Hi, I'm Leng!

Writer of fantasy-adventure web stories.

Privacy Policy and What it Means for my Stories

For a long time, I've touted that my stories are geared towards middle-grade readers and above. However, because of tougher regulations for online privacy, I've decided to no longer market my stories to younger audiences.

Many of you may be aware of new privacy regulations regarding things like tracking and information collection on the web. Chances are, you might have gotten many emails from other websites notifying you that they've updated their privacy policy. Ensuring that websites respect their users' online privacy has become a significant issue lately, and for good reasons. And now that governments are trying to do their part by regulating what websites can collect from you, it's important that people like me — people who build and own websites — are compliant with these regulations.

I posted three legal pages on my website: Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, and Terms and Conditions. You'll notice that my Privacy Policy says that this site is not meant for anyone under 18 years old. This is not because I post inappropriate or "adult" material, but because I use Google Analytics and I keep log data on the server that hosts this website. Under regulations like the GDPR and CCPA, these types of data can still be considered "personally identifiable" data, and I mustn't collect them for minors.

However, because users can't sign-up for a personal account on my website, there isn't really a way for me to find out whether a visitor is under 18. That is why my Privacy Policy is worded such that I don't knowingly collect information from minors. Other websites that require their visitors to sign-up for an account have strategies in place to ensure their users are of the right age, or have sufficient permission to access their services. To stay true to the intent that I don't knowingly collect information from visitors under 18, I can't really market my stories to young people.

It's a little unfortunate, because I do want young readers to be able to read my stories. When I'm writing, I often think back to my younger self and wonder what she would have wanted to see in a book, what would have made her more at ease with herself and the world. I think if I had read more stories where I saw myself represented, I would have been more confident and rooted in my heritage. I want my stories to serve that younger version of me and those out there now who might have the same self-doubts that I had before.

But I also know that the cyber landscape is different now from what it was then. For sure, children's online privacy is much more important than what my site can offer. Besides, as my website grows, surely I will find a way to distribute my stories to younger readers without them having to come to my website. (Perhaps I can upload a pdf version of the stories that a guardian can download for them.) For now, my website will be oriented towards more mature readers.

This does give me a little bit of freedom. I can continue to review books on my blog that are marketed as adult fantasy or self-help, or other categories which are generally not for teens or younger readers. And although I'm confident that the content of my stories will remain largely PG, I can experiment with writing styles that may be better appreciated by older audiences.

Please bear with me as I figure out this whole web-presence thing. I am not that savvy with social media yet, and it's even tougher hosting my own site. Maybe it's pride that makes me go down this route instead of just being patient and pursuing traditional publishing. But I like the freedom of doing things this way, and this is currently the easiest method I know to share my creations with those of you who might enjoy them.

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