Welcome back to the Author Marketing Help Desk. First a big shout-out to all of you who shared the post on GDPR and email lists. I had lots of emails to answer (and I’m going to be visiting a few RWA chapters, too), and the discussions were great. One question came up several times.

Do I need a privacy policy?

The short answer: Yes.

Privacy policies allow you to set expectations and let your website visitors (readers!) understand how their data will be used. They are part of staying GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant, but also provide transparency—something readers deserve from us. These policies are also a bit of a CYA (cover your ass—see, you’re learning marketing lingo!) in that you don’t have to try to figure out how to tell every single person who clicks to your website how you use analytics.

(Side note: You 100% should use some aggregate analytics on your website. Google Analytics is a great option. It’s free, easy to implement, and even easier to use. Hit the comments if you want a post that details how to use Google Analytics and what you could learn about your readers from its data.)

Quick & Easy Options

I have good news, though! There are great, free resources for privacy policies (aka someone has already done the hard work for you).

  • If you do not have a store on your website (as in where you collect money directly from the customer), you may adapt my privacy policy. You’ll find I use affiliate links to encourage book sales (seriously, go read Borrowed Souls, man), but I don’t currently have customer buy the books directly from me.
  • If you do sell items directly to readers (aka an online store) on your site, you can modify Automattic’s privacy policy.

In either case, be sure to credit the source with a link back to the main website at the bottom of the policy. This is the online equivalent of doing us a solid.

Author Marketing Help Desk with Chelsea Mueller
Who am I to be dispensing this advice? In addition to writing awesome contemporary fantasy, I am a c-suite marketing executive with 15+ years experience in ecommerce and digital marketing. I’m a frequent speaker and advocate for the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance marketing, and generally care a whole lot about good data and transparency in its use. I am not, however, a lawyer. So, the advice in this series is practical, but isn’t meant as legal advice.