Writing and Publishing

What’s the Deal with GDPR?

Do I need to make changes to how I collect emails on my website?

I don’t think anyone fully understands the practical implications of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for the European Union. And we may not for a few years. Here are my thoughts on it. (Reminder: I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice; this is my opinion.)

Discover How the GDPR Applies to Writers Outside the European Union

As it applies to writers, the General Data Protection Regulation affects us if we have people from the European Union on our mailing list and even if they visit our website.

Some people outside of Europe choose to remove all European subscribers from their mailing list, and others decide to ignore the law. Both are extreme responses.

As I understand it, the two main things that apply to us as writers are that when someone from the European Union gives us their email address, we must be clear what we will do with it, such as add them to our email newsletter list or send them periodic updates. Second, if they unsubscribe, we must remove them immediately and delete all their information from our records.

Email Marketing Providers Respond to GDPR

Email marketing providers (MailChimp, ConvertKit, etc.) have made sure their systems comply with GDPR, and they tell us what changes we need to do on our part to follow this law. This includes updating the wording on our opt-in message and our privacy statement on our website. GDPR also applies to Book Funnel and other providers that gather email addresses for us.

Some people think we need to provide notice to our website visitors from the European Union if our website uses cookies (most do). And that we must have all people from Europe (and unknown locations) re-subscribe to our mailing list. Sheesh!

Some people assume that GDPR will emerge as a best practice that we should all follow. To learn more (then you want to), do an internet search for GDPR.

But the short answer when it comes to the General Data Protection Regulation is to do what your email marketing provider recommends.

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Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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