It’s been a weird, rough week. Three weeks, actually.
Most of the folks who know me well know that this week should be a triumph for me – the start of my career as a self published author (well, hybrid author, really – see last week). The print copies of “The River City Chronicles” arrived, and they are gorgeous, thanks to Vellum (the eBook app I use) and the amazing talents of my cover designer Kelley York.
I’m also supposed to be working on wrapping up “Ithani,” book three of my Oberon Cycle trilogy, to send it off to the publisher.
Instead I have been forced to spend 50-60 hours these last three weeks decimating all of our company and writing email lists, so someone in the EU can feel good about being tough on spammers.
Sorry if I sound a little bitter. I get that the General Data Privacy Regulation will probably be good for user inboxes and overall privacy. But the ham-handed, vague, and penalizing way in which it has been implemented has caused huge headaches for small businesses like ours:
1) The Lists: Since I don’t know where my subscribers live (hey, that’s their business, but now I am being penalized for respecting their privacy), I’ve had to re-permission my author list, QSF/QRI lists, and our company lists for the 8 sites Mark and I run. This has meant long back and forths with app vendors when things didn’t work as they should, and tons and tons of time. The end result? I will have spent thousands of dollars in billable hours getting rid of, on average, two thirds of the email lists we have worked for years, or in one case, decades to build. We’ve always followed the rules, and now the rules are being changed midstream.
2) The “Exemption”: There’s a carve-out for small businesses in this thing. Businesses of 250 people or less are theoretically not affected. Unless. And this is a HUGE unless. Unless you process personal data in any way. Have a mailing list? You are processing personal data. So it basically means every internet connected business on the planet has to pay attention to this thing. AND no one is exempted from the new email requirements.
3) The Fines: My business could face a fine of 4% of our annual global income. That’s bad, but survivable. But here’s the kicker. The legislation specifies a fine of 4% OR a fine of $20 Million, whichever is greater. So tell me again that this wasn’t aimed squarely at small businesses like ours? Facebook and Google can shrug fines like that off – they make that much in a second. But it would absolutely destroy us.
Here I am, at the battered end of a long and exhausting three weeks working to comply with this horrendously written law.
I’m also beaten down mentally, physically and emotionally. Part of me just wants to chuck it all and go live as a monk or farming guava and papaya in Hawaii (but hey, they have their own problems).
I know things will get better. As of Friday, for good or ill, we are done with this. I am an eternal optimist, and I will reset to my more cheery disposition when this is over.
But at the moment, when I should be spending every extra moment promoting my first solo release and wrapping up my trilogy ending novel, I am instead begging people to stay on my list, writing privacy policies, trying to find someone to offer legal opinions on what I’ve done, and hoping I get it all right.
So… I’m hoping my writer friends can help me out with getting the word out about River City – if you have space free to promo the book on our after May 30th, let me know.
Love you all, and I look forward to returning to my normally sunny disposition soon.