“Writer Beware” is now an officially registered service mark of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. (A service mark is like a trademark, except it’s used in the advertising of services while trademarks are used in the sale of goods and products.) You’ll note the addition of the ® symbol to the WB blog, WB website, and WB Facebook page.
We’ve discussed the advisability of registering several times over the past few years. What finally prompted us to do it was our discovery of a forthcoming self-published book about writing and publishing scams called Writer Beware. Not only was the author of the book not connected with us, in our judgment she didn’t have the expertise to write authoritatively on the subject. Given the book’s title and subject matter, we worried that writers might assume that the book had our endorsement, or even had been produced by us.
Service marks and trademarks carry some legal force even if they’re not officially registered, and with the help of SFWA’s counsel, we were able to persuade the author to change her title. To help avoid any future confusion (and to make it easier to deal with if it happens), we decided (with the permission of SFWA’s President) to go ahead and register.
So now every time you say or type “Writer Beware” you owe us a royalty. (Just kidding. And please, no comparisons to Paris Hilton.)
If you’re looking for some interesting reading, check out this fascinating blog post from The Bookshop Blog: 2000 Year Old Technological Marvel Still in Use Today.
What’s the marvel? The book–or rather, the written word. The post traces the history of written content from cuneiform tablets to ebooks, placing the book–that practical and durable marriage of form and function–in the wider context of the history of writing. In that view, ebooks are not a paradigm shift, but merely a point on a continuum.
Here’s a teaser:
You could make a drinking game out of headlines proclaiming the death of books. But the book itself was just a change from previous writing and record keeping systems… and in many cases never fully got rid of the predecessors. Tablets, scrolls, and stone inscriptions are still in use today, they just aren’t the primary form of conveying written information. Each time there’s a leap forward in written records it doesn’t totally displace the old system, it just expands who has access to writing in any form.