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  • 06/16/2018 7:07 PM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    What is GDPR? It's the EUs General Data Protection Regulation that requires websites to insure that the privacy of people who visit the site is protected, and that the information gathered and used is clearly noted. 

    Part of the compliance involves making sure your EU email subscribers want to be on your email list. If you have readers to your website or blog who reside in the EU, you're required to put in protocols that insure you're email list is GDPR compliant. 

    Another aspect of GDPR involves being transparent about what data is collected and how it's used. If you have a website that takes payments, uses Google Analytics, has an email list, drops cookies, etc, you're collecting and using data.

    Whether you're in the EU or not, if you have readers or subscribers from the EU, you should make sure you're compliant. 

    Admittedly, it's a pain in the behind and like many government regulations, isn't easy to figure out what exactly you need to do. 

    Here's what I did on my sites, but I'm not an expert, so below you'll find more information to get help:

    For Email Lists

    1) Emailed all my EU subscribers and asked them to re-confirm their subscription. Any who don't re-confirm should be deleted.

    2) Add a confirmation checkbox on your email sign up list. (see image below). Don't set the box's default as checked. Your subscriber need to actually check it.

    3) Unsubscribe links or instructions need to be in each email. 

    4) Make sure you're CAN-SPAM compliant as well.

    For Websites

    1) If you use cookies, you should have something on your website that lets readers know. If you're not sure, check with resources you have on your site and your host. 

    2) Add a Terms of Service page to your website. 

    3) Add a Privacy page to your site. This should cover the types of data collected and what it's used for. For both Terms and Conditions and Privacy pages, you'll want to research templates or hire help. They're fairly detailed.

    For more information about GDPR and whether you need to concern yourself with it, here are some resources to check out:

    Introduction to GDPR (video)

    Preparing for GDPR - 12 Steps (PDF)

    Sample Email Sign up Box

  • 06/16/2018 6:26 PM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    You've been hired to write an article or sold a manuscript, did your research, wrote and rewrote the piece, and turned in the best work possible. A little while later, the work comes back marked up with fixes, comments, and questions.

    There's nothing like an editor (or an agent) to make you feel like you're back in high school. You poured your sweat and tears into creating a great piece of writing, only to have it come back with a lower grade than you expected.

    The first response to getting notes from an editor is irritation and the desire to defend the piece. But if you want to make a living at writing, you need to learn to work with editors. Here are tips to doing that. 

    1) Take a deep breath. It ouches to get critiques. And after the initial sting, is anger. But before you tell your editor off, take a deep breath. Odds are your editor isn't wrong. More importantly, the editor isn't trying to be mean. She's just working to make the piece stronger. Even if she is wrong or mean, getting mad or becoming difficult to work with will only sabotage your writing career. So take a moment to collect yourself and calm your emotions.

    2. Read the critiques, notes, comments, etc objectively. It's hard to read your own work with objective eyes, but you need to try. What is the editor saying to you and consider, for a moment, he might be right. Could you have stated that idea or fact more clearly? Does the article really speak to the title? Does the article fit the tone and voice of the publication? 

    3. Ask questions. Sometimes, editors aren't clear on what they mean either. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification.

    4. Choose your battles. Your editor knows the publication and the reader better than you do. As a result, you'll not often win battles with an editor. With that said, there are times when you may need to defend your work. Perhaps you're an expert in the field and know the change suggested by the editor would confuse or mislead readers.

    5. Rewrite the piece. In most cases, you'll have been away from the article or manuscript for a little bit of time, giving you a chance to see it with fresh eyes.

    6. Keep your complaints about your editor to yourself. More to the point, don't fuss about an editor on social media and your blog, unless you plan to have a career other than writing. Any issues you have should be between you and your editor, or if you have an agent, you can ask her to intervene.

    7. Always be professional. If your goal is to make a living writing, that means you plan to be a professional writer. As a professional writer, you should act professional. Don't accuse and call your editor names. If you have an edit you disagree with, make a rational statement with a clear example of what you mean.

  • 06/16/2018 11:15 AM | Leslie Truex (Administrator)

    One of the challenges to writing is having all the resources you need to write and get published. The list of resources below is not complete, but hopefully will help you get started. 

    Each of these resources are free, although they may have options for more bells and whistles for a fee. 

    General Writing: Research, Prep, Drafts

    • Evernote Save research, organize articles and plots, and start drafts, and more. Access your notes on computer, smartphone, laptop or tablet.
    • GoogleDocs – Full suite of document tools including word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentation and more.
    • Google Keep – More visually oriented than Evernote, Google Keep is another option for storing notes, text or voice, set up reminders, transcribe notes from pictures, integrate into Google Docs, and more. It has a Chrome extension and phone app, as well.
    • OpenOffice – Full suite of document tools including word processing, spreadsheets, slide presentation and more.
    • PrimoPDF – If you already have Word, you can save as PDF, but if you don’t, you can use this create PDF files.
    • Scribus: I've never used this, but it's a free writing tool similar to Scrivner.
    • WriteWayProAnother writing software similar to Scrivener, except free.
    • YWriter5 - I saw this recommended by another writer. It's a free tool similar to Scrivner.
    • Speech Recognition (free with Windows) - Many people don't know that newer versions of Windows have speech recognition software. You can tell your computer to open up Word or email, and what to write. Visit Microsoft to learn how to set it up.
    • Todoist - Task management to help you keep on top of your writing deadlines and goals
    • Trello - Visual project management program. Especially if you plan to self-publish, Trello can help you set up a workflow from draft to revision, revision to editing, editing to formatting and so on. It's flexible so you can set up systems and workflows that help you.

    Grammar and Style

    Communication Tools (i.e. for interviews, contracts etc)

    • FaxZERO – Fax up to three pages twice a day for free
    • FreeConferenceCall.com – Free conference and video calls
    • Skype – Free call, video chat, and instant message for Skye to Skype users. Skype to landlines for small fee.
    • WebEx – Free video conferencing
    • Zoom – Video and web conferencing service

    Free websites

    Free Online Tools

    Social Media Tools

    • Buffer – Social media management tool. Manage up to 3 accounts and up to 10 scheduled posts on the free version.
    • Facebook – Free social media marketing platform
    • Hootsuite – Manage up to 3 social media profiles for free
    • Instagram – Free photo sharing media platform
    • LinkedIn – Professional social networking website
    • OneSignal – Send out push notifications on your website online or by app
    • Pinterest – Visual pin board marketing platform 
    • Twitter – Free social media marketing platform
    Free Email Tools
    • HubSpot – Free email signature generator
    • MailChimp – Free email marketing for up to 2,000 contacts
    • MailerLite - Free email marketing for up to 1,000 subscribers
    • SendInBlue – Free email marketing that offers unlimited contacts, up to 300 emails a day on the free version.
    Free Images and Photo Editing
    • Adazing - Free 3-D book cover creator
    • Burst – Free stock photos
    • Canva – Simple design platform and photo editor. Many free photos, layouts, and font options, as well as some you can buy for $1. Also can make book and Wattpad covers.
    • Dreamstime – Free stock photos and images
    • FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Free stock photos
    • FreeImages.com – Free stock photos
    • FontSquirrel – Free fonts
    • GIMP - Free photo editing similar to Photoshop
    • Morguefile.com – Free stock photos for commercial use
    • OpenShot – Free video editing software
    • Pexels – Free stock photos
    • Pixabay.com – Free stock photos
    • ResizeImage.net – Resize images (i.e. Facebook image to Pinterest) without losing quality
    • Unsplash.com – Free stock photos
    • WikimediaCommons – This is one where you’ll want to be sure to read any rules about attribution.
    Do you have a free resource to recommend? Please share in the comments.
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