been A KU Reader In The Past

I do want to thank everyone that has enjoyed my stories and have read through my titles in the KU program. I am glad that you have stuck with me, and I promise to write more outstanding titles for your pleasure. This restructure is going to allow me to move full speed ahead, and still be able to write great erotica and erotic romances for you.

***AGAIN TO NOTE: Lynda Belle’s titles are going to be leaving the KU program starting on April 1. It will take a full two months for all titles to be fully out of the program. So, feel free to read and enjoy her titles as they remain in the KU program. This will be your last chance to read them in KU over the next two months.

-Lynda

Erotica and Erotic Romance Getting Shadow-Banned on Amazon

sexywriting So, being the Indie erotica and erotic romance writer, I’ve been on top of a development that started on March 22, just before the weekend. I went to a steampunk conference over the weekend, and missed the first initial hoopla and worry from what was going on. And then it all hit me in the face on Monday, March 26–Amazon was changing the rankings on erotica and re-categorizing some spicy and erotic romances into erotica.

When ever the Zon starts messing with things like this, it means something drastic is about to happen. Last time, it was KU2. That sucked to no end for people that wrote short stories, me included, where everyone started to get paid by the page instead of by single unit download. Now, they are starting to “shadow-ban” titles, spicy romance and erotic romance too, that has an “adult theme”.

The Low Down of What is Going On

There are a lot of rumors and speculation about why this is happening. In clearly the Zon’s fashion, there are no real answers when sending emails or messages to the powers that be at Amazon. Just answers to the point that titles are being reassigned to the erotica category because your book has “adult themes”. This is not only affecting regular erotica, but a lot of the steamy and erotic romance that clearly follow a romance plot line and isn’t all about the sex. Is it censorship?

Well, you have to look at why it might be happening. There is apparently a law that passed in US congress on March 21 that is supposed to help stop online sex trafficking. FOSTA or the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act is supposed to help stop online sex trafficking, but it is having a much wider affect because it holds the websites accountable, retroactively. So, many websites, including Craigslist’s personal ads, are shutting down and purging of sexual explicit content. In essence, the new administration is cracking down on sexually charged content, and it’s leading to a purge on many sites like Apple, Reddit, and Amazon.

What Does This Mean To You As A Reader?

What does it mean to romance readers of adult romances (formerly new adult), spicy romance, erotic romances and erotica? It means you are going to have a harder time finding what you like to read. You can still find erotic romances and erotica on Amazon, but not in a general search. And since the general store ranking is gone, there will be less “customer also bought” suggestions for titles.

There are still erotica categories, but they are harder to find. I’m sure other websites may follow suit. I haven’t heard anything from Kobo yet, but they are in Canada. So, that might be the saving grace for them. ANY US COMPANIES will most likely be reacting to this law. But then, I expected something like this from this administration. I knew the suppression would begin, but wasn’t sure how.

So, what could be next? Well, it’s come to the time where I will need to, and many other authors, will have to consider KU2 a mute point now. The promos haven’t been as productive lately for me, and going WIDE, which means taking my titles to other retailers, will be the only way to get new readers and help me meet my bottom line. So, in all likely hood, as an erotic romance or erotica reader, you may not find titles you want to read in KU anymore. They will still be on Amazon, but harder to find, and you’ll have to pay more for them since it won’t be profitable for them to stay in KU any longer.

Plus, I am going to try to continue my promotional bimonthly lists. It will still be a way for you to find fabulous erotica and erotic romances from good authors. But as far as the deals, there might be less freebies and more just $0.99 discounted titles.

So, yes, bottom line, you will most likely start paying more for these erotic romances and it will be harder to find them. But looks like I’ll keep up my promotions as long as I can. I’m also going to check with the other authors to see if they are planning to stay in KU. Not sure how this will all turn out, but like with most changes like this, adaptation is sometimes the only option. And to stay in business, sometimes, it’s the only choice for an author.

What Next?

Through all the things I go through as a self-published author,  I’m going to keep writing. I have some ideas for stories I haven’t finished yet, and will keep going. I’ve had to recently go back to work, and not write full time. That has been a set back too. But whatever happens, I hope you stick with me as I wade through yet another obstacle in the road for an erotica and erotic romance writer.

I hope you understand also, because not only do I write it, I read this genre too. So, I’m going to feel your pain. I am considering maybe ending my KU membership too. If enough writers and readers pull out, maybe Amazon will get a hint that this kind of censorship is just not what the customers want. But then, I’m just one little author in a much larger pond. But then, it’s all I have.

UPDATE: 

The ranking for the erotica titles for both indie and traditional published titles have come back on Amazon. It is possible that things either have been reworked and categorized, or more likely, it was some cliche that went on for more than a week.

An email from a Kboarder, Nate Hoffelder, is quoted as saying:

“A recent Kindle Store change inadvertently affected the display of sales rank for some titles. We have corrected this issue.”

Whether all the erotica being given new categories was due to a cliche, or something else, it is unclear. Some people still have had their titles recategorized, but the sales ranking has been added back on to many erotica titles that were missing them. So, I’ll keep updating as more happens with this.

 

Other blog posts about this subject:

The Digital Reader:

https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/03/29/amazon-has-shadow-banned-romance-titles-from-the-kindle-store/

The Motherboard:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bjpjn4/amazon-erotica-best-seller-rankings-removed

The Tech Crunch:

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/29/new-federal-rules-blamed-in-disappearance-of-kindle-erotica-titles/

Kboards Thread on subject:

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,261904.msg3642901.html

Forbes Media Article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamrowe1/2018/03/31/amazon-deranked-romance-titles-week-restoring