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gerg_861
Jan 2, 2009


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

If you want to open up options at more newsletters, getting the requisite positive reviews is pretty easy with ARCs. In fact, you can use Booksprout to basically automate it. I think it costs $20 a month, but you just post your book and they find the reviewers. It's probably the next best thing to curating your own ARC list.

For the third book in the series, you should also consider a sale on books one and two, then drive traffic with ads/newsletters to the first book. If you have a mailing list you can probably arrange promo swaps with other authors in the same genre. Bookfunnel has a built in system for that which might be useful to you.

Just wanted to loop back to say that the booksprout advice was solid. I didn't get huge numbers of people taking my book to ARC from there, but two thirds of those who did left a review. Outside of booksprout, I gave away about 30 other ARCs through Librarything, and a few other sites, but have received zero reviews from those. I would say though that spending $20 on the upgraded option of Booksprout was massively too optimistic, and I would have been fine saving the money there.

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KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

freebooter posted:

Just snagged a Bookbub (international-only) for July 7 for my 3000-word box set which last Bookbubbed on Christmas to great effect. I was going to launch Vampire this week before going on a trip to Europe but now I'm wondering if I'd be better off waiting...? I have no clue how the algorithms work and whether I'd be better off launching before, same day as, or just after.

How's the BB going?

I wish I would've checked this thread a couple days ago. I've had 2 BBs in the past, and launched books (in the same series) on the same day as the BB with great results. I would say definitely launch the new Vampire book this week. You should get a pretty decent bump.

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


Question about ISBNs.

I've got a two-book series (I'd call it a duology, but that sounds like a medical procedure), and I'm making a box set version. Currently each book has its own ISBN. Should there be a separate ISBN for the box set?

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Okay, so I started dipping my toe into BB ads this week. A friend of mine is helping mentor me so I don't blow through my daily budget in like 15 minutes (like the last two times I've tried running BB ads). They seem to convert really well? Like, better than AMS? But also it seems like I have to check on them every hour or so, or risk losing my shirt.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Hijinks Ensue posted:

Question about ISBNs.

I've got a two-book series (I'd call it a duology, but that sounds like a medical procedure), and I'm making a box set version. Currently each book has its own ISBN. Should there be a separate ISBN for the box set?

I don't do anything with actual ISBNs, but if they're anything like ASINs or other identifiers, then yes, it will need its own ISBN.


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Okay, so I started dipping my toe into BB ads this week. A friend of mine is helping mentor me so I don't blow through my daily budget in like 15 minutes (like the last two times I've tried running BB ads). They seem to convert really well? Like, better than AMS? But also it seems like I have to check on them every hour or so, or risk losing my shirt.

If you're spending your budget quickly then you could just reduce your CPM bids so it spends slower. The CPM bids are usually a better value than the CPC bids.

Duuk
Sep 4, 2006

Victorious, he returned to us, claiming that he had slain the drought where even Orlanth could not. The god-talkers were not sure what to make of this.

I self-pubbed something about five years ago and got very reasonable, helpful feedback from you guys on why it was a spectacular nonsuccess.

I have now (yes) found a little time to look at it again. I had a scroll of the old thread to remind me what you said. I went back and read the book again, because I had forgotten the details - being only 42k words, it took me a whole two evenings. I am at peace with it. It's good. However, it does need a line edit - many commas would be better off as sentence breaks - and it desperately needs a new cover. The old one wasn't good to begin with, meanwhile the standards have become something else entirely in the past five years.

Here's a jab at the cover:



The second cover has a quote from the one (and only) review the book has on amazon.com. Is that too cheeky? If it is not too cheeky, am I presenting it correctly, or does having just the url imply Jeff himself said so?

The blurb was also considered to not "pop" enough. How about this?

quote:

After decades of decay, a vast city in space is on the brink of failure. Three generations of exile have been unkind to it. Recently, its inhabitants have been increasingly unkind towards each other, also.

The age-old standoff between the Kingpin and the Captain is flaring up again. New gangs and cults seem to be sprouting from the panel gaps, spewing threats and unhinged promises. To top it off, a string of brutal murders has left everybody wondering who's next. The populace is on the brink of panic.

When coincidence lands Private Investigator Roderick Johnson on the heels of the killer, he might have a chance to curb the chaos. However, he has to pick his footing carefully. The meek, the mighty and the mad that dwell here are no more forgiving than the wretch who's gone around stabbing people in the night. It would be easier with better leads and more in his stomach than grim determination. It would be safer to just stay at home, because in the rotting bowels of Space Station Gehenna, a determined man will find more conflict than he bargained for.

I assume I can go in, do a line edit and reupload the book without changing anything in the actual listing and losing the existing review?
Any good resources for keywords past https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201216150 ?

As you might suspect, I don't expect to make any money five years after launch. I would just like to do justice to the effort that went into it at the time. Two evenings of reading, a few hours of photoshop and a few hours more for the line edit seems like a fair price for feeling good about it.

If there is something obvious that I could do with a small investment of time and no investment of money that might help people find the drat thing, it would of course be appreciated, but I understand it's much too late for effort. I have followed the thread enough to see the basics repeated. Booksprout looks very interesting and I wish I'd had something like it on hand back then. I don't expect them to be interested in a fresh edit of some old nonseller, even if the little feedback I got on it was positive.

Time does bloody fly, doesn't it. Based on what I read here, one needs to write 4-6 books per year to expect long term success. I've had another, unrelated book(series) in the works. It took me a month-long holiday to write the bulk of the first installment, but it has now been sitting for two years because I haven't had one more free week to clean up the timeline (need to rewrite one chapter with the same action but more appropriate timing) and edit. An hour in the evening after work is OK for doodling in photoshop or replacing commas with dots, but not enough to get indepth. Maybe I'll have time to do this properly when I'm retired. Only a few decades to go.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003







Fallen Rib

I think you'd need to cite the reviewer and not the website it's on. They'll do you up for misrepresenting an endorsement.

Duuk
Sep 4, 2006

Victorious, he returned to us, claiming that he had slain the drought where even Orlanth could not. The god-talkers were not sure what to make of this.

Paramemetic posted:

I think you'd need to cite the reviewer and not the website it's on. They'll do you up for misrepresenting an endorsement.

I suspected as much, thanks. Someone's username just seemed like a strange thing to put on there. I guess it's no quote then.

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


I'd just straight up go with a quote from your mom, citing her as "My mom", over that, tbh.

Duuk
Sep 4, 2006

Victorious, he returned to us, claiming that he had slain the drought where even Orlanth could not. The god-talkers were not sure what to make of this.

Unfortunately my mother has passed, but I'll be sure to ask yours for a quote next time I see her.

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


Well, that's certainly a way to reply to a suggestion of "if you're putting a recommendation from someone who has zero authority for the potential reader, might as well lampshade it in a cheeky manner and make it your immediate family".

Good luck with the book.

Duuk
Sep 4, 2006

Victorious, he returned to us, claiming that he had slain the drought where even Orlanth could not. The god-talkers were not sure what to make of this.

If that was a serious suggestion, my response may have been too charged. I would argue a "quote" from someone obviously biased in my favour seems terribly out of place on the cover of a noir murder mystery. It might ring better on something lighthearted, give viewers a taste of the humour.

It has been established that the quote will be omitted. The url is too general and would be misconstrued. Calling a (non-professional) reader out by username for reviewing the story feels outlandishly inappropriate, in addition to looking strange.

As far as authority goes - ignoring the problems above for the sake of discussion - if reviews from the general reader base were without value, ARCs would not be a thing. Obviously it's a very small scale operation with this particular book and just the one review, which is why I suspected it might be too cheeky. But the review itself is real. My friends and relatives don't know I dabble. Among the many things I did wrong during launch was not marketing at all and not sending out any ARCs. I've seen in the thread that one should expect a hit rate of 1/5000 for spontaneous reviews and these will probably be negative. The fact that someone bothered to come back and say nice things, considering the very small amount of copies moved, is nothing short of astounding by that metric. Sure, not very powerful as a marketing tool, but I never expected to make any money (see mistakes made during launch again). Given this and other trickles of feedback, I'm just delighted some people liked it.

Edit: Enough of that, do you think the cover is alright?

Duuk fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Jul 23, 2019

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Duuk posted:


Edit: Enough of that, do you think the cover is alright?

Nope.

Danger Slut
Sep 11, 2001


I'm nearing the completion of my first book which is a travel guide, I've already had it edited and now I just need to format it for epub/print. As a first time author is this easy enough to do ? Is caliber a good tool for formatting?

I'm also at the point where I need to start the cover design process, are the recommendations in the OP still the best options? Moreover if I have a specific image i'd like to have on the cover is it something I should attempt to design on my own as someone with 0 photoshop experience? or should I just spend the money to get a great cover?

Danger Slut fucked around with this message at 14:19 on Jul 24, 2019

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Danger Slut posted:

I'm nearing the completion of my first book which is a travel guide, I've already had it edited and now I just need to format it for epub/print. As a first time author is this easy enough to do ? Is caliber a good tool for formatting?

I'm also at the point where I need to start the cover design process, are the recommendations in the OP still the best options? Moreover if I have a specific image i'd like to have on the cover is it something I should attempt to design on my own as someone with 0 photoshop experience? or should I just spend the money to get a great cover?

nooooo, just pay someone to do it

If ever you think 'should I attempt to bodge, cheap out on, or generally halfass my cover' in any way, the answer is ALWAYS no. The cover is the single most important thing you have to market your book and entice people to buy it.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 14:41 on Jul 24, 2019

divabot
Jun 17, 2015


seconded. unless you are literally a graphic designer ... find an artist friend you trust, and pay them.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I'm literally a graphic designer and I'm going to have someone else do my book cover.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Danger Slut posted:

I'm nearing the completion of my first book which is a travel guide, I've already had it edited and now I just need to format it for epub/print. As a first time author is this easy enough to do ? Is caliber a good tool for formatting?

I'm also at the point where I need to start the cover design process, are the recommendations in the OP still the best options? Moreover if I have a specific image i'd like to have on the cover is it something I should attempt to design on my own as someone with 0 photoshop experience? or should I just spend the money to get a great cover?

Calibre is a good tool for touching up formatting, ime. I use it to add/change backmatter and tables of content. I haven't tried to format a book, whole-cloth, in Calibre, so it could possibly be fine for that.

Another option for quick/cheap ebook formatting is running your manuscript through the set-up process at Draft2Digital. It's free, and you don't have to actually *publish* the book on their platform, but you can still download a formatted ebook copy of your manuscript during the process, which you can then upload to Amazon/Kobo/whatever. This is what I do, and it works fantastically if you're okay with not having a completely custom interior.

e: using D2D will also let you format your book into a paperback.

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Danger Slut posted:

I'm nearing the completion of my first book which is a travel guide, I've already had it edited and now I just need to format it for epub/print. As a first time author is this easy enough to do ? Is caliber a good tool for formatting?

If you're on a Mac, the gold standard for formatting as far as I've been able to suss out is Vellum. It is however, spendy if you're not planning to publish more books/formats.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



And, uh, what might the silver standard be?

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



feedmyleg posted:

And, uh, what might the silver standard be?

Every answer I've ever gotten from publishers, self-published authors, etc has been "Just use Vellum". We bought Vellum.

Some cover artists will also format your book for you though so keep in mind you may not need to do all of the formatting yourself.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Hm. I've designed books for print before, just never an ebook. I assume that I won't be able to just brush off my languishing InDesign skills for this.

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




I remember hearing, back when vellum came out, that their process resulted in books with more kindle unlimited pages in them for the same number of words, netting authors a bigger slice of the KU pie.

Not sure if thatís still true.

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


I guess I'd try Draft 2 Digital first and see if that doesn't cover all of your needs without needing to pay $199 for Vellum.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015


feedmyleg posted:

Hm. I've designed books for print before, just never an ebook. I assume that I won't be able to just brush off my languishing InDesign skills for this.

i mean, you need a cover that will look good at 160x100 and at 3200x2000

and maybe you'll need to tone the colours down from RGB to mere CMYK

and allow for createspace's Satanic ideas on how to print colours, wherein my own book has been various shades from blue to green for the same original image

Spokes
Jan 9, 2010

Thanks for a MONSTER of an avatar, Awful Survivor Mods!

Scrivener (which used to have a very generous trial period, unsure if it still does) and Kindle Create are both just fine for formatting, very Silver Standardy

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



divabot posted:

i mean, you need a cover that will look good at 160x100 and at 3200x2000

and maybe you'll need to tone the colours down from RGB to mere CMYK

and allow for createspace's Satanic ideas on how to print colours, wherein my own book has been various shades from blue to green for the same original image

Ah, I meant interior layout and design. But looking at Draft 2 Digital I don't want to give up that much control, so I'll either look at Scrivener's tools or just bite the bullet on the pricey one.

Danger Slut
Sep 11, 2001


Spokes posted:

Scrivener (which used to have a very generous trial period, unsure if it still does) and Kindle Create are both just fine for formatting, very Silver Standardy

Awesome I'll check out all the recommendations from the thread, I'm assuming formatting isn't too hard .

No one seemed to answer my question about who to choose to design my cover, are the recommendations in the first post still the best options, or are there other preferred people or companies?

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Danger Slut posted:

Awesome I'll check out all the recommendations from the thread, I'm assuming formatting isn't too hard .

No one seemed to answer my question about who to choose to design my cover, are the recommendations in the first post still the best options, or are there other preferred people or companies?
Post the image you want on your cover and I'll tell you whether it's a good idea or not, for firstly

Duuk
Sep 4, 2006

Victorious, he returned to us, claiming that he had slain the drought where even Orlanth could not. The god-talkers were not sure what to make of this.


Sigh. Thanks.

I cannot in good sense justify a budget of more than zero for this endeavour, so I'll think over whether I want to spend/waste any more of my free time. It's a fun exercise coming up with the concepts but obviously I'm no professional.

Your stuff is excellent, by the way. In case I have something on my hands in the future that warrants spending, you'll be among the first people to bother.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I mean, that cover tells me it's set in space. If I were to read into it I'd say that the static-y quality feels very analog and implies a general sense of dread and unease. But that's not going to resonate in a thumbnail and it isn't compelling outside of that. Overall it just reads as "a story set in space."

Find a public domain space image you like and pay some poor sap on Fiverr or 99designs to add some text for next to nothing.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 09:06 on Jul 25, 2019

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

How's the BB going?

I wish I would've checked this thread a couple days ago. I've had 2 BBs in the past, and launched books (in the same series) on the same day as the BB with great results. I would say definitely launch the new Vampire book this week. You should get a pretty decent bump.

I was on a four-week family holiday in Europe and the Bookbub launched during that first week, so I was only keeping half an eye on it, but: not good. At least not as good as the US + International one I had on Christmas Eve. This one was International only. For the benefit of communal knowledge:

Book in question: 3,200 page box set normally priced at $9.99, dropping to 99c
US & international price: $356
US only price: $270
International only price: $86

Average daily income before Christmas Bookbub: $5
Average daily income through January: $150 (plus the $500 odd bucks I made on the Bookbub day itself)

Average daily income before July 7 international-only Bookbub: $20
Average daily income after July 7 international-only Bookbub: $45 (and only $100 on Bookbub day itself)

So I think the conclusion to draw is that US Bookbub is way more effective than International Bookbub (because that's where the Kindle users mostly are) but also that the prices fairly reflect that. I mean, I made back my $86, it just wasn't remotely the windfall Christmas was, and we are talking about the exact same book here.

On another note, my vampire book has sunk like a stone - out for a month and it's sold 4 copies and had maybe 2 KU borrows, for a grand total of $9.83, which includes after notifying my 100+ mailing list. Now that I'm back home and can get organised I think I'll do three free days next week to try to round up some reviews, and just spam it out to every free book newsletter under the sun. Annoyingly it just scrapes short of qualifying for a Bookbub, which wants a 150 page minimum while this one is 135.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Quite a few 4-5 figure a month authors have noticed a huge drop in revenue that started around Prime Days. Book ranks and Also Boughts are taking longer to update as well. So it's possible a book's recent poor performance isn't just due to the book itself.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

freebooter posted:

I was on a four-week family holiday in Europe and the Bookbub launched during that first week, so I was only keeping half an eye on it, but: not good. At least not as good as the US + International one I had on Christmas Eve. This one was International only. For the benefit of communal knowledge:

Book in question: 3,200 page box set normally priced at $9.99, dropping to 99c
US & international price: $356
US only price: $270
International only price: $86

Average daily income before Christmas Bookbub: $5
Average daily income through January: $150 (plus the $500 odd bucks I made on the Bookbub day itself)

Average daily income before July 7 international-only Bookbub: $20
Average daily income after July 7 international-only Bookbub: $45 (and only $100 on Bookbub day itself)

So I think the conclusion to draw is that US Bookbub is way more effective than International Bookbub (because that's where the Kindle users mostly are) but also that the prices fairly reflect that. I mean, I made back my $86, it just wasn't remotely the windfall Christmas was, and we are talking about the exact same book here.

On another note, my vampire book has sunk like a stone - out for a month and it's sold 4 copies and had maybe 2 KU borrows, for a grand total of $9.83, which includes after notifying my 100+ mailing list. Now that I'm back home and can get organised I think I'll do three free days next week to try to round up some reviews, and just spam it out to every free book newsletter under the sun. Annoyingly it just scrapes short of qualifying for a Bookbub, which wants a 150 page minimum while this one is 135.

Ah, yeah, international only can be a bust.

Have you tried using BookFunnel or Storyorigin to grow that mailing list? Getting some more people onboard and keeping them engaged should be a great help in future launches.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Quite a few 4-5 figure a month authors have noticed a huge drop in revenue that started around Prime Days. Book ranks and Also Boughts are taking longer to update as well. So it's possible a book's recent poor performance isn't just due to the book itself.

Hmm I didn't actually even think about that. Amazon's not really a Thing in Australia so I'm only vaguely of when it's doing stuff like Prime.


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Ah, yeah, international only can be a bust.

Have you tried using BookFunnel or Storyorigin to grow that mailing list? Getting some more people onboard and keeping them engaged should be a great help in future launches.

Bookfunnel is for sending out ARCs right? What's storyorigin?

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

freebooter posted:

Bookfunnel is for sending out ARCs right? What's storyorigin?

Bookfunnel can be used for sending out ARCs, yeah. But they also have user-hosted promos you can sign up to participate in. Here's an example of one:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/summer-read/sam2wsy6iu

if you click that link, you'll be taken to a page with a bunch of books on it. From there, you can elect to download copies of those books by signing up for that particular author's newsletter. As an author, it's a great way to grow your mailing list and introduce yourself to new readers. I usually get 100-200 new signups with every promo, and about 50% of those turn out to be solid newsletter readers, who, I'm guessing, go on to buy the 99-cent first-in-series after reading the prequel novella I giveaway.

Storyorigin is basically the same thing as Bookfunnel, just a diff platform. I think both sites offer nearly identical features and services.

Anyway, after setting up a decent onboarding sequence, I've found both sites to be an extremely effective, low-cost, low-effort way to get people to sign up to my newsletter. I'm at ~2k subscribers now, with 45% - 60% open rate. So, the signups from these services are fairly engaged too, which is even better.

e: actually, now that I think about it there is one major diff between BookFunnel and Story Origin: you need an email platform integration to participate in cross-promos for either site. Integrations are free on Storyorigin, but IIRC you have to sign up for the $10/mo plan on BookFunnel do to integrations.

KrunkMcGrunk fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Aug 3, 2019

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Got a USA-only Bookbub for my big box set (normally $10.00) next month - but this time it's for free, not 99c. I'm wondering if I should just make it free for that one day only, or trail it a few days after as well and try to surf the algorithm? Obviously with it being free I'm counting on KU flow-through, which is how I made most of my money from the 99c Bookbub too. But I'm wondering if when it's free, heaps of people who might have otherwise just read it through KU will actually take the free download... I don't know. Quite confident I'll make a good amount of money, just a question of how to maximise it.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

freebooter posted:

Got a USA-only Bookbub for my big box set (normally $10.00) next month - but this time it's for free, not 99c. I'm wondering if I should just make it free for that one day only, or trail it a few days after as well and try to surf the algorithm? Obviously with it being free I'm counting on KU flow-through, which is how I made most of my money from the 99c Bookbub too. But I'm wondering if when it's free, heaps of people who might have otherwise just read it through KU will actually take the free download... I don't know. Quite confident I'll make a good amount of money, just a question of how to maximise it.

First, congrats!

Second, it's generally good to have it free a couple days before the BB hits. Amazon's algo doesn't like big spikes out of nowhere. So, scheduling ads with other emailer services like FreeBooksy or ENT or w/e is a good idea.

Third, people in KU will borrow through KU. Unless something has changed recently, I think borrowing through KU is their only option if a book is set to free. In any case, when I had a couple free runs with BB last year, there was a huge spike in page reads (and also sell-through for later books).

Congrats, man! Enjoy the ride!

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


Thanks - reckon I'll make it free for a day beforehand and advertise with some small fries, then have the Bookbub, then keep it free for a day after, then wait and see how long the KU bump keeps up.

It would be helpful if I actually had more backlist for it to flow through to, but that box set is like 95% of what I have on the market, the only other thing is the vampire book. On the plus side I made that free for a bit last month (with small fries, it's too short to qualify for a BB) and garnered some very nice reviews. It'll probably take a year or more to earn back what I splashed out on the cover and editing, but my hope is that at least some of the readers who like it will move on to my backlist/box set.

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KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

freebooter posted:

Thanks - reckon I'll make it free for a day beforehand and advertise with some small fries, then have the Bookbub, then keep it free for a day after, then wait and see how long the KU bump keeps up.

It would be helpful if I actually had more backlist for it to flow through to, but that box set is like 95% of what I have on the market, the only other thing is the vampire book. On the plus side I made that free for a bit last month (with small fries, it's too short to qualify for a BB) and garnered some very nice reviews. It'll probably take a year or more to earn back what I splashed out on the cover and editing, but my hope is that at least some of the readers who like it will move on to my backlist/box set.

Make sure you have a good CTA to join your mailing list after each entry in the boxset, and I bet you'll nab some good email addresses to use for your future releases

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