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Are You GDPR Ready?

Next Friday a new data-protection law goes into effect in the EU.  Why should you care?  Because all EU citizens are protected under it and if you collect data (read as: have the email address on your author mailing list) of an EU citizen, you need to make sure you are GDPR compliant.  Now, whenever people start talking about 20 million euro fines, a sensible person is going to sit up and take notice, but this doesn’t have to be scary.  And, in my humble opinion, it’s a very good thing.  Being more conscious of who has our data and how it is used can only be a positive step, to my way of thinking.

But if you’re an author, there are a few things you might want to consider doing before May 25th to make sure you’re compliant.

DISCLAIMER: I am neither an expert NOR a lawyer.  This is NOT legal advice.  This is just me giving you a heads up that a big thing is happening and you might want to take a look at your mailing lists, your website, and how you store any reader info you collect.

First off, let me give you access to some resources where people who know a LOT more than me are talking about these issues.  This podcast is a solid place to start, and this webchat is particularly helpful if you are looking at it from a romance author perspective.  Also, the Author’s Guild did a blog post here and a websearch about GDPR compliance will reap LOTS of results.  Don’t just listen to me.  Go forth and get some better info!  😉

For the last few weeks, you may have started getting emails about privacy policies, confirming subscriptions and updating your data settings.  That’s because big tech companies have known this was coming and they’ve been getting ready.  But for those of us who are little tiny fish, what does GDPR mean?

It means EU citizens have to consent to having their data collected, and they have the right to have their data forgotten if they request it, and they have the right to have their data protected.

So, as an author, what do you do?  How does this effect you? 

Mostly, as far as I can see, this impacts mailing lists.  If you built your list by automatically adding people to it when they entered a contest without their explicit consent and any of them live in the EU, you are not GDPR compliant.  Opt-in is the wave of the future, boys and girls.  People need to expressly consent to having their email address collected for a newsletter.  Luckily Mailchimp and Mailerlite have information on their websites about GDPR and how you can get compliant.

You probably want to have a privacy statement on your website and know what information your website is collecting about visitors (IP addresses are personal data and are protected).  Talk to your web host and make sure everything is shiny and good.

One last thing is the protection of data.  If you have a list of email addresses backed up on an unsecured computer, you may not be doing your due diligence to protect that information.  Consider where you are keeping that data and if it is protected.

With a few little adjustments, we can all be ready for May 25th.  GDPR is nothing to be scared of.  This isn’t designed to hurt authors. It is designed to protect people from having their data misused/sold without their consent.  If we are behaving ethically to begin with (which of course we are) then it probably won’t impact us at all, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  So go forth and comply!  

3 responses to “Are You GDPR Ready?”

  1. Thank you for posting this, Vivi. I hope to be ready by end of the week.

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  2. Tamara Hogan says:

    I’m woefully behind on this. Thanks for the info, Vivi!

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  3. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks for this, Vivi!!

    I’ve been seeing this acronym floating around, but had no idea what it actually meant.

    Okay, off to educate myself further!! Thanks so much for the links!!

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