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Charlie’s newsletter

Apologies if this newsletter is shorter than usual but it’s being squeezed between a week that had two board and various other meetings and a big weekend of sport. After all the busy-ness I’m looking forward to the Monaco Grand Prix, Wentworth PGA golf, the test match and the rugby Premiership Final. We’ll be at two of those (and no, not the motor racing – the grey pound won’t stretch that far!)

News

I’ve got a great bargain to offer you. The first four Cambridge Fellows books are now available all bundled up together as A Syllabus of Love. And better still, it’s on special offer at the moment. I would say it’s cheap as chips but chips aren’t actually that cheap anymore.

Pack up Your Troubles is now available in kindle version and print, and features three re-issued stories of love – won, lost and regained – against a backdrop of war. It’s not often I quote from Amazon reviews, but this one pleased me so much I’ve broken my rules: “the first of Charlie Cochrane’s three stories was touching and gentle in the midst of the horrors of war. The second was my favourite – shared enlightenment between two very different men sheltering in a WW1foxhole. And the final one was a refreshingly unsentimental story about guardian angels sent on a troublesome mission”

The Cover?Art! exhibition at Harbour Lights comes down on Thursday, so feel free to drop in there around one o’clock if you fancy having a signed framed cover. They’ll make lovely giveaways, so watch this space for a competition coming up!

And finally, we were at Fort Nelson last Sunday, to see the poppy ‘Wave’ installation that’s been touring the country for three years. Only one word for it – stunning!

By the way,if you usually get this by mail but haven’t this time, you may have forgotten to opt-in again for my newsletter. You can do that from any page of my website or by responding to one of my ‘stay in touch’ e-mails.

 

Some thoughts on GDPR and mailing lists

Among the big strategic questions posed by data protection regulations are why do I hold people’s data and what do I use it for? Having a mailing list so you can update folk on new products is perfectly legitimate, but what’s exercising mailing list owners is being able to show an audit trail of consent. So, if your list shows that x opted in via a sign up form on date y then all is well. The issue lies where you haven’t that clear evidence.

We’ve all been getting e-mails recently asking us to keep in touch and I’m sure we’ve often thought, “I didn’t want to be in touch with you in the first place! How did you get my contact details?” We might be on that list because we ticked – or failed to tick – a box about sharing data with partner companies. Maybe our data was sold. Maybe it was imported from another source. Maybe it’s something else.

To use a real example, the UK Meet newsletter list was originally populated with e-mail addresses of those who attended the previous two meets. We explained this at the time and have always given the option to unsubscribe, but the reality is that for the initial batch we have no evidence that they have consciously opted in. They’re the ones we’re contacting again and they’re the ones who might have to be mothballed in the weeks ahead. We can always encourage them to resubscribe, but the reality is that we’re all on lots of lists, and maybe this is an opportunity to decide – as the “mailee” – what lists we really want to remain on.

A Tale of Two Books

Most months I conduct a new release interview for the ITW magazine, The Big Thrill. Usually this is great fun, and occasionally it’s brilliant – like when I discover an author I want to read more of. Last month I was lucky enough to interview Vaseem Khan about this book:

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What a little gem. Well written, fast paced plot, good characters. And a non-kitsch baby elephant.

On the other hand, I got from the Oxfam book shop a mystery which I won’t name, but it involved an intriguing premise about a now dead writer. Such a disappointment in terms of plot and writing.