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She trademarked a common adjective? Then sent out C&Ds? What? :O

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

Friday afternoons rock. That’s when I head to Caribou Coffee, sit down, and talk shop with any and all local freelancers who show up.

For the price of one mocha (there’s a wonderful person who buys my coffee for me), we discuss everything we know on the particular topic. It’s fun. It’s informative. Sometimes it’s a bit snarky.

Then one day, someone said, “You should write all this down. Betcha other people would buy you a mocha for that info…”

That got me to thinking… what if I did just that?

So here’s the deal:

Today, I’ve got a freebie for you. Click the link and you can experience The Mocha Club. This is the place you can get in on the latest info in the world of freelancing… we’re talking techniques, marketing info, proper website building (super easy, btw), maybe a little gossip (probably), and more.

This is detailed, long form information, stuff I couldn’t possibly squeeze into Writing Etc.

Not to worry, though. Writing Etc. is still going strong and not going anywhere. It’ll always be free, too. It’s endured through feast, famine, cancer, and the death of more than one writing partner (my dear puppies).

But if you want long form information, I wanted to keep things super affordable. So I priced membership to the Mocha Club at less than a cup of Caribou Coffee’s Northern Lite Decaf Mochas. (My favorite, btw.)

Give it a whirl. Download the free issue, no strings whatsoever. If you like it, join the club. I’ve got an amazing editorial schedule on tap. I might even schedule a few live calls.

Oh, and be sure to nab your free issue. 🙂

‘Til next time,

Beth 🙂


Let’s talk shop!

Freelancing can be far too solitary. Issues pop up.

Let’s untangle crazy situations. Gossip (just a little). Let’s hang out at the Mocha Club.

When you’re a member, you’ll receive The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter. This is the place we’ll talk shop… down and dirty techniques, no fads, no fluff… just hard core, immediately executable information all designed to help your bottom line. Sometimes you’ll also receive an accompanying video highlighting and expanding on the newsletter information.

Fact is, the Internet can be a mine field of dubious advice and it’s easy to forget that if it sounds too good to be true…

There are at least a bazillion potential options you can use for every conceivable task. This newsletter will focus options tailored for freelancers so you can select the best, toss the less than stellar, and focus on techniques that best serve freelancers, writers, authors… creative entrepreneurs.

And this information? I (and my coffee partners) actually use these techniques, hacks, resources, etc. to grow our freelance biz. Oh, and we have a blast while doing so.

So why not join us? It’s a great conversation. Plus, entrance will set you back less than a mocha.

Here’s the link for your first free issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter.

You can subscribe here (and download issue #2… Everything You Need to Know About Building a Profitable Website).

When Trademarking goes Amok
Beth Ann Erickson

If you’re not big into publishing, last weekend’s news may have escaped your radar. But writers everywhere should be aware of this situation because this escapade involves words, and the ownership thereof.

So… long story short, a romance author wrote a series. It became fairly successful on Amazon. Other authors copied the look and feel of her books, much to her chagrin. So, she took a fairly common keyword from her title, edited the series name to include that word, then trademarked said word (not the phrase).

The trademark was granted a few days ago. She tossed out Cease and Desist letters like popcorn, to any and all authors with that particular word on the cover of their books. (Note: The trademark only covered that word as it was used in a series title, not a book title. That didn’t seem to slow down the C&Ds, though.)

Chaos ensued. Authors using that word predating her trademark were targeted for C&Ds, too. Amazon was delisting books right and left.

A petition to revoke the trademark now boasts over 25k signature. Authors Ann Rice, Christopher Rice, and (possibly) EL James have weighed in. Industry groups and at least one major publisher are researching their legal options.

An Intellectual Property Rights attorney has filed a document asking to have the trademark revoked.

Oy. It’s a mess.

My point? Authors who have all their eggs in the Amazon basket have watched their earnings circle the drain and it’ll take months, if not years, to get all this sorted out.

Brands are tarnished. Years of building readerships are threatened. Years of work, flushed. It’s a frightening situation, to be sure.

This is why, in my humble opinion, it’s important to freelance like a farmer. If that author’s (and ultimately Amazon’s) actions had impacted my titles, I’d have other sources of income to fall back on while this mess gets sorted out.

Freelancing: That means writing books, articles, copywriting, consulting, you name it. It’s freedom. It’s not limiting yourself to one paycheck from one entity. I just hope all the authors affected by this trademark situation (many are exclusive to Amazon) will be OK.

We talk a lot about breaking into other avenues of writing (a.k.a. freelancing) often. Because of this situation, I just got a fire under my belly to refocus Writing Etc. on helping you build a thriving writing biz.

Just wait ‘til you see what I’ve got cooking next time!

NOTE: What you just read is the most bare bones version of this whole trademark debacle. There isn’t room in the ezine format to cover all the nuances to this complex story. I go into far deeper detail in the June issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter. If you’re curious (the details are rather cringe-worthy), buy me a mocha. I’ll spill everything I know along with how to protect yourself from something like this… 😛


You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”



Published inWriting Etc.