I posted a Privacy Policy on the site.

Yes, I realize it’s a little late for my European visitors. You may have concerns under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). I hope that the strength of the policy compensates for its delay. Better late than never.

I based the policy on guidance from Automattic and plugin developers. Many thanks for the customized Privacy Guide they provided.

There is a lot of legal language, as you might expect. But here’s the short, plain description of MichaelMcCallister.com’s privacy policy.

  • Above all, I created this website for communication between me, my readers, and past, present, and future colleagues and editors.
  • Aside from your public comments on posts like this, and private submissions via my contact form, I won’t keep anything you might do here.
  • I am interested in learning what topics interest visitors here, and allow Google Analytics to track and report anonymous results to me.
  • I have no interest in anything else you do on the Internet.
  • Most importantly, I have no intention of ever turning my visitors into my product.¬†That will never change.

If you have questions or concerns about anything in the privacy policy, comment on this post, or write privacy@michaelmccallister.com. I will read it and respond quickly.

Thanks for visiting!

Respectfully,

Michael McCallister

I’ve got a new tutorial on Elasticsearch up at WPMUDev. If your WordPress site is incredibly large, and your users complain about it being difficult to use search to find things, this cloud-based search tool can speed things up.

You’ll learn how to set up Elasticsearch and configure two plugins (ElasticPress and Fantastic Elasticsearch) to connect your site to the search engine.

Using Local by Flywheel

Preparing tutorials and plugin reviews like this one can be hard, what with switching things in and out to see what works, and how. I’ve been using the new free development site builder from hosting company Flywheel, called Local. They use VirtualBox to create a virtual machine for WordPress. After installation, you can set up any number of WordPress sites. Big plus: When you launch any of your configured sites in a browser, you login with the credentials you provide to Local. When you’re done with your testing, just delete the site and get on with your next project.

Local is an interesting product and easy to play with. While it really was created for plugin developers to see how their tools work in a real environment, it’s good for folks like me who like to test a variety of other people’s themes and plugins too.

LocalFlywheel.png
Setting up WordPress test sites is easy with Local by Flywheel

By the way, I’m always looking for new WordPress story ideas. If there’s something you’d like to learn about WordPress, leave a public comment here or use the Contact page to connect privately. I aim to answer all emails I get through the website.

Dirty secret: It wasn’t that long ago that I didn’t know what an “indie writer” was. That’s changed in the last year or so, in part thanks to IndieReCon, a free online conference that I first “attended” last year.

This three-day conference is back for a third year, and it’s just as great as I remember last year’s was. It’s a shame I didn’t blog about last year’s event, but I’ll try to make up for it.

What is IndieReCon?

IndieReCon is organized by and mostly for writers interested in, or actively involved with independent self-publishing. That said, there’s a ton of information and inspiration available to traditionally-published and as-yet-unpublished writers.

The conference delivers a variety of speakers in a variety of methods to accommodate the variety of writers (and Internet connection speeds). Consider what I watched on today’s schedule:

Self-Promotion Discouraged

Most sessions last an hour, and several have giveaways associated with the speaker.¬† Now some of you might think that each session is more about marketing the speaker and accompanying products and services. I’ve been through a few of those types of webinar series, and really appreciate that the organizers (this year led by the British-based Alliance for Independent Authors) put an emphasis on the value for the audience. The de-emphasis of self-promotion is so strong, you have to hunt for the sponsor’s website (down at the bottom of the About page, if you want to know)!

Coming Attractions, and Reviewing the Archives

Thursday offers a bunch of practical sessions on self-publishing and reviews of the state of the international self-publishing scene. Here are some of the sessions that I’ll be checking into:

Friday features more “state of the scene” sessions, using Pinterest and live coverage of the London Book Fair Fringe Fest.

Miss an event? It’s all recorded and available to you. You can even access past years’ content under All Events > Archive.

I’ll say it again: If you are considering self-publishing, you’ve got to check this out. If you expect to make a living as a writer, you’ll learn a lot of great stuff. See you over there!