This entry is about her series, Love Factually. Recently another publisher has been using that brand name and it's been confusing for her fan base. I reached out to her to find out more and she responded with the below. If you've seen another author’s work with the same name and been confused, like me, this will clarify things. The short story is, both books differ wildly in content: one is a collection of couples' interviews, and Dr. Welch's is about how to use relationship science to find happiness. Thank you, Dr. Welch, for coming onto my blog today.
Hi there Holly; thanks for inviting me onto your blog. Bringing science-based dating advice to the world is my passion. In fact, I first began writing about that for the general public on Valentine’s Day, 2009—ten years ago! It’s wonderful to have your support. (And: kudos on your own happy marriage!)
You’ve asked for the Love Factually story. It’s longer than it may appear at first, and it begins years ago.
Love Factually then:
I had been a research psychologist and professor who learned relationship science to help myself. The short version of that is: I sucked at dating, and I figured that if I learned what works for most people most of the time—which is what much of science is—, it might work for me too.
It did! Clients began approaching, and shortly after we married, my husband Vic urged me to share what I’d learned in a book that made that science accessible to everyone—the very first start-to-finish dating advice book based on science instead of opinion.
That was a fabulous idea. So naturally, I did something else: I launched LoveScience, the first science-based relationship advice for everyone, for free, at www.lovesciencemedia.com. Using a ‘Dear Abby’ format in everyday language, but with references at the end of each response, the LoveScience blog took off in more than 30 countries. At Wise Readers’ urging, and with their many questions and examples from around the world, the first book released on 1/7/2015: Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do.
Running Press—an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.—offered me a $40k contract for that first Love Factually book in the summer of 2017. It felt wonderfully affirming to get the offer, and I was sorely tempted to accept; but I declined it that September via my agent for a long list of reasons.
At that point, the book was already doing well with my own publishing house, LoveScience Media, LLC. I loved running my own business, complete with an editor, interior and cover designer, publicist, web designers, foreign rights and domestic agents, and attorneys, and I was loathe to give it up. Plus, I no longer felt the need to go with a ‘legit’ publisher in English: the best scientists in the world were reviewing and endorsing my work; large-scale media had clambered aboard; and the first Love Factually title was by then under contract with Planeta, the world’s largest Spanish-language publisher (since released globally), and with major publishers in Japanese (Shasta), Polish (Helion), and Vietnamese (A-Z Vietnam). The book is now under review in French, German, Italian, and several other languages, through my foreign rights agent. I’ve been very pleased with my brand going global and into numerous languages, bringing science-based dating advice to new places around the world for the first time.
Love Factually now:
Today, Love Factually is a series. The second book, Love Factually for Single Parents [& Those Dating Them] released worldwide in English on 1/7/2019. Like the first book, this is the only one to offer comprehensive dating advice based on science rather than opinion—but this one specifically helps readers leap over the hurdles of finding a partner who is not only good for them, but for their families.
The third book, which releases this Valentine’s Day and is available for pre-order now, is Love Factually: How to Write a Dating Profile to Bring The One Your Way.
This third title is exciting not only because of the topic—the one the most clients hire me to help them with—and its science-based advice, but because it begins a new imprint for LoveScience Media: Love Factually Singles. This imprint will publish more than 20 of my Love Factually titles over the next two years. Just like the original Love Factually books, Love Factually Singles deliver science-based dating advice that is fun, easy-to-use, and brimming with real-world examples. The difference? Love Factually Singles books are single-topic titles that fit into even the busiest schedules and tightest budgets, so readers get the content they want at a price they’ll love.
Love Factually tomorrow:
It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But I really wish people (and publishers) would not flatter me by using my brand.
Love Factually isn’t just a title; single titles can’t be copyrighted or trademarked.
But series can—and my books are in series. Series titles are automatically protected; others are not permitted to use the title for items that customers might be confused by due to similarity of audience or content.
Also, I’ve used Love Factually for coming on five years now to brand my website, lectures, classes, media appearances, my coaching practice, etc.—and I now have clients and readers worldwide, from the UK, Australia, and Japan to Mexico, Canada, and the US. My books appear around the world in English, in addition to other languages. Simply put, the US offers common-law trademark protection under these circumstances, and the UK offers protection from anyone passing off as my brand. And my company now has counsel in the US and the UK, specifically relevant to trademark litigation.
Unfortunately, when your business is small like mine, powerful entities may think they can take what they want, or that the law does not equally protect all. They might not consider that someone able to build what I’ve built can oppose them.
On August 4, 2018, a fan of my work sent me a screenshot of someone else’s planned release of a Love Factually title about the science of love, and said a friend of hers had been confused when she sent her to get my book and found this other one instead. This was half a year before the other author’s title was to release.
I immediately wrote to the author to inform her that my book is in series and would release a second title prior to hers—worldwide—and to ask her to alter her title before her book’s release. One reason was to protect my trademark. The other was professional courtesy: I’ve seen the contracts of the world’s largest publishing houses. Her book is carried by one of those. In those contracts, authors are typically required to agree that if a lawsuit is filed against the publisher or the author regarding the book in question, the author must pay 50% of the legal fees (including the fees for lawyers already employed by the publisher)—even if it was the publisher’s error that caused the trouble. I assumed basic goodwill from the author, and was hoping to prevent an issue for both of us.
I sent the same note to her publisher on the same day, 8/4/18. Neither the author nor the publisher responded to me.
My attorney sent a cease-and-desist on 8/13/18. The publisher’s attorney responded on 10/24/2018 that "in order to draw a line under this matter we have changed the title… in the US."
Unfortunately, that does not resolve the matter.
First off, several sellers in America are selling and distributing the other author’s book, with Love Factually on the cover. Amazon, for instance, carries the competitor’s title under the old and the new name in the USA. The ‘new title’ is not in fact the only one in the US.
Also, my brand is global—not just American. The words Love Factually are equally searchable anywhere in the world—even if the publisher and author are in another country. The publisher’s and author’s marketing cross the globe. The Internet has shrunk the planet in this and many ways.
Of course, I don’t own the English language and I cannot and would not object to every use of Love Factually. For example, there is a comedy troupe using the words, and also a video series—but the one is clearly nothing to do with my work, and the other is not in the space my work occupies, in terms of the medium and in terms of whether it is for sale.
But I do not want others copying those words when they are dealing with the science of relationships, a confusingly similar use, and then selling a book under that name. This is the exact type of use the common laws in several nations are intended to warn against.
I have spent years cultivating the audience that associates the words Love Factually with science-based relationship information. I see the other publisher’s/author’s use as an attempt to take away from my brand. It is confusing for my readers and customers: I now have a file of letters from confused people in several countries, including the nation where the author and publisher are located, who reached out to me due to their difficulty differentiating between the others’ use of Love Factually and my branded series.
I am all for people experiencing love and science, separately and together, and I want lots of books to exist on the topic. I would probably like the other author if we were to have a lunch together. I’m in favor of her work—just not her and her publisher’s use of the Love Factually title.
I am still deciding which steps to take. In the meantime, it would be my preference for the author/publisher/both to ascertain that they’ve mistakenly used my brand, and for them to stop using the words Love Factually in any capacity related to books that are about the science of relationships.
After all, they’ve got one book. But my whole life is about Love…Factually.
And that won’t change.
Love Factually: the original science-based dating advice books
*Blue covers only!*
Dr. Duana Welch, author: Love Factually books
- Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (2015)
- Love Factually for Single Parents [& Those Dating Them] (2019)
- Love Factually: How to Write a Dating Profile to Bring The One Your Way (2019)
- Love Factually Singles books (2019 onward)
Dr. Duana (DWAY-nah) Welch is the original Love Factually author and coach known for using social science to solve real-life relationship issues. Following her PhD in psychology, she taught at universities in Florida, California, and Texas across 20 years. She is the author of the original Love Factually book series worldwide, and contributes to Psychology Today, eHarmony, and others. All her books rely on science rather than opinion to help men and women find and keep the right partner; and they all have a blue cover, for easy identification. Her Love Factually client practice is global, via Skype and other technologies. Thanks to science and Vic Hariton, she is happily married.