Tag Archives: self-published-authors

Online Privacy, Security and Newsletters

I’ve just come from Indies Unlimited, one of my favourite websites because of all the free information they provide to Indie authors. The article that prompted this post concerns the new EU regulations and how they relate to newsletters. One of the key facts in the article is that people who use newsletter companies, such as Mailchimp, will have to ask their European subscribers to formally ‘opt in’.

I strongly recommend that everyone who uses a newsletter to communicate with subscribers take a close look at this article:


After reading the article, I was curious to see what Mailchimp had to say about the new EU regulations. What I found was not really a surprise, but it did concern me enough to write the following comment:

Great post, RJ and something all Indies have to look at very seriously, because very few know exactly what the Newsletter companies are doing with their own data and the data of their /subscribers/. This ignorance, and the responsibility that goes with it, will not disappear with a simple opt-in form.
I don’t use a newsletter service but I decided to check out your link to Mailchimp, as it’s a very popular one. The following quotes are taken straight from their various pages:
‘That information may include your IP address….and other information about how you interacted with our Websites or other websites.’
[the important bit is ‘or OTHER websites]

‘In some cases we may use cookies and other tracking technologies described in this Cookie Statement to collect Personal Information, or to collect information that becomes Personal Information if we combine it with other information.’
[the important bit is ‘that becomes Personal Information if we combine it with other information’]

‘The third parties that set these third party cookies can /recognise/ your computer both when it visits the website or service in question and also when it visits /certain other websites or services/.’
[the important bit is that Third Parties can include every tech company on the internet including Facebook, Google, Amazon and countless others. Seriously].

We also enable our users [that’s people who use Mailchimp for newsletters] to employ cookies and similar tracking technologies in connection with their use of our Services in order to allow us and our users to track their subscribers.
[the important bit is ‘to track their subscribers’].

“Do Not Track” or “DNT” signals. Since uniform standards for “DNT” signals have not been adopted, our Websites do not currently process or respond to “DNT” signals. MailChimp takes privacy and meaningful choice seriously and will make efforts to continue to monitor developments around DNT browser technology and the implementation of a standard.
[the important bit is that Mailchimp IGNORES do not track requests. In other words, until they’re forced to obey, your choices don’t matter doodly squat to them].

Now that the EU is bringing in such strong regulations [and other countries may follow], we all have to make choices about how we treat other people’s privacy and security [because data gathered by ad companies can be hacked and used by anybody with the technical skills].

I don’t use any of the newsletter companies, but I know that in the past I’ve signed up for newsletters from online friends and colleagues. Now I’m quietly seething because I am very concerned about my privacy and online security. That’s why I deleted my Facebook account AND deleted everything to do with Google. To learn that I’ve been spied on like this is…not pleasant.

I know that most of you don’t see the privacy/security issue the same way that I do, but I’m asking you to please consider those who get caught up in it without any idea that it’s happening to them.

Not happy,



Spotlight on #Indie, Chris James

Six months ago I published Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064, and those of you who know me well, also know what I saw when I looked at that word “Repulse” on the cover, and therefore why its modest success is just a mite ironic. Altogether, this little book has managed to get itself over 3,000 […]

via Repulse: Six months of #Gratitude — Chris James’s blog

Chris James is an Indies Unlimited buddy from way back, and he’s also a very good sci-fi writer, but that isn’t the reason I reblogged his post today. I did it to give the rest of us a good news story with a dash of hope.

Self-publishing can lead to success, Chris is proof of that, but it rarely happens ‘overnight’. Behind every ‘Repulse’, you will find years of patient effort during which the only thing that keeps you going is pig-headed obstinacy.

The moral of ‘Repulse’ is that success is possible, if you have the intestinable fortitude to keep slogging away at it. Please read Chris’ post and take heart.

much love,


The Kobogate debacle…really?

Courtesy Wiki

Courtesy Wiki

When my Daughter and Nephew were eight, I rented what I thought was a kid’s video from the video shop [yes, it was that long ago]. The cover of the video featured creatures similar in style to the Dark Crystal type puppets. My eye caught on the puppets and didn’t even register the R classification [adults only content here in Australia].

I put the video on for the two kids and went off to cook dinner in peace. Eventually the kids came out to the kitchen with…questions. That was when I discovered they’d been watching puppets have sex.

To say I was shocked is an understatement. I’m no prude, but I don’t consider a kinky puppet-sex video to be appropriate sex-ed. material. I explained to the kids that I’d made a mistake, and we talked about the content. Then they wandered off to play, leaving me bright red, and cursing my inattention.

Were those two kids horribly scarred for life? Nope. The only one who ended up scarred was me – because they’ve never let me live down that mistake.

Which brings me to the Kobogate debacle. Apparently some kids in the UK got their hands on erotic material at a well known bookshop known as ‘Smiths’. The Daily Mail got wind of this, and ran a sensational campaign about it. Kobo, which partners with W.H.Smith in the UK, caved to pressure from its partner and apparently yanked all self-published ebooks from the UK site.

I believe the correct term here is ‘throwing the baby out with the bath water’.

If you are like me, and have only just heard about Kobogate, you can read all about it in an excellent article by David Gaughran – here.

I don’t have an axe to grind on this Kobogate debacle because my ebook wasn’t affected, however I do think the whole thing has been handled badly. A simple declaration of content at the time of uploading an ebook could have saved Kobo, and thousands of self-published authors, a lot of grief. After that, I believe it’s up to parents to monitor what their kids watch or read, not some corporation.

I don’t read, or write, erotica. Nonetheless, I believe erotica has a place in the world of books, just like any other genre.

What do you think? Yes? No? Maybe?



p.s. I apologise for the scrappy nature of my posts lately. I’ve been working hard on my assignments, and haven’t had the time, or the creative energy to come up with interesting things to write about. Still 6 weeks to go so please bear with me.

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