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CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008


So the OP mentions publishing serially has become viable thanks to self-publishing, but how does that work exactly? What avenues do I need to pursue? I want to write full-time, but I'd like to have some form of income while writing my book, and a serial seems the way to go.

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EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


CommissarMega posted:

So the OP mentions publishing serially has become viable thanks to self-publishing, but how does that work exactly? What avenues do I need to pursue? I want to write full-time, but I'd like to have some form of income while writing my book, and a serial seems the way to go.

Depends on the genre that you want to write in. I've found that science fiction serials are doing awful but romance ones are doing fine, particularly "The Arrangement" by HM Ward. The fantasy serials I've seen are all like 100k word tomes anyway so I dunno what to tell you about that.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Back when I was interning for a literary agent in the middle of last year one of the things she asked us to do was to go through some self-published stuff and see if there was anything worth picking up.

I actually got her in talks with Anais Nun, who is in this thread sometimes, but I'm not sure it panned out? It was just as I was finishing up my internship.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the nuggets in front of me

Got my first royalty cheque this morning!

I'm so excited, whatever will I spend the £2.07 on?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!



Buy two £0.99 e-books!


Speaking of royalties, hooray for royalty week! This is like my favorite week of the month because it always comes right when I'm pissed off at my day job about 1/2-way through the month, and it reminds me that I only have about a year left until freedom.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Grimey Drawer

Gentlegoons, can you offer me some blurb violence?

My first book sold relatively flat until I hit the blurb right and then it sold great.

First Book Blurb

quote:

In the 22nd Century colonies spread out to the stars, hidden by a secretive industrialist. 80 years later the locations are revealed, one at a time, once a year.

Midshipman William Grace, sole survivor of the genocide on the colony Farshore, is shipwrecked and stranded with a handful of surviving marines and soldiers. The good news, they’re alive. The bad news is that they face the frigid climate, betrayal, a harrowing ocean crossing, terror drones, and a mercenary force intent on holding the planet. But simply escaping isn’t enough; they must complete the mission and warn Earth of a coming invasion. The United Colonies are fracturing and this is the opening shots of a galactic civil war.

This is a full length 80,000 word novel. The first in the military science fiction series, A Star Too Far.

However my second book is not selling nearly as well and I think it's the blurb, it just doesn't pop to me.

Second Book Blurb

quote:

With the assault on the planet Redmond halted, the United Colonies race to secure the borders. On one front the Sa’Ami, human-machine constructs, begin to invade. On the other the Harmony Worlds, Australasian outcasts who number in the billions, hammer through. But no one knows what’s really happening, the territory is too large, the borders too vast.

Lieutenant William Grace, colonist born-Earth raised, is posted to the frigate Malta with a Captain who hates him for his heritage. Marine Major Archibald Theodore is a prisoner of war captured by the Sa’Ami in the first assault. Army Lieutenant Takumi Yamaguchi leads the first suits of xeno designed power armor, suits that seem destined to fail. Abraham Yoder, part of a technologically backwards culture, betrays his own creed.

While the Colonial fleets scramble to advance, they must hold the line. If they fail countless star systems will be trapped behind a veil of tyranny.

This is a full length military science fiction space opera, 100,000 words. It can be read as a standalone, or as part of the series A Star Too Far.

I'm playing with three different styles.

Most Minimalist

quote:

Colonial Navy Lieutenant William Grace suddenly finds himself adrift in space after a sneak nanite attack. With a new posting in his future and war on the horizon, he and the rest of the crew must deliver a fighting force and defend the planet Canaan against human-machine constructs called the Sa’Ami. Embarking on a dangerous journey they must hold the line against a relentless foe that has traded its humanity for raw power.

Minimalist

quote:

In the 22nd Century colonies, spread to the stars, now seek their own future. Across light years the castoffs from Earth rise up and fight to make the stars their own.

Lieutenant William Grace, survivor of the genocide on the colony Farshore, must fight for the Navy that once destroyed his home. The goods news, he has a cutting edge starship, a platoon of powered armor, and a crew to make it all happen. The bad news is that they face human-machine constructs, armies of combat robots, a technologically advanced foe, and a Commanding Officer who hates him for who he is.

The Sa’Ami are coming and with them comes a veil of tyranny unlike anything ever seen before.

This is a full length military science fiction space opera, 100,000 words. It can be read as a standalone, or as part of the series A Star Too Far.

Expanded

quote:

William Grace was born on a planet that burned, the first interplanetary genocide. Now he’s a Lieutenant in the Navy that destroyed his home, a Navy that isn’t entirely sure if it wants him anymore. But the war is coming, and they need everyone they can get.

Major Archie Theodore is a Marine, the finest in the fleet, and has the distinct honor of being the first Prisoner of War. Though he discovers that all is not as it seems, and he may be forced to watched the next solar genocide.

Lieutenant Takumi Yamaguchi leads the first suits of xeno-designed power armor. Suits inspired by alien technology, stolen and bought. Quite possibly the most amazing thing ever, or a horrible mistake.

Abraham Yoder is part of a group who fled Earth generations before to seek there own freedom. Only now they find themselves on the front lines of the battle. Once a pacifist, he now finds himself the first to betray his creed.

While the Colonial fleets scramble to advance, they must hold the line. If they fail countless star systems will be trapped behind a veil of tyranny.

Yooper fucked around with this message at Jun 20, 2014 around 20:57

ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


Personally I like the minimalist one better. it's nice and structured, tells you what is going to happen in the book and gives you a primer if you are new to the series. The expanded version seems too unfocused, like going "Hey here are a bunch of people who will appear in this book. They might interact. Or maybe not. Who knows!" The most minimalist version just seems thrown together to me. Doesn't make me feel like there is an engaging story, to the point where I genuinely wondered if it actually described the same book the other blurbs did (also suddenly is a bad word and shouldn't be used in the first sentence of a blurb).

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

Say "Cheese!"


I agree with Archangei. The minimalist version has enough information to give a flavour of the story, and there's plenty of possible questions there to hook you in. We get a sense of what the protag is up against, and why it matters. Both those things are dimmed by the ultra-min version. The expanded version feels like an info-dump, and there's several characters mentioned without any real reasons to care.

violetdragon
Jul 27, 2006

RAWR


I agree that the minimalist version is the best, but you might want to rework the first paragraph or, at least, the first sentence, which is worded in an awkward way. It could probably also use a tiny bit more backstory about the series to give new readers a better idea of what's going on. It's difficult for me to make a suggestion without knowing the story, though. Is the galactic civil war still going on? Why are they fighting?

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Grimey Drawer

Thanks for the feedback guys! I've done a bit of modifying. The opening paragraph should flow better while also adding more background.

Nuevo Minimalist

quote:

Across light years exiles from Earth rise up and fight to make the stars their own. What Earth once discarded is now returning with a vengeance. Hundreds of colonies find themselves caught between the advancing hordes and the whims of Earth.

Lieutenant William Grace, survivor of the genocide on the colony Farshore, must fight for the Navy that once destroyed his home. The goods news, he has a cutting edge starship, a platoon of powered armor, and a crew to make it all happen. The bad news is that they face human-machine constructs, armies of combat robots, a technologically advanced foe, and William has a Commanding Officer who distrusts him for his birthplace.

The Sa’Ami are coming and with them comes a veil of tyranny unlike anything ever seen before.

This is a full length military science fiction space opera, 100,000 words. It can be read as a standalone, or as part of the series A Star Too Far.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the nuggets in front of me

Grauniad article about self publishing:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/20...18m-titles-300m

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!



Yooper posted:

Thanks for the feedback guys! I've done a bit of modifying. The opening paragraph should flow better while also adding more background.


quote:

Across light years, exiles from Earth rise up and fight to make the stars their own. What Earth once discarded is now returning now returns with a vengeance. Hundreds of colonies find themselves caught between the advancing hordes and the whims of Earth. Last sentence could use a little work. Whims of earth doesn't do it for me. If you're going for Earth not caring about them or something, you can do better than whims.

Lieutenant William Grace, survivor of the genocide on the colony Farshore, must fight for the Navy that once destroyed his home. The goods news is that he has a cutting-edge starship, a platoon of powered armor what?, and a crew to make it all happen. The bad news is that they face human-machine constructs, armies of combat robots, a technologically advanced foe, and William has a Commanding Officer who distrusts him for his birthplace. I think you could summarize the good/bad a bit more instead of 3-4 items per list. Just my thoughts, though. Ignore me if you like.

The Sa’Ami are coming, and with them comes a veil of tyranny unlike anything ever seen before.

This is a full length military science fiction space opera, 100,000 words. It can be read as a standalone, or as part of the series A Star Too Far.

Made a few changes. Not bad!

ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


Sundae posted:

Made a few changes. Not bad!

What's the issue with powered armor?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!



ArchangeI posted:

What's the issue with powered armor?

I could've worded that better. I meant "what is it?" I honestly have no idea.

syscall girl
Nov 6, 2009

I'm not in the business. I am the business.

Sundae posted:

I could've worded that better. I meant "what is it?" I honestly have no idea.

You know Starship Troopers by Heinlein? It's like that, just a robot suit that goes over your body and armors you and holds weapons or something. It's cool if you don't. Heinlein was something else.

Nowadays it's mostly an anime thing I think. And Mechwarrior in the tabletop/PC games world.

ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


syscall girl posted:

You know Starship Troopers by Heinlein? It's like that, just a robot suit that goes over your body and armors you and holds weapons or something. It's cool if you don't. Heinlein was something else.

Nowadays it's mostly an anime thing I think. And Mechwarrior in the tabletop/PC games world.

Well Mechwarrior is mainly giant robots (:sperg:). But yeah, it's a sci-fi staple, which was why it surprised me. The average sci-fi reader probably knows the term.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


I thought a platoon was a group of people, a platoon of armor sounds weird. But I don't read much scifi nowadays so w/e

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!



ArchangeI posted:

Well Mechwarrior is mainly giant robots (:sperg:). But yeah, it's a sci-fi staple, which was why it surprised me. The average sci-fi reader probably knows the term.

Oh, gotcha. If sci-fi readers will know it, great. My sci-fi preferences tended toward Ursula K. Le Guin, so I am extremely out of date and definitely not worth listening to regarding that genre.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Grimey Drawer

Power armor aside I can verify that Google Play is not nearly as lovely to publish to as before. The pricing thing is still a pain though, so I set it to charge Google Peoples more. The layout is still rather odd, and not as intuitive as Amazon, but it's passable. The only thing I'm not sure on is how people actually find stuff. At the moment I can type my keywords and see a few dozen books, but none are mine. Hopefully it just needs time to propagate.

On top of that I used D2D again and man, does that poo poo work nice.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


I might as well share my experience here about Google Play. I had stopped publishing any of my work to Google when my erotica catalog was removed, not out of malice but just because it had never been worth it. I had started publishing there on their old interface and was paying someone $20 a book to upload it, and I was underwater on that and it just wasn't worth it. Anyway, I got a rep asking me to publish a certain bestseller there, a romance book. I asked her what was in it for me, especially when I had my entire catalog pulled with no notice before. She said she could guarantee that that wouldn't happen again and reinstated a large portion of my erotica catalog (not all of it, some of it was still unacceptable and I was okay with that). By then they had changed the interface and I began to upload my works there myself. About a month later, they purged the erotica works away again. I asked what had changed, why works that she had promised me would remain up were removed again. She confessed that she had no power to make deals like that and basically just told me a lie to get my romance catalog up, so I pulled my work. People have gotten Google Play to amend their Terms of Service to remove the credit check or other onerous terms like the automatic discount, and if Google wants my business, they need to come to me as a business partner and not some ingenue author that they can take advantage of with lies. I stop short of recommending that nobody use them, but nobody who makes any significant money in publishing makes any significant percentage of it at Google, and between their refusal to price according to how you ask and their reps lying to authors and publishers, I'd as soon see them operate at a loss in Google's giant empire rather than what it should be (since Google Play is installed by default on Android devices).

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Grimey Drawer

That's lovely and now I hope I haven't wasted my time getting my poo poo up there. I'll give it a bit and yank it if nothing looks good about it. The pricing thing definitely didn't make me happy, and now to hear of the lying reps, bah. Thanks for that story man.

star eater
Jan 1, 2006



Fallen Rib

One of my books on google play has like... Aggregated reviews from books that share the same name. Cool google. Really cool.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Your Dead Gay Son posted:

One of my books on google play has like... Aggregated reviews from books that share the same name. Cool google. Really cool.

Yeah Google's been loving up more and more. Check this poo poo out. At least they told this author the truth, instead of lying to them.

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,188587.0.html

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!



I like the D2D rep answer in that thread.

quote:

People keep asking when we are going to add Google Play as a sales channel and this policy is exactly why we don't.


You know, poo poo like this is why I get so frustrated with the industry. I'm sitting here as an author begging other distributors to get their heads out of their asses and take a portion of my sales money. Please, for the love of GOD, sell my book and make money off of it... and yet they can't get out of their own way and shoot themselves in the feet non-stop. I am a tiny little minnow in self-publishing and will probably make between $60K-80K off of Amazon this year. That's still about $20K at the low end to the company after royalty splits, and yet nobody can/is willing to compete.

I don't like Amazon. I mean, I love that they sell my books and make me plenty of money, but as a corporate entity, I do not like Amazon. I would be all over any upstart, even if they didn't make me much cash, that had a viable business model and was reasonably honest.

Instead we get B&N emulating their brick and mortar stores, Apple being Apple, Google lying out its rear end, Kobo banning the entirety of all self-pubs for a while and still not having keywords, and an extortionist pirate site pretending to be legitimate. Amazon comes out seeming just spiffy compared to that.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Grimey Drawer

gently caress, it's like they are literally Hitler. The more I read and research the worse everything seems. To top it off there's absolutely no upside. I'll be sticking to KDP and D2D.

Screw Google.

yoyomama
Dec 28, 2008


Sundae posted:

I like the D2D rep answer in that thread.



You know, poo poo like this is why I get so frustrated with the industry. I'm sitting here as an author begging other distributors to get their heads out of their asses and take a portion of my sales money. Please, for the love of GOD, sell my book and make money off of it... and yet they can't get out of their own way and shoot themselves in the feet non-stop. I am a tiny little minnow in self-publishing and will probably make between $60K-80K off of Amazon this year. That's still about $20K at the low end to the company after royalty splits, and yet nobody can/is willing to compete.

I don't like Amazon. I mean, I love that they sell my books and make me plenty of money, but as a corporate entity, I do not like Amazon. I would be all over any upstart, even if they didn't make me much cash, that had a viable business model and was reasonably honest.

Instead we get B&N emulating their brick and mortar stores, Apple being Apple, Google lying out its rear end, Kobo banning the entirety of all self-pubs for a while and still not having keywords, and an extortionist pirate site pretending to be legitimate. Amazon comes out seeming just spiffy compared to that.

I'll stop lurking and comment on this since this is a point that I've been interested in. As someone looking at all of this 1) as someone who wants to try to get in this (and learning a lot from this thread), and 2) someone who's been researching this and looking at the ins and outs of it, I think this is a really important point. The way Amazon has become the platform for a lot of authors trying to self-publish, they control distribution in a lot of direct and indirect ways. As I've been looking at the different companies that sell ebooks, I'm surprised that I haven't seen more smaller sites that sell specific genres or groups of authors (or have a certain theme/platform), or even the growth of a more individualized method of distribution where authors sell their books from their own site. Not that this isn't happening at all, but the fact that Amazon offers very key advantages (I'm assuming by design) that other businesses haven't done and aren't as viable on an individual level is a key part of how they've become so critical in this space. I'd argue that there would need to be changes to the larger e-book ecosystem in order to see a significant shift in this pattern. Just the fact that the Kindle is so popular, that when you buy a book from Amazon it's right there on your Kindle, makes Amazon a very convenient place to buy books for a lot of people (and the dwindling sales of the Nook can help explain why B&N isn't a popular). If there were a way to either do something similar with any ebook reader (including the Kindle) regardless of where the book was purchased, or a shift to reading more on tablets or other devices not locked into Amazon's system, then I could see another business doing well selling ebooks (self-published or otherwise) and giving Amazon some real competition. And yes, you can send books to your Kindle and/or use Calibre, but that extra step, from a usability perspective, makes all the difference.

That all said, I could see a smaller site selling e-books and really taking off, as long as they were targeting specific niches, and the perception of quality writing could be maintained across their catalog so that they could build themselves up to be a go-to source for their targeted audience. But, this, in some ways, would be replicating the models of traditional publishing, which wouldn't need to be a bad thing. Having a viable model, good authors that are treated well and with good contracts, and the right advertising could at least work. Not sure how profitable it would be, though. But, from what I've seen with other products that Amazon doesn't dominate in terms of online sales, a site that could present itself as legit, trustworthy, and a good source for quality could at least get a loyal following.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


yoyomama posted:

That all said, I could see a smaller site selling e-books and really taking off, as long as they were targeting specific niches, and the perception of quality writing could be maintained across their catalog so that they could build themselves up to be a go-to source for their targeted audience. But, this, in some ways, would be replicating the models of traditional publishing, which wouldn't need to be a bad thing. Having a viable model, good authors that are treated well and with good contracts, and the right advertising could at least work. Not sure how profitable it would be, though. But, from what I've seen with other products that Amazon doesn't dominate in terms of online sales, a site that could present itself as legit, trustworthy, and a good source for quality could at least get a loyal following.

What you're basically talking about is an imprint, a publisher, and I'm all for publisher who targets a niche and releases quality materials for it. However, once that imprint is created, it's still going to be better off selling on Amazon than not selling on Amazon. The only niche eBook selling concept that even makes sense to me is erotica, because it's a product that people want to pay for but that Amazon won't allow in its entirety.

Unbelievably Fat Man
Jun 1, 2000

Innocent people. I could never hurt innocent people.




Yeah, it's easy to drop say, Kobo, because they're terrible but it's not really practical to drop Amazon, regardless of what you think of their business practices. Which is sad. The beef they've been having with Hatchette is very troubling in that regard.

But pretty much all these companies are terrible. Amazon is essentially the Walmart of the internet. Google really isn't any better.

But it's probably easier now than ever to launch an eBook store. I don't have numbers in front of me but I'll bet you a good percent of the market has moved to smart phones. To make a serious dent in the market would require a rock solid app and a ton of advertising.

On the other end of the spectrum I wonder what effect Patreon will eventually have on the market. If I could build up a decent following I think I'd prefer to release all my stuff for free and live off literal patronage, mostly out of my distaste for the major players in the ebook and comics markets. But I'm still a ways away from that.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


A year or two ago, I convinced my father to self-pub his book, (after he spent two years looking for an agent, and then giving up and doing nothing with the book).

He's not doing ANYTHING to promote it, but it's sold a few copies locally by word of mouth, picked up by two different reading clubs in Atlanta. It's a mystery based around Savannah, and I think that with a few changes to the listing on Amazon, he could reach a bigger audience.

He picked just two categories
Books > Literature & Fiction > United States > African American > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Women Sleuths
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > United States > African American > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Women Sleuths

Could you take a look at the listing and give me some suggestions, if you think of anything?
http://www.amazon.com/Speak-Secret-...03966505&sr=1-1

PepperSinclaire
Jan 21, 2007

But everyone's doooing it!


magnificent7 posted:

Could you take a look at the listing and give me some suggestions, if you think of anything?
http://www.amazon.com/Speak-Secret-...03966505&sr=1-1

Well, for one thing the cover says Van Hall, but Amazon have the author name as Vicki Hall under the "More about the author" section. And when you click the author link to Van Hall, you get a bunch of random authors listed, so it'd be a good idea to check that he has a proper author page set up, especially if he plans on releasing anything else. Avoids confusion, if local folks end up searching online for his author name.

Also the prices are a bit odd - maybe round them up a little? Try $4.99 or $5.99 instead of $5.70 for example.

And as for categories, there's a KDP help page with suggestions on terms to use to get into more sub-sections at https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3NTX9NCJD3D5X

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Thanks!

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the nuggets in front of me

EngineerSean posted:

The only niche eBook selling concept that even makes sense to me is erotica, because it's a product that people want to pay for but that Amazon won't allow in its entirety.
Which would be difficult to start up, since any new erotica site would probably be listed lower than literotica and the numerous free story sites. But people still seem to want to pay.

In other news I've been stalled for a week now trying to think up a title that isn't already taken

Roar
Jul 7, 2007

I got 30 points!

I GOT 30 POINTS!


Bobby Deluxe posted:

In other news I've been stalled for a week now trying to think up a title that isn't already taken

Don't beat yourself up about it. Almost every title in the world is taken in one way or another. As long as it's not super-super-generic, it's alright to have some other story with the same name.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!



Bobby Deluxe posted:

Which would be difficult to start up, since any new erotica site would probably be listed lower than literotica and the numerous free story sites. But people still seem to want to pay.

In other news I've been stalled for a week now trying to think up a title that isn't already taken

Actually, the biggest issue you'd run into, trying to start one up, is that most of the major (trustworthy) online payment systems that your customer-base uses will reject adult-oriented sites or withhold payment to you if they find out you're running one. An acquaintance ran into exactly this issue trying to start up his own site to get away from Amazon. Nobody would let him use their payment systems.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


if there's one aspect of this business that i will never try to vertically integrate, its "becoming the retailer", amazon can have my 30% (or whatever they decide to take) for life.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Unbelievably Fat Man posted:

On the other end of the spectrum I wonder what effect Patreon will eventually have on the market. If I could build up a decent following I think I'd prefer to release all my stuff for free and live off literal patronage, mostly out of my distaste for the major players in the ebook and comics markets. But I'm still a ways away from that.

I tried to look this up, I really did, but I still have no idea what a Patreon is.

Zratha
Nov 28, 2004

It's nice to see you

It looks to be a creative project specific Kickstarter type thing.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


It's like a forever KickStarter. "Patrons" pay you money every X weeks in exchange for you making content. I have actually searched and the only writer pages I found were depressing and, of course, devoid of patrons.

I could see it working out if say Neil Gaiman or someone did it.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

Say "Cheese!"


PoshAlligator posted:

I have actually searched and the only writer pages I found were depressing and, of course, devoid of patrons.

Some games journalists I know with established followings are making it work at the moment. It's probably an effective way of "monetizing" an existing fan-base.

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ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011


After some success with selling covers on Kboards, I feel like I should ask: Where else do selfpub authors gather?

e: Oh yeah, I set up this ebook bundle type deal. If anyone wants to be on the next one (genre fiction or crime stuff only), let me know. I'll have numbers once the bundle ends.

http://arcanebundle.com/

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