I want to publish a book, which will be sold at a modest price. I will be self-publishing. I'm in the US.
My book is, by its nature, very specific. It is basically a "how to" guide for how to write in a certain voice. As an example, my book is basically something like,
"How To Write The Simpsons"
My question is, can I legally use this trademark (The Simpsons) in my book title?
If not in the title, what about in my book's pages?
The issue here is that the book is really focused on one show, not one genre, or even sub-genre. So, "How To Write Animated Comedy TV Shows" is not the focus of my book, and thus a somewhat inaccurate title. My book goes into considerable depth into writing for this one show, and exclusively this show.
The book references quotes and dialogue from the show, but other than these bits, it is totally original. In other words, 95% of the text is my original writing. I have really put a lot of time into it, and I am not simply trying to "milk" a brand name for my own gain, and this is obvious to anyone who reads the book.
If I can't use the brand name directly, am I safe if I am cheeky about it? For example, "How To Write For That One Show With Yellow Characters".
Or what if I write on the back of the book or wherever, "Author is not affiliated with The Simpsons whatsoever"? I certainly will make no indication that I am in any way affiliated with The Simpsons (because I am not).
In reality, do the rules still apply if I am not attacking a behemoth like 20th Century Fox and instead am infringing on a much smaller brand? (I'm asking this one out of curiosity.)
I really hope I can use the name in my book title. Otherwise, my target market has pretty much nil chance of finding/reading my book. I know absolutely nothing about trademark law. Please advise.