Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Long Arm Of The Law (GDPR in this case)

It's getting harder for writers.

First, here come this author's protestations of virtue. We don't track you, and we don't store your information (knowingly), but perhaps our glorious host (Google) does so. That's this blog's Privacy Policy.

European friends who visit aliendjinnromances via "...." or via "...."  for instance will see a notice such as this:

"This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services, to personalize ads and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies."

This notice doesn't load immediately, but when it does so, it is like a header, with white font on a grey background link, and it might go away if you click "LEARN MORE" or "GOT IT".

If you receive the articles from this blog through your email, (thank you!), it is because you must have affirmatively and actively signed up, or followed, or subscribed.  As far as this author knows, there is no way for the contributors to add subscribers without their consent, nor is there a database that the contributors to this blog can access to discover what data (if any) the Google cookies have "harvested".

Moreover, this blog is not monetized.  Google doesn't pay us, so Google does not (or should not) be placing  third party advertisements on this particular site. Nor does Twitter pay us, nor Facebook for that matter.

Authors, even if you are in the USA, you are affected by the GDPR if any of your newsletter recipients live in Europe.

As of May 25th, 2018, authors who have newsletters may need to double-verify that newsletter recipients have affirmatively and intentionally agreed to receive those newsletters. Any author who built up a newsletter list by participating in Romance Site contests, and adding eager contestants' names and email addresses to their list if the contestant checked the "Yes (subscribe me)" box, may have to make sure the recipients actively agree to remain on the list.... or actively make sure that recipients clearly understand how to be completely unsubscribed and their information deleted.

No doubt, in the past, many readers who wanted to win a free book or gift card believed that, no matter what the contest rules stated (if there were published rules), their chances of winning the goodies in the contest would be improved if they clicked the "Yes" box.  That is not necessarily "freely given" consent.

It may also not be exactly "freely given" if signing up for a mailing list is a condition of receiving a free ebook, and everyone who signs up does in fact receive the free book. Any free gift should be separate and distinct from checking a box to sign up for marketing newsletters from the author.

Here is a very entertaining podcast discussion of everything all authors need to know about the impending GDPR, from author Mark Dawson, with advice from Gemma Gibbs, and a great discussion about authors' websites' landing pages.

They offer a link to an information sheet, but the very honorable authors stress that recipients of this info sheet will be subscribed to their mailing list.

The most important takeaway:
Every email from an author to a newsletter audience absolutely must contain an Unsubscribe link, without exception.

Also helpful, readable, and apparently without strings, Nicole R. Locker of RomanceBooks.Blog offers a cheat sheet for authors.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

PS.  I meant to include this link from Joseph J. Lazzarotti  and  Mary Costigan,  legal bloggers for Jackson Lewis PC who ask "Does The GDPR Apply To Your U-S Based Company?"

You are advised to be compliant!

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