You will probably have received a number of emails relating to GDPR which I am sure you slightly fed-up off. Whilst I am no expert I have done a little research into GDPR for my own websites and have put together some ideas which, hopefully, will help those not sure about it all.
When using an online website which asks for your details it is likely in most cases that they will be saved for future use. Online shops to do this as they want you to become a returning customer. It also saves you from having to re-enter those details over and over again.
Under the new laws it is a breach to send you an email asking if you would like to remain on their mailing list. Bear in mind you probably didn’t give your permission in the first place to be on the list. It might also apply if you’ve never communicated with a specific website, so it makes you wonder how they’ve managed to get your details? Simply put, someone has probably ‘sold’ your email address to them without telling you.
Now all this can leave you feeling a bit stressed about what it means for you and your small, healthy, email list of readers. Well, here is a simple list of action for you. But… remember, this is with a caveat as it is in no-way legal advice as I am not legally qualified. The legitimate site to get the full undiluted GDPR information is EUGDPR.org. (Mine is a rather diluted and interpreted version.)
1. Everyone on your mailing list must already have given their consent to be included.
If you believe they signed up legitimately, and were aware they were going to receive your emails then you don’t need to do anything. You are already compliant. If, however, you received a list of names from another source, adding them to your list, then these people are definitely not compliant, so delete them immediately.
2. Should you email and ask someone if they want to stay on your list.
If, as stated in 1 above, your list of subscribers is not legitimate, then you must not email them. You would be in breach of the law by doing so. As everyone else is already compliant they don’t need to be asked if they want to receive your emails.
And, it is this that seems to be confusing people.
So, to sum up:
If your list is already compliant, and people knew they were signing up to receive emails, you do nothing. It would be a waste of your time and could potentially lose readers who might decide to withdraw from your list thus not buying your books. Besides, as they might be fed up with getting all these emails they probably wouldn’t be bothered responding.
The Answer: Don’t send!
How to be compliant going forward.
1. It is important to remember that the reader must be fully aware they are signing up to receive emails. Make this clear in the subject box when collecting the email address, even if through other means, ie: access to a hidden part of your website, access to extra podcast episodes, an enquiry form etc.
The text should clearly state that the person, by providing their email details, is aware they are agreeing to being added to your mailing list. This applies whether it’s by being a member of a reader’s club, accepting updates on new releases, exclusive content, giveaways or being able to claim a free book. Always put the mailing list info first. Whilst this isn’t entirely technically compliant, it’s ideal and will hopefully ensure you are covered as it’s clear they are signing up to a mailing list.
2. The regulations clearly state that no person can be bribed into signing up to a mailing list. To get around this, some authors have included an option such as, if a customer wants the book but doesn’t want to be included on the mailing list, then they can purchase from Amazon. Seems a bit of a contradiction as obviously Amazon keeps a record of a customer’s details in order to communicate with them?
The main point of all this new legislation is to ensure people are aware that they are being added to a list when communicating with you or signing to receive emails.
Lastly, what sort of wording could you use? It’s important to tell your customers what their details are to be used for and how safe you keep those details. Whilst we authors aren’t likely to sell any email details on we still have to ensure the customer knows we won’t. And, if you have a website offering books for sale then you’ll probably need to amend the details asap.
Collecting emails only for the purpose of mailing information only:
* You can add your trading name here