Got an Author Newsletter? You need a Privacy Policy!

If you are an author with a mailing list or in the process of setting one up, it is a good idea to have a privacy policy listed on your website that details what you’re going to do with the personal information you collect.

According the Small Business Administration’s article “7 Considerations for Crafting and Online Privacy Policy,” you primarily need to have the following:

1. Explain How You Collect and Use Personal Information

While not required by law (although the Federal Trade Commission prohibits any deceptive practices), creating a privacy policy is important if you want people to buy your products. This is particularly important if you are involved in e-commerce or if you collect information in surveys or marketing forms. Every customer has a right to know how you collect and use their information.

Online privacy policy generators (just run a search on that term and you’ll find them) can help you craft a policy. As you craft yours, be sure to clearly explain the following:

  • Your Cookie Policy – Cookies are used to store user preferences or shopping cart contents. Clearly explain your cookie practice.

  • How You Share Customer Information – Customers need to know that their data will only be used to complete the transaction and that any further use of that data (including selling or distributing it) requires their consent.

  • Contact Information – Make it easy for your customers to contact you or file a complaint.

Clearly, if at some point you are considering using Facebook ads and any of their targeting/tracking methods over on your own website, you should probably have some type of disclosures about cookies.

While the FTC and many states do NOT yet require websites to have privacy policies, it’s a good idea to have one because some states (and some countries) do. California, Delaware, and Nevada all require “operators of Internet websites or online services that collect personally identifiable information” about their residents “to notify consumers about how that information is used.”

And quite honestly, in my own author mailing list, I have no way of knowing where those subscribers are based because I don’t collect mailing addresses, only emails.

Because I AM based in California, my website IS required to have a privacy policy.

But not every indie author (especially this startup indie author) has the money to pay an attorney the money to draft a privacy policy.

Luckily, googling terms like “free privacy policy template” or “free privacy policy generator” will bring up a whole slew of websites.

But which one should you trust?

According to this attorney roundtable podcast on the Smart Passive Income Podcast (which is well worth a listen, or going to the site and downloading the transcript for free, to because 80-90% of what this show talks about setting up a business structure applies to indie authors), some of these policies are junk.

Luckily more Internet searching turned up the San Francisco Better Business Bureau website, which links to a privacy policy template. I trust the BBB because it’s a non-profit that I’ve actually heard of. I copied and pasted their template, aand modified it to use for this website (just scroll to the bottom, and click Privacy Policy which currently links to an external google doc because I’m still trying to figure out this wordpress theme).

Even if you’re not in California, the San Francisco BBB’s privacy policy template pretty much covers everything you need (I think) and is worth a look, if you’re looking around for a free privacy policy template.

Please note that I am not an attorney, and this is in no way meant to be legal advice.

Mailerlite vs. Mailchimp: A Comparison for Authors and Other Artists

I’ve attempted to use a bunch of different mail providers including Mailchimp, Wix Shoutout, Sendpulse, and SendinBlue. Of all of them, Mailerlite is absolutely the one that I would recommend for the startup indie author with Mailchimp coming a close second. Many people recommend mailchimp because they allow up to 2000 subscribers on their free plan, while mailerlite only allows 1,000.

MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business

However a comparison will show you that mailchimp gets really expensive fast as your subscriber lists grow.

With mailchimp,  $65 will only allow you to add up to 5,600 subscribers.


However mailerlite, $65 lets you add up to 20,000 subscribers. That’s a QUITE a difference!

Granted mailchimp has sorts of bells and whistles, like integration with facebook and instagram ads. Yes, at some point I may look to mailchimp for that kind of integration, as ads become a more important part of my strategy, but my little startup author business just isn’t quite there yet.

But the pricing is not the only reason why I think Mailerlite is #1 for authors.

Mailerlite is #1 for authors because of the sheer responsiveness of their customer service. Anytime I have a problem (which is not that actually that often), their customer support is fast to help. If you are not tech savvy, note that Mailchimp does not offer any individualized support for their free plans. And even if you are kind-of-sort-of tech savvy (like I know super basic HTML kind of saavy and am confident I can learn wordpress given enough time), there are certain things when it comes to newsletters that I feel much better being able to rely on customer support.

As an anecdote on how responsive Mailerlite is, an author friend of mine sent a suggestion to Mailerlite that they add Bookbub follow buttons to their social media options.

It was done THE NEXT DAY.

In comparison, when another author with a paid subscription requested the same thing of mailchimp, their response (and I’m paraphrasing here because I did not actually see the response) was that they would look into it.

I’m not tech-stupid, but it’s nice to know that mailerlite has my back, especially as I’ve been venturing into the world of DRIP campaigns and automation sequences. Let me tell you that setting one up is not necessarily the most intuitive thing (though mailerlite makes it a relatively simple process). In my first automation sequence I did make a few mistakes (random tip: add an a friend to your first automation sequence so that they can confirm that your emails are going out in the right order). Thankfully with mailerlite’s help, I was able to get things corrected.

If you’re interested in mailerlite and haven’t signed up yet, and have found this post helpful, please consider using my affiliate link here to sign up for a free account. Note that if you are also subscribed to Instafreebie and you have the two accounts connected (with your Instafreebie subscriber addresses being sent over directly to mailerlite, you’ll get a 30% discount.

MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business
Have you used other mail providers that might be better at serving a startup indie author’s needs? Let me know in the comments!