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tokyo_vamp
Jan 17, 2015

poisoned by cowboy killers

Sundae posted:

Yeah, if you're going to do this, it's almost certainly going to be through channels other than what this thread thinks of as standard sales channels (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Google) with different tactics as well. I just don't know enough about other approaches to offer any advice with them, I'm afraid. Sorry. :(

nah that's chill. thinking about it more its def a thing that, while technically the same thing, functions way differently and has a completely different purpose overall (since making a living from poetry requires a bigger variety of sources than just book sales)

thanks though

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Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.





ibts posted:

nah that's chill. thinking about it more its def a thing that, while technically the same thing, functions way differently and has a completely different purpose overall (since making a living from poetry requires a bigger variety of sources than just book sales)

thanks though

If it helps, I read a year's best poetry anthology a few months back and every single contributor was also a professor, a translator, or both. I think there was one guy whose bio made a half-joking remark about being a kept man.

Though I guess "marry a rich person who will put up with your poo poo" is technically a pretty good self-pubbing strategy.

Trustworthy
Dec 28, 2004

with catte-like thread
upon our prey we steal


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Though I guess "marry a rich person who will put up with your poo poo" is technically a pretty good self-pubbing strategy.

Ahhh, the writer's Golden Rule

POOL IS CLOSED
Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.


Pillbug

It works for me, I recommend it

oliveoil
Apr 22, 2016


Do people really hate all the channels that aren't Amazon? I mean, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Apple, Smashwords, etc. should all have search engines which you can influence by setting title and blurbs with the right keywords, encouraging easy reviewers to leave reviews, doing a mailing list blast to get a surge of readers early in your launch when it's most important.

Is the problem with non-Amazon places that they just don't have the number of customers to compete? Because I could accept that Amazon has more readers than, say, Kobo or Smashwords, but Apple and Google are huge companies and I would expect their stores to have just as many customers as Amazon. So what am I missing?

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


My Apple sales have been outperforming Amazon the last few months.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

oliveoil posted:

Do people really hate all the channels that aren't Amazon? I mean, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Apple, Smashwords, etc. should all have search engines which you can influence by setting title and blurbs with the right keywords, encouraging easy reviewers to leave reviews, doing a mailing list blast to get a surge of readers early in your launch when it's most important.

Is the problem with non-Amazon places that they just don't have the number of customers to compete? Because I could accept that Amazon has more readers than, say, Kobo or Smashwords, but Apple and Google are huge companies and I would expect their stores to have just as many customers as Amazon. So what am I missing?

The main thing is that to have your book on Kindle Unlimited, it must be exclusive to Amazon. The KU contract is 3 months, so in theory you could put new releases onto KU for only 3 months, then publish them elsewhere afterward. A huge chunk of my money comes from KU.

I've experimented with this just a little bit on my 1.5-year-old erotica catalog. The whole catalog on Amazon is still pulling in about $80/month, and on Draft2Dgitial--which is like 3-4 of the wide markets all together--it has made $141.96 in a year. Looking at this now and thinking it over, I bet my erotica would have earned more than $141.96 over a year just from the extra few KU page reads.

I'm still considering pulling out some of my really old shifter romance and putting it wide just to see if it does anything. I haven't tried romance wide yet, and I definitely have some older romance books that make next to 0 dollars on KU at this point.

You can tell though that non-Amazon markets are kind of like squeezing out a cloth to get whatever is left in there more than a primary strategy.

edit: I have nothing to back this up, but I HIGHLY suspect that when a book is not in KU, that Amazon rigs the ranking algorithms against it. They would never admit they do this, but they have every incentive to do it. They probably make exceptions to trad pubbed books on this, but for indies that don't enroll in KU, I bet you they just weight the algorithms really hard against you.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

oliveoil posted:

Do people really hate all the channels that aren't Amazon? I mean, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Apple, Smashwords, etc. should all have search engines which you can influence by setting title and blurbs with the right keywords, encouraging easy reviewers to leave reviews, doing a mailing list blast to get a surge of readers early in your launch when it's most important.

Is the problem with non-Amazon places that they just don't have the number of customers to compete? Because I could accept that Amazon has more readers than, say, Kobo or Smashwords, but Apple and Google are huge companies and I would expect their stores to have just as many customers as Amazon. So what am I missing?

They just flat out don't have as many readers as Amazon. I still make decent cash from my old short stories and novels on B&N, Apple and Google Play, but for that big first month cash Amazon is still king. I enroll all my new books into Kindle Unlimited and then reassess them once the 90 day exclusivity period is up. If they're still doing decent numbers from Page Reads or are part of an ongoing series, I'll leave 'em in. If the page reads are drying up, I upload them everywhere else.

The thing with Amazon is that books tend to burn brighter but fade faster due to the way their algorithms promote newer releases. I'd be very unlikely to match Amazon money on a new release on all the other sites combined, but my older stuff makes vastly more money on the other sites than they do on Amazon.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



One of the people on my ARC list says Amazon won't let him leave a review because he's spent less than $50 with them, which I've never heard of before? My best friend made an account from scratch just to give me a review and had no problems at all.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm getting into the home stretch on my second novel and have polished my first few chapters to where I'm happy with them. I was thinking about adding a preview chapter to the back-matter of my first novel, but I'm not sure when I'll be ready to publish the new one.

Is it better to get it out there ahead of time, or only once I've got a month or so before the new one is released?

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


I am working on a new Fiction Advice Thread OP, and I am including information about self publishing (because duh). I'm linking to this thread, but I would also really like to include an introduction/overview/basic advice/other things you think I should.

I found this recent post from Sundae, but I think there is more to to say to people who have perhaps never seriously considered self-publishing. First post here is great, but I'm not sure if there are important updates after KU 2.0 and all.

Sundae posted:

The super easy dirt-poor beginners' guide to self-publishing

#1 - Figure out what genre you want to write.
#2 - Start reading that genre if you don't already do so.
#3 - Come up with your idea and apply the general genre identification questions from the OP to it.
#4 - Write something for that genre. Finish the first complete draft.
#5 - Do not publish it yet.
#6 - Come back when you finish it and talk to the thread again about your newly-finished draft.


Yes, there are more steps after #6. They don't matter right now. There is absolutely no reason to start getting concerned about marketing, publishing approaches, release schedules, etc, when you haven't written anything.


None of the answers to this matter until you've written something. No offense intended to you specifically, but people post a lot of questions in this thread and contact people over PM / e-mail asking for advice about publishing, and a lot of them have nothing written at all and never come back with a finished work even after people give tons of marketing advice. Write something, then come back and talk publishing. :)

FWIW, I spent about 1k words on trad pub, and covered these topics:
1) guess what, getting traditionally published almost certainly won't make you rich (or famous)
2) pros/cons of traditional publishing
3) You think there are a lot of publishers, but there are really only 5 who put out most of the books
4) how to get an agent
5) what happens after you get an agent (people really want to know this before they have written a book??)

No matter what I'm going to do something similar for self-pub, but honestly I will be doing my best to piece together what I "know," what's in the OP, and what's been posted in here recently. I would really like to get y'all's perspectives and deep, up-to-date knowledge instead. I know writing this stuff up takes time & effort, and I would be very grateful to get your input.

Thanks! :)

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at 06:39 on Jan 20, 2017

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


I had nearly forgotten that some of my books were still on Smashwords, and today I was notified I'd gotten some royalties. It's almost like free money.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Hijinks Ensue posted:

I had nearly forgotten that some of my books were still on Smashwords, and today I was notified I'd gotten some royalties. It's almost like free money.

Oh hey $650 :getin: I always forget when Smashwords money is due, it's always a nice surprise.

E: and it is free money, really. It's completely passive income that I have to do nothing to maintain. I upload my books there, forget about them, and get some money every few months.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 11:53 on Jan 21, 2017

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



So KU is exclusive for 6 months then after tha time is up, you can keep it there and throw it on smashwords too?

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

simplefish posted:

So KU is exclusive for 6 months then after tha time is up, you can keep it there and throw it on smashwords too?

Each KU term is 90 days exclusivity. They're sneaky and the default setting is for it to automatically re-enroll, so every time you publish go in there and untick that box. When the end of the term rolls around, take a look at your page reads, and decide if you wanna throw it out to the other sites.

https://www.smashwords.com

https://www.draft2digital.com

Those are the two biggest ones, Smashwords distributes to more places but most of them make me absolutely nothing. D2D has a much nicer interface but takes a slightly bigger cut. I tend to just upload on both - I'm not sure if this means my books are double-listed, but I don't really care. I just fire and forget.

If you're in the US you can upload to Barnes and Noble yourself, and if you have a Mac you can upload to Apple yourself. Kobo also has its own self-pub interface that's quite slick.

There's lots of talk in the Romance community recently about actually building your entire strategy around NOT being in KU, but I still think for most people starting out it's easier to get more eyeballs on your work by enrolling for at least one term.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 13:00 on Jan 21, 2017

Trustworthy
Dec 28, 2004

with catte-like thread
upon our prey we steal


It might be worth mentioning that going wide recently lost a little more of its appeal for romance writers when ARE imploded. Quite a few authors lost a decent source of non-Amazon self-pub income because Lori James turned out to be an incompetent chucklefuck.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:


No matter what I'm going to do something similar for self-pub, but honestly I will be doing my best to piece together what I "know," what's in the OP, and what's been posted in here recently. I would really like to get y'all's perspectives and deep, up-to-date knowledge instead. I know writing this stuff up takes time & effort, and I would be very grateful to get your input.

Thanks! :)

I'll put together some of the basics (based on what I know) for reasons, etc etc. The stuff in the OP is out of date (except for the examples of bad covers, which remain bad to this day). :)

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


Sundae posted:

I'll put together some of the basics (based on what I know) for reasons, etc etc. The stuff in the OP is out of date (except for the examples of bad covers, which remain bad to this day). :)

Thank you! I'm so glad I can include real, expert advice.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

Thank you! I'm so glad I can include real, expert advice.

Fixed that for you. :haw:

I think I'm real, at least. Not sure about that part lately.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

"It's time....to DIE!"


Albert Einstein posted:

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



Anyone else finding Amazon's been down for about 24 hours now? Or is that just in Australia?

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




It is up for me, but I noticed my page reads are low today.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



First 30 days after launch - not exactly sinking like a stone, but nor was it enough to come anywhere near recouping the cost of cover & ads:


(OK I don't know why Tinypic isn't working but basically I sold 15 on January 6, 17 on January 29 and averaged around 3 or 4 a day the rest of the time.)

I only paid for four promotional email newsletters - Readfreely, AskDavid, Freebooksy and AwesomeGang - because I wanted to see if this thing had legs at all before spending too much money. The Jan 6 spike is Freebooksy; I don't think the others had any noticeable effect. I have no idea what caused the spike on January 29; I did come back from holiday and start scheduling the AskDavid tweets that are sent out through @book_tribe but I'm sceptical as to how effective that is.

Anyway, it's a six part series and my plan is to make Book 1 free for a couple weeks every time I release a new book. Book 2 is scheduled for March 1. So this time I think I'll go much harder on the email newsletter promotion spending (especially since so many of them want your book to be free, which it now will be).

freebooter fucked around with this message at 23:25 on Jan 31, 2017

oliveoil
Apr 22, 2016


How much do those paid email newsletters charge and how many people do they message?

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




Did anyone else just get one 1099 from amazon this year? I normally get a pile of them.

Arkanomen
May 6, 2007

All he wants is a hug


The Fuzzy Hulk posted:

Did anyone else just get one 1099 from amazon this year? I normally get a pile of them.

Lumped ours together too. I didn't even notice it until I looked at the bottom of the list and saw the 2016 label on it.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Thank loving god if I don't have to file one for every loving region!!!

POOL IS CLOSED
Jul 14, 2011

I'm just exploding with mackerel. This is the aji wo kutta of my discontent.


Pillbug

Just the one, hallelujah.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


The Fuzzy Hulk posted:

Did anyone else just get one 1099 from amazon this year? I normally get a pile of them.

I haven't received any from them yet. B&N got me my amazing Nook earnings AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA in record time, though.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




That is amazing. I put everything in KDP so my entire tax forms this year are going to be one 1099 from Amazon and one from Audible. I will be able to file from my phone for fucks sake. I might even do it today.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



oliveoil posted:

How much do those paid email newsletters charge and how many people do they message?

Depends. Freebooksy /Bargainbooksy - the only one I noticed a bump from - charges $25 for horror and up to $125 for romance, but their subscriber list varies accordingly. The horror list had 58,000 subscribers. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/

I also found this list of book promotion sites/newsletters/mailing lists, and since a bunch of them are free I suppose you don't stand to lose anything except time: http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites

When somebody does eventually make a new thread for this, a section about from-scratch promotion and marketing would be great - that's been the most overwhelming step of the process by far for me.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




Got an email today...

Hello,

We recently discovered a technical error that caused an incorrect amount to be reported on your 2016 1099-MISC form.

To securely download the amended form, follow the steps below:
1. Sign into your KDP Account: http://kdp.amazon.com
2. Click “(Your Name)’s Account” at the top
3. Scroll to “Tax Information”
4. Click “View/Provide Tax Information”
5. Scroll to the “Year-end tax forms” section
6. Click the “Find Forms” button
7. Click “Download”


Well, poo poo. I just filed my taxes yesterday, and now it turns out they were wrong. Only by about 50 bucks for box 2 (royalties) difference, but still.

Fleetwood
Mar 26, 2010


biggest hochul head in china


How much do you all spend on editing services for short works and lengthy manuscripts?

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

freebooter posted:

Depends. Freebooksy /Bargainbooksy - the only one I noticed a bump from - charges $25 for horror and up to $125 for romance, but their subscriber list varies accordingly. The horror list had 58,000 subscribers. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/

I also found this list of book promotion sites/newsletters/mailing lists, and since a bunch of them are free I suppose you don't stand to lose anything except time: http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites

When somebody does eventually make a new thread for this, a section about from-scratch promotion and marketing would be great - that's been the most overwhelming step of the process by far for me.

I think the main issue with this thread being a catch-all advice place (especially the OP) is that it's going to vary so wildly from genre to genre. Bargainbooksy gets me close to 100 sales at $0.99 for $80 (romantic suspense list). The $25 horror list? I have no idea at all. Does it do anything? Who knows? I never have used it and never will. How many people in this thread are using BB's horror list often enough to report in here to keep the OP updated about how well it performs?

People generally don't like giving out free, tangible advice. Something in my brain is broken to where I compulsively enjoy helping people on poo poo like this. Even that though usually feels like it bites me in the rear end. Most people are never going to actually follow your advice properly or do the work required to make stuff work how it's supposed to, and anyone spending a ton of time and effort to keep an OP updated is doing a lot of work for basically no payoff. Even if people do follow the advice, the reward is possibly that you've created a competitor for yourself. I generally try to make sure that people I'm giving free help/advice to are going to feel indebted to me enough that if they ever become successful they will "owe me" and at least swap newsletters with me or otherwise share stuff they are finding out with me later on.

What would need to happen for a really good OP to this thread would be someone like Yooper posting a detailed write-up of how he sells/markets his military scifi stuff. Then if we have an actual successful "guy in fedora fighting ctuhlhu" author, that author would need to do a writeup as well. Every few months we'd have to get those write-ups updated, as what works changes pretty quickly over short periods of time. I doubt that Yooper or anyone other than me would want to do this. I doubt that I'd even want to do it really. I'm fine typing up huge loving walls of text (because I can do it insanely fast without any real effort) to help people one-on-one, or typing up walls of more generic advice ITT, but I don't want to just throw up a free "This is how I make a poo poo load of money every month writing" post on SA for people to just gently caress it up anyway. I'm guessing others who are making this work for themselves feel about the same.

The more I think about this, the more I think you really want to explore traditional publishing as much as possible for any genre that isn't profitable in self-pub. I'd personally get more satisfaction out of one of my sci-fi shorts being published in Clarke's World or Lightspeed and getting like $300-$1000 from it (or even $0) than I would self-pubbing it and having it make like $3,000.

If your goal is to just feel like your writing itself is good and successful, having a mid-to-high-tier publication accepting it and publishing it is going to be more satisfying than self-pubbing it. Self-pubbing stuff that isn't just targeting lucrative markets is almost always just going to be like 10-20 sales on your best days, and then the book is dead forever. How many people ITT have had an experience like that? You self-pubbed, very few people bought your book, you made it free, and then still very few people even downloaded it. It's now like rank 1 million on Amazon and might as well not even be published because no one sees it ever? That is unfortunately going to be the outcome for most self-pubbed books, even ones that you market and get good covers for.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 18:48 on Feb 4, 2017

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



angel opportunity posted:

What would need to happen for a really good OP to this thread would be someone like Yooper posting a detailed write-up of how he sells/markets his military scifi stuff. Then if we have an actual successful "guy in fedora fighting ctuhlhu" author, that author would need to do a writeup as well. Every few months we'd have to get those write-ups updated, as what works changes pretty quickly over short periods of time. I doubt that Yooper or anyone other than me would want to do this. I doubt that I'd even want to do it really. I'm fine typing up huge loving walls of text (because I can do it insanely fast without any real effort) to help people one-on-one, or typing up walls of more generic advice ITT, but I don't want to just throw up a free "This is how I make a poo poo load of money every month writing" post on SA for people to just gently caress it up anyway. I'm guessing others who are making this work for themselves feel about the same.

I could, but realistically I'd just be restating the theme of the thread.

1. Research your niche.
2. Does it make money? No? Are you Ok with that? No? Find a new niche.
3. Find out what works in said profitable niche.
4. Write your book.
5. Pay someone else with some artistic ability to do the cover. Don't make your own cover
6. Hire someone else to give it a basic edit. Don't do your own edit.
7. Look at the top 100 books in your niche and model your blurb after them.
8. Drop like $75 on lovely ad campaigns before launch. I doubt it matters much.
9. Enroll in KU. Price your poo poo near everyone elses poo poo. Maybe a bit less, but not dumpster low.
10. Publish.
11. This is the most important loving step you goddamned mouthbreathers. Go back to step 1 and do it all over again.

To answer a few basic questions.

No. Short story collections don't sell.
No. If you can't define a niche it won't sell. Amazon isn't a loving store it's a search engine. If you can't define it, no one can find it to buy it.
No. Your cover looks like poo poo.
No. Bookbub doesn't like you.
No. There is not an alternative to a mailing list and you should already have one.

If all else fails, sit down and loving write. This is a job, not a vocation. Work at it.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Yooper posted:

I could, but realistically I'd just be restating the theme of the thread.

1. Research your niche.
2. Does it make money? No? Are you Ok with that? No? Find a new niche.
3. Find out what works in said profitable niche.
4. Write your book.
5. Pay someone else with some artistic ability to do the cover. Don't make your own cover
6. Hire someone else to give it a basic edit. Don't do your own edit.
7. Look at the top 100 books in your niche and model your blurb after them.
8. Drop like $75 on lovely ad campaigns before launch. I doubt it matters much.
9. Enroll in KU. Price your poo poo near everyone elses poo poo. Maybe a bit less, but not dumpster low.
10. Publish.
11. This is the most important loving step you goddamned mouthbreathers. Go back to step 1 and do it all over again.

To answer a few basic questions.

No. Short story collections don't sell.
No. If you can't define a niche it won't sell. Amazon isn't a loving store it's a search engine. If you can't define it, no one can find it to buy it.
No. Your cover looks like poo poo.
No. Bookbub doesn't like you.
No. There is not an alternative to a mailing list and you should already have one.

If all else fails, sit down and loving write. This is a job, not a vocation. Work at it.

Really, this is all the OP needs to be. If you follow this advice, you should be able to at least make some money from writing. The real sticking point is that the vast majority of genres just aren't all that popular, especially the genres that Goons would typically choose to write in.

Here's the real secret to the easiest way to make money from writing - be a complete sellout and write what's popular in romance. If you asked me for the ONE BIG TIP, it would be that. It's still not easy, but it's the easiest.

The basic marketing stuff (promote any way you can, book newsletters, send ARCs) is easy, but once you start getting down to brass tacks with it (Facebook Ad advice, detailed launch strategies, and so on) then the information starts to become quite valuable, monetarily. There are plenty of people out there making a decent living from providing those services. Someone on the romance author Slack I'm in charges $300 to setup your FB Ads for you, and he's not short of business.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 07:04 on Feb 5, 2017

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

I'm hearing on the grapevine that the Bookreport dude and Amazon have come to an agreement, giving him access to the KDP API, meaning that Bookreport is now going to be able to give us lifetime data.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Yeah, someone I know is beta testing it I think and said the same. Pretty awesome :D

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010




angel opportunity posted:

Yeah, someone I know is beta testing it I think and said the same. Pretty awesome :D

Omg that would be amazing. I need to go talk to my beta guy.

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n8r
Jul 3, 2003

I helped Lowtax become a cyborg and all I got was this lousy avatar

I know this is outside of typical self-publishing, but does anyone have experience with the Publish to Kindle system? This is part of vendorcentral which is I think aimed toward the indy publisher. We are able to set a 'Digital List Price' - we are then paid 40% of that digital list price. Amazon gets to decide what the actual price of the book is.

So here is a typical scenario:
$12.95 print and DLP
Amazon discounts the eBook to $7.13 - we are still paid 40% of $12.95

We also have some of our books on createspace - in this situation if we set the price to $9.99 - we get paid $6.57 (4mb eBook file) - this price does not get discounted.

We have a real mish-mash of listing some of these books on P2K and some on KDP. Should we be listing our titles on P2K - maybe give up some per book $$, but they get sold for cheaper? These are non-fiction fairly unique / niche books (about dogs) - I am not sure how price sensitive the customer really is.

There is also the other factor that we have our books on the other larger platforms: B&N/Apple/Kobo/Google - these all have different pricing wrinkles - depending on where it goes, the prices might need to be different.

Another thing that we have really struggled with is our title Metadata. Management (primarily me) has not done a very good job staying on top of how our books look / descriptive content across all platforms. It is now a mess - is it better to move to ONIX? Should we just go in and tune up each book on each platform by hand? Depending on how you slice it we're talking about ~200 titles or so.

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