Sunday, June 15, 2014


I've recently begun seeking permission from various businesses to use their names in my novels.  For some stuff, it's not necessary, but that line isn't always clear, so it's better to be safe than sorry.  I use actual businesses and products, as many authors do, in order to help give the reader a feel of familiarity.  However, none of those products or businesses are so vital to my book that I couldn't change the text to something generic and still have the story work.

It's been exciting as I started getting a few places to agree.  There's been a gun manufacturer, a car company, and even one of the best sandwich shops in LA that have given me permission.  I was ecstatic to be moving along with virtually no snags.  A few places still owed me answers, but I was on my way!

Then I hit a bump.

Sports teams, whether professional or college, are particularly protective of their trademarks, so I made sure to contact those that exist for real in Akeldama.  Near the beginning of the story, one of the vampires uses a midwestern college as a hunting ground.  This is done for no other reason than to establish the character and let us all know that there are vampires in the world.  I initially received permission from this place, but their reply said that I could use the name only if I could assure them that there was nothing violent, sexual, or drug/alcohol related in the usage.

I let them know about the vampire part since I knew that technically the attack was violence.  But surely, I thought, this won't be an issue since the attack isn't vampires parading through campus bouncing human heads like basketballs, and everyone knows vampires aren't real anyway.


The person I was corresponding with told me in no uncertain terms that such a thing would be too much violence and they didn't want it associated with them.  I cursed very loudly and thought that they needed to take the stick out.  This is a supernatural story that exists in a fictional world about people who aren't really alive.  However, the mere mention of violence - the character in question takes some blood from two victims, but he lets them live and erases their memory - was enough to spook them.  Have we really arrived at the point where we're so scared of anything remotely violent that we don't want our names associated with any of it?  I kept thinking that if my novel was successful, wouldn't the place in question become an even bigger draw and spur interest?  Isn't this exactly what happened with Twilight?

Of course, in the end, I'll omit any reference to the college in question.  I even plan to omit any reference to businesses or products in my novel that don't respond to my queries.  Like I said, nothing is so vital that I can't make it generic and still have a great story.  It's just that I feel it would have been better for the readers to include more of the "real world."

Maybe reality is overrated.  After all, isn't that why we write fiction in the first place?

No comments:

Post a Comment