May 22, 2018

Complying With GDPR

© Barbara V Evers, All Rights Reserved
The new European Union's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) comes into effect on May 25, 2018. It's purpose is to protect your data and privacy. Although I'm based in the US, I do have readers in the countries where this policy applies.

For that reason, I want my readers to know that I don't collect your data personally, but most blog sites capture the following personal data:
  • Blog post comments data (name, email, IP)
  • Traffic stats plugins/tools such as Google Analytics
  • 3rd party hosted services such as Jetpack, Bloglovin’ and Disqus
  • Email signup forms such as Mailchimp or FeedBurner
  • Contact forms
  • Issues relating to the location of your web host. E.g. data is transferred to servers outside the EU
I am not a legal expert, but these are the steps I've taken:

  • Mailchimp made it simple. If you regularly receive SCWA Greenville chapter emails from me , please watch for an email asking for your consent to receive those emails in the future. If you don't provide that consent, you won't receive the updates about our meetings.
  • Blogger, I've been told is compliant since it doesn't send me your email and contact info when you comment on the blog.
  • Wordpress does send website owners the email information of followers and commenters, so I've updated my sites on their platform to share their Privacy and Cookie policy. At this point, I'm not sure if there is anything else I need to do on these sites. You can check out those two sites here:  The Workbench of Faith  and  Eversworks.

I'm in the process of updating and revising the Eversworks site, so feel free to let me know your  thoughts or suggestions on its layout, appearance, information, etc.

At this point, I've done all I know how to do.

What problems and/or solutions have you dealt with or considered in order to be compliant with GDPR?

May 15, 2018

Publishing Contracts and Derivative Rights


I'll be the first to tell you, I'm not an expert on publishing contracts. I've dealt with a few when my essays or short stories have been accepted. They tend to be basic and straightforward with the rights reverting back to me after the first publication.

A while back, I ran across Writer Beware, a blog sponsored by Science Fiction Writers of America with support from three other reputable writing associations. It focuses on revealing the underbelly of the publishing world and helping aspiring writers protect themselves. The first post I read on this site talked about piracy of in-copyright books by the Internet Archive. If you have anything published, you might want to check out that post and the link to the Internet Archive's Search page.

Recently, I received a post about a questionable practice occurring in contracts with magazines and a few established markets:  perpetual derivative rights.

First of all, you should always check what rights any contract gives the organization seeking to publish your work. Perpetual means they retain it FOREVER. Not good. But what about the request for perpetual derivative rights? If I understand the Writer Beware post correctly, this means the contract limits your ability to do anything else with your story. This includes audio rights, internet rights, continued series rights, film rights, etc. Not only that, but they can assign your story to someone else to write the derivative.

No. NO. NO!

I realize last week I wrote about trusting the writing community with your work, and I stand by that point. Most people don't want to steal your work; however, we need to be aware of the scams and traps out there. If you haven't followed the links to these two posts from Writer Beware, you probably should. It pays to keep vigilant about the seedy side of the world of publishing.

May 8, 2018

What If Someone Steals My Manuscript?


Note:  I wrote this post prior to the firestorm created by #cockygate. My post expresses empathy for newbie writers who worry about their work being stolen. I understand why they worry, but I, also, advise them not to get caught up in the paranoia. It's ironic that the day I scheduled this post to go live occurs on the heels of this issue. For those who are curious, I'm sharing two links at the bottom of this post with information concerning the #cockygate issue.
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My training career puts me in front of new people many times during a month. Sometimes, my interest in creative writing comes up. About half of the times it's mentioned, someone from the workshop approaches me later with questions about getting started or finding resources to help them.

First, I ask them what they write. About half of them haven't started. They just want to write. My advice to them is start.

Then, I invite them to our local critique group. I'd say about one in ten actually follow through on that suggestion.

Last week, a participant approached me and wanted to know more about our group. Then he confessed something I've heard before. He'd written a story but feared sending it out in case someone took it, changed a few words, and sold it as theirs.

To a dedicated writer who has struggled through the process of writing, editing, submitting, and receiving an acceptance or rejection, this sounds laughable or egotistical. But, step back and look at the world we live in. Ethics doesn't play a big factor in the day-to-day news we hear. Someone outside of the writing community looks at the questionable practices around them and assumes it carries over to agents, editors, and publishers. In fact, I once edited a book for a man who insisted I delete all files related to his manuscript after I completed the edits. I agreed. It's not like I needed them anymore, but it spoke of the paranoia in our world today.

I'm not going to say people never steal a writer's work. It probably does happen; however, I doubt it occurs often. More than likely the theft occurs after you're published rather than before. The same thing that happened with music fifteen or so years ago is happening with digital books today. Still, that's after you're published, not before.

I advised this person that our writing group has no interest in stealing another writer's work. We're focused on our own ideas and supporting each other in our writing endeavors.

This goes for reputable agents and publishers, too. They work to help writers get their writing published. That's how they make their money--publishing others' works.

So, if you're thinking about writing or already have written something, find a solid critique group online or locally and get someone else's input on your work. Odds are your manuscript isn't ready to be published, anyway, so no one will want to steal it.

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Info on #cockygate:
Thread by Courtney Milan
Romance Authors Gets Unduly Cocky Over Registered Trademark Information from a legal viewpoint