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Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


So roughly two years ago I stumbled on to the literotica thread. I never pulled the trigger, overwhelmed by the process of obtaining covers and marketing and everything... but this profession never left my mind. And I have stumbled back onto this thread. And I feel like this is one of my only chances to achieve a career I can be happy with. I am in research phase right now, trying to read back as much as I can and get an idea of how to do this right. So I have two questions:

goonwrite.com - As premade covers, does that mean the point is to just pick a cover, buy it, and build a story around it? That sounds kinda fun, like beating challenges in a video game.

What have been the most lucrative genres over say, the past six months? I think I would rather approach this as a business venture at first rather than much of a creative one.

What is the best advice you could offer to an unabashed lazy person and procrastinator like myself, aside from paying a fine goon to make me kickass covers and nailing my blurb with the blessing of you fine folks?

And I know there is no erotic discussion in this thread, but is it okay to ask if literotica is more lucrative than everything else? I wouldn't necessarily prefer to write it but, again, business over art for now.


(Glad to see some of the old faces from times past, I remember being in awe at how helpful and communal everyone was, and how I felt like I was truly getting in on the ground floor of something hip, like so many things from my 10+ years as a goon. Did anyone see that loving Colbert episode talking about literotica many months ago? I was like WHOAAAAAAAAA I KNEW ABOUT THIS LIKE A YEAR AGO!)

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 23:56 on Nov 3, 2014

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Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


moana posted:

Erotica is having a bit of a resurgence with KU, but there are lots of other popular genres out there right now. Are you a writer? I have to say that if you procrastinate, you probably just... won't be able to write a novel. It's hard to get through at first. So maybe write a short erotica story and start there. I'm not sure what niches still work, you'd have to ask EngineerSean.

I don't quite know how to answer that question, but let's say yes. Beating my laziness and procrastination is a much bigger worry to me than my ability to sharpen my writing skills. I am leaning more toward short stories. Is $2.99 for 10,000 words still the typical recommended rate (iirc)? I'd guess short stories would be worth more like a buck.

psychopomp posted:

My best advice? If you intend to approach this as a business and not a hobby or form of self-expression, don't be lazy or procrastinate. Self-publishing is not easy and there's a very good chance that even if you do everything "right" you won't see a return on your investment worth the effort.

I make a living at this, barely, and it's turned me into a workaholic. If I'd been lazy I never would have even earned beer money. If you want anything like real-job returns, you need to put in real-job effort. 40 hours a week, at the very least. Already having a job takes some of the pressure off, but you're seriously going to have to treat it like a second job.

Or get super lucky, but if you're going with that strategy it's a lot less work to buy lottery tickets.

Disclaimer: I don't write erotica, so can't speak to how much easier that might be.

I hope not to drown you in a sea of bloviation, but I need a light at the end of the tunnel and to put my energy behind something I believe in. I don't mind long shots. I am an artist at heart. I have nothing to lose.

I suppose the goal is to try and churn out material that I think will sell; to try like hell to build a meager income for myself; to hone my lackluster story-telling skills in tandem with my supposedly exceptional penchant for the written word; then hopefully segue into the kind of writing I would consider art. I want to have faith in myself and push myself on this. I rarely believe in anything enough to be bothered. My music project is really the only other thing, and would hopefully sate my inner artist in the meantime. I appreciate the reality check, truly, but it will not be enough to discourage me this time around. :) The battle will be with myself, as always.

Another quick question: how silly would it be to throw together 4 very short stories/writing I did that aren't really similar and put them up? Does a complete flop/bad work hurt your name in this business -- would it be noticed? Would anyone care to read them and tell me what I suspect to be true, that they suck and I should really start from scratch with something that took me more than an hour to write? An outside set of eyes or two would help me parse what is my realism and what is my self-loathing, as well as gauge what is an acceptable quality for selfpub versus what I am capable of. I'd rather not invest $50 in an even greater deal of wishful thinking if I am delusional on that front. (Sorry for the wonky editing, wanted to edit/expand from last post.)

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 00:02 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Ghostwoods posted:

Go spend a bit of time going over the data at http://authorearnings.com/reports -- that's about the best source of genre performance information that I know.


In general, very short stories are totally ignored by everyone. So go ahead, throw them up, but don't spend any money doing it. Complete flops can sometimes hurt the name you put them out under -- if they get a lot of negative attention -- but much more likely they'll just remain utterly obscure.

Bookmarked.

Throw them up without a cover? I have absolutely zero design skill. Duly noted, though. <3

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


moana posted:

Man, read the OP. Like that giant image that says the blurb and cover matter as much as your book. But if you're writing erotica, just go join one of the erotica forums to talk about it since you can get away with poo poo like fiverr covers, I think http://dirtydiscourse.com/forum/ is the new offsite one.

But I said very clearly that I understand the importance of the blurb and cover, and was responding to Ghostwoods about not spending money on short stories but putting them up. I did read the OP and remember a bunch from my first go around. :confused:

I don't know if I'm writing erotica or not, but I am not paying tenbux for some erotica discussion forum that may or may not be goons, that's for sure.

Ghostwoods posted:

Uh, hell no. Sorry for the misunderstanding. That would go against you. Get the best cover you can. For a throwaway, if you don't have any talents in that direction, your best bet would be to find an understanding and sympathetic friend with an eye for design and bribe them with a pizza / whatever. Your next best bet would be to buy some of RavenKult's (excellent and good value) premade covers. Just bear in mind that it might be a year before you make the cover fee back off 'em.

No problem at all, just wanted to clarify the conflicting views there. I'll hold off for now.

edit:

quote:

EDIT 2: The point I was trying to make is that in general, you need to treat short pieces as if they're not going to make anything back. They need to be as good as you can make them, but you shouldn't spend anything you can't afford to throw away. That can lead to a core tension between "Not suck" and "Not spend", but there's no one set way to resolve that tension.

Totally. I am a little fuzzy on what is considered short. I seem to have 10k words for a novel ($2.99) and 2-4k for a short story ($.99) stuck in my head but I am seeing a little conflicting information across threads, and it seems it might differ between fiction and literotica. Just trying to wrap my head around it -- sound about right?

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 00:47 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Excellent, thanks so much for the clarification guys, thought there might be a difference in word counts between the two. So there is not even a separate thread for literotica anywhere else on the forums? Seems uptight for the forums that brought us "your poison womb is making heaven too loving crowded" but I should never underestimate the prudishness of my fellow Americans. I miss the tight-knitness of the goon thread. Reddit is never as satisfying to participate in but I will certainly bookmark it for mining information. Although I will be more than happy to lurk with you folks as well, of course! I will stop hogging the thread now with my bullshit. <3

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


More questions, apologies.

How does one sort which titles are by indie authors and which are simply electronic versions of print authors? Just by looking at the print price being crossed out under some titles?

I am finding it tough to gauge what exactly is crushing the bestsellers list right now, although I see there is surprisingly less competition in the young adult section. Is there a way to see how many copies have been sold that I'm missing? I wonder if I could just poo poo out some existential angst like the perpetual manchild I am and market it to some emo tweens. Goth has to make a comeback any day now, right?

I don't see why I wouldn't just go to erotica if the motive is making money, though. 5k words for higher prices and ostensibly less of a skill floor for profitable writing in what is basically a second cousin of the oldest profession on Earth. Not that I want to keep touching that dead horse inappropriately and self-publishing it all the way to the bank. I suppose it might be the least gratifying to write but even that is questionable when compared to a lot of the saccharine horseshit Jane Q. Public is likely to lap up.

Is there any reason to use Nook Press if D2D will handle Apple AND B&N? And with this new KU stuff, would a newbie like me benefit from just putting everything in KDP Select and eschewing B&N/Apple entirely or no?

I am still infinitely perplexed at the idea of how important a cover is, yet even paying like $25 a pop for average-ish covers (I'm assuming Fiverr jobs aren't even worth it if a title won't sell because of a lovely cover) if I can churn out 10 titles in a month that's a $250 investment on top of time spent, but trying to cobble together my own is going to hurt sales and take up even more time & annoyance hamfistedly learning an entirely new skill in Photoshop for a less than mediocre result and ultimately tanking my ROI from several angles. It's such an infuriating catch 22. I'm such a Sensitive Temp.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 13:19 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


ravenkult posted:

Indie authors can be in print too. Check lower down on the page, where the wordcount is, what it says under ''Publisher.''

Excellent. Although I keep seeing page counts instead of word counts. :saddowns:

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Szmitten posted:

I know you're doing this for business and money, but have you actually written anything yet? Or know how to write? Because if you're doing all this research at the expense of any writing at all, any business plan you have will fall apart because your product will be garbage.

I don't think it's useless to reacquaint myself with the marketplace and attempt to get an idea of where to focus my efforts and to amass a bunch of useful tips from the thread and PMs and to collect a bunch of bookmarks and to read a couple samples on the first day. I consider that expending the amount of effort it takes doing this again means that I should be able to correctly follow a simple template for garbage romance titles. Simply sitting down and writing a bunch of sexy poo poo blindly instead of creating a a mental outline of what I'm in for and what is needed wouldn't net me much either. A little pre-pro never hurt anyone.

As for knowing how to write, yes and no. I am an innately gifted writer who has largely ignored the craft out of self-loathing. Part of the goal of doing this is to establish the fictional storytelling fundamentals I always hated, because I recognize that I am wasting my talents. When I was a young man, it was my first artistic love. I am hoping through this to make some money, learn some discipline, and allow myself to learn the rules before ignoring/breaking them/surprising-myself-and-obeying-them. Nonetheless, I could write in the romance genre with one eye closed, a hand behind my back, and sober and match up to the poo poo that's doing good, let alone with some practice under my belt. It is the marketing, volume, and math that worries me much more than the quality of the writing.

Sundae posted:

This is correct, as is the drama aspect. I followed up with moderators before posting the thread, and the agreement was that :siren:talking about erotica isn't allowed.:siren:


Also, since I'm seeing a lot of newer posters in the thread, I want to reiterate a point from the OP:


If you're new to writing a genre, no matter what it is, you need to read the genre. I had someone recently send me a PM / e-mails discussing the book he wrote, and he couldn't actually tell me what other books were similar to his, because he didn't actually read.

That sort of mentality seriously stunts both your development as a writer and limits your ability to market your work. You don't learn by experiencing good/bad writing, you don't see new ways of doing things, and you don't see what your genre is up to / how it really works (or falls flat) unless you read other things in it. This is especially important when you're new to a genre or are just starting writing. The jumping off point has very little to do with writing as far I'm concerned, or I'd have done this two and a half years ago when I first discovered it while I was still in school/working and not in the stupid E/N bullshit situation I am in right now.

On the marketing side, if you don't know what your work is similar to, how are you supposed to figure out what your readers are looking for? How are you going to figure out what your covers should look like, or your blurbs? How are you going to figure out what your readers are searching for in the store? How are you going to figure out whether or not your work has completely missed the mark with its readers? (Silly example: An unhappy ending in a standard romance novel. Want to get killed by readers? That's one of the best ways to do it.)

When you do "research" for starting a writing career, reading other books is one of the most important things you can do. Seriously.


Edit: Speaking of reading for research

I read a full sample of a successful title and just laughed at the garbage tropes and thesaurus linedance. I can follow the guides and resources from those before me in my sleep and create cookie cutter bullshit that the people will pay me for. IF and when I can segue into some kind of project that actually involves me emotionally putting something on the line or writing 65k words, then I will heed your words on devouring the genre much more closely. Again, I am much more worried about turning a profit with no Photoshop skills at this point.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 20:21 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


asylum years posted:

Well, yes, you bring up a fair point—garbage can and does sell, unfortunately, but what some of the others are getting at is beyond that. Like they're saying, publishing (of any flavor) isn't exactly a gold rush for 99% of people doing it, and I hate to break it to anyone who's in love with Hugh Howey—who, to be fair, has been really successful—but authorearnings.com is sort of an industry-wide joke for a variety of reasons. The quality of your cover isn't going to make or break you in and of itself. The bigger question is, if you make a relatively tiny amount of money putting hours and hours into something you couldn't give less of a poo poo about, how much of your own time have you just wasted?

You overvalue my time, trust me. And again, this is the jumping off point. These are the training wheels that could lead to an actual career in writing if I am willing to put the time in. As a habitually self-absorbed prick I am trying not to make this an E/N clusterfuck and stay on the topic of factual business information, help me help the thread in that regard. :) I will just say that if I can manage to repress my crippling self-doubt enough to actually get started at some point, it is not necessarily -EV to stall a bit due to the fact that I have $0 to my name right now but will have a little cash shortly which will help me in procuring the alcohol and cover art I will need to do this properly. I have to think that you're underplaying the importance of a cover from the research I've done, both now and 2.5 years ago, and my as-of-yet limited foray into the genre I am entering.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 20:34 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Bobby Deluxe posted:

I don't mean to sound like I'm having a go, but on what authority do you declare your genius? I mean, who else has confirmed it? Every writer thinks their stuff is genius, and as your next quote shows, the reader does not always agree. Maybe I've just been in a lot of writing threads lately but "I'm great" as a sentiment sets off all kinds of alarm bells. "I sell loads" or "I won these awards" is fine, but I'm not so sure when it comes to self declaring.

Again, not having a go, just curious about what your background is that makes you such a match for self publishing.

Bear in mind that what you see as garbage is good enough to sell by the bucket load, so don't sell it short.

"I am great" is usually the number one indicator that someone sucks, and this is most true when it comes to writing because stringing words together is something everyone does. I in no way, shape, or form have an interest in proving to you that I have an innate talent for the written word and a vast amount of unlocked potential as a writer.

I know you don't know me, but it is vastly out of character for me to sound the way I do in this thread w/r/t an emphasis on business over creativity, so I am indeed keen on acknowledging what is working for authors that are selling -- my entire aim in the beginning is to exploit that. Deep down, though, I am of the opinion that the average mass media consumer is a loving moron with bad taste. This will work in my advantage for once since I have chosen to accept and exploit it.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 20:45 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


ravenkult posted:

Are we still talking about erotica? Making money writing erotica is ''easy'' in my book (depends on how much money you're looking to make) and I can see a complete noob starting to make money immediately (in the tune of like, 50$ a month) until they get their feet under them and learn more about the industry and the craft.

If we're talking anything else, whether romance or horror or fantasy or whatever, there's absolutely no way you'll sell a single copy going in blind. You need to know your genre, you need to know the competition, you need to read and yeah, most importantly, you gotta write. But I mean, either you're well read already in your genre and all that's left to do is poo poo your rear end down and writer, or you have a long, long way ahead of you.

Erotica is the stepping stone. I require very little money to survive and be "happy". I agree with your assessments on all points. Music is my ambitious, artistic pursuit. Writing is something I can do to pay the bills and if it leads to a real life third act of my boyhood dream (of being a successful, unique, artistic writer) waking up from its coma and no longer needing life support because I have finally managed to put in the work for once in my life, then great. I do not believe that will ever happen. I will settle for a meager living with the possibility of becoming rich so I can unplug permanently from this poverty-stricken capitalist nightmare and focus on enjoying my life.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


ravenkult posted:

Get to the erotica subreddit, read up, start writing yesterday (I don't actually know if the subreddit is any good, but hey, it's a place to start).

I am there. It seems to be a very good template to follow. The OP is seemingly as helpful as a goon OP would be, so I am going to wager it is a good place to start. It is the community that I ultimately find lacking. When it's time to get feedback on my first blurb/cover, don't be surprised if one of you gets a PM from me graciously asking for your input :)

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 21:26 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

Just my own .02 here, but the attitude of "my customers are morons with no taste" is probably not going to serve you well going forward. I imagine erotica is more forgiving than most genres in terms of what readers expect / are willing to put up with, but you still need to realize that these are human beings that are (hopefully) willing to pay money out of their pockets for something you wrote. Putting in a bit of effort is always going to pay off in terms of sales / reputation / marketing.

Some other things to consider:

It kind of sounds like you don't even enjoy writing. Regardless of how good you are or how much potential you may have, if you hate writing, you are going to burn out. Self-pubbing for a paycheck still requires you to sit your rear end down in a chair and write for hours a day, just like any other job. Some people see being your own boss, not having a set schedule, etc. as a perk, and it is. On the other hand, if you have any issues whatsoever with personal accountability and work ethic, it's probably not going to be pretty. I've know a good number of people that I think are pretty good writers, but they can't force themselves to stick to a consistent schedule and actually put words down. They get distracted or start doing chores around the house or say "let me just watch one more episode of this show first" and pretty soon they've got nothing done for a whole day.

What I'm getting at is that if you don't enjoy writing, it's going to be even harder.

Also, I didn't see it mentioned yet, but as far as I know, you probably aren't going to see a paycheck for the first two months, and when you do, it's probably going to be like $20. Places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc. pay you a month after each month of sales (i.e. you get paid for the stories you sold in July at the end of August / beginning of September) and those sites usually have a minimum threshold you have to meet. Usually it's like $10 or something so it's not really an issue, but just something to consider. If you are trying to jump into self-pubbing to make some quick money, you are going to be disappointed.

I don't write it so I can't really comment with authority, but I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of people self-pubbing in erotica and romance still have day jobs. I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were making in the $300-500 a month ballpark after a whole year of writing, based on anecdotes I've seen tossed around here. If that's enough for you to live comfortably on and you have the time to get to that point without being tossed out on the street, then go for it.

I believe that I will fail at this like I have failed at everything in my life. It doesn't matter. I have nothing left to lose. I am not going for short term cash here. I am going for long term. This is why I am preoccupied with spending a lot of money on covers, because I know I won't recoup the costs and I will need every penny I will have available to save myself.

If I can branch out of erotica, it will be under the guise that I am willing to put in the effort to make a compelling pop story using the fundamentals of fictional storytelling. I may even enjoy it. It may even lead to an unlocking of a great work that I can be proud of in my soul one day. It doesn't matter. That is in the far future and contingent on many variables.

I don't hate writing. I hate myself. This is a long-shot exercise in giving myself the opportunity to hate myself less.

I won't know what it will net me in what timeframe until I try. $300-$500 a month would be tough but I am also willing to move west and live in a tent and write in a coffeeshop if that's what it takes to make my life bearable.

I appreciate the realistic advice from everyone. I understand that you want me to understand what I am in for. I do not think this is an easy endeavor. I do not think being passive will allow for success in it. I do not think I will succeed at it. This is simply one of the only things I have ever come across in my life where I felt strongly that "Wow, I could possibly make a living doing this with my skillset and not feel like a listless drone every day, and maybe even leverage it into something fulfilling." I thought these threads disappeared. I regretted deeply not trying this 2.5 years ago. My life has only gotten worse since then. More failure isn't a deterrent to me, here, at the end of my rope.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


ravenkult posted:

Do you post anywhere else? Blog? I'd like to learn more poo poo.

I also wanted to ask you (EngineerSean) what your favorite resource/community is that isn't the pay-forum Moana suggested last night, but I figured I had already bothered you enough with my PMs. But now there are two of us openly wondering. :) I firmly believe you that the sky is the limit with this opportunity, given that I can work hard at it and **~~harness the power of The Secret through Jeezo-in-his-name-I-pray~~** (read: a little luck).

edit: Noted those resources in my little notepad. Thank you.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 22:10 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Szmitten posted:

For pretty much all my life I've been told that I'm really good at writing and am naturally gifted and it's innate and I do it really well and I'm articulate and yadda yadda yadda; but even so, I've spent the last half-decade reading more and relearning everything from the ground up because, unsurprisingly, an echochamber of "Wow you're such a gifted writer!" doesn't do a good job of helping identify whether what I'm doing is right or wrong.

You're both right, but I reckon a high degree of self-awareness and being able to have fun with writing (or at least tolerate it really loving well) could pull you through both scenarios.

This is more Fiction Advice thread stuff though which is kinda where I think All Else Failed should be heading before they burn out focusing on the stuff that isn't the actual writing part.


PoshAlligator posted:

People have told me this too but I am mostly bad.

Same. These people probably know me and who doesn't like their friend's art a little more because they are your friend? It's a matter of perspective. Or they are the aforementioned people with bad taste. But in the same token, those people buy books. In a purely capitalistic sense, who gives a flying gently caress what you think of your own writing if it is successful in the marketplace? I don't personally subscribe to that notion because I believe in stupid poo poo like artistic integrity and the value of injecting meaning into a cold, uncaring universe but unfortunately this is 'Merica and it's sink or swim whether I like it or not.

Would you care to elaborate on why I should be in the Fiction Advice thread Szmitten? I don't quite get your reasoning. I am not worried as much about the writing because I have confidence in my current ability and my ability to improve, true, but I don't see why I should be when I have a bunch of bullshit like tanking my ROI with covers and boring poo poo like formatting and forcing myself to read lovely e-books for emulation purposes to worry about. Like I said before, if it was just about writing I'd have started 2.5 years ago.

psychopomp posted:

Being told that I was talented as a kid was all the justification I needed to spend my late teens and early 20s not applying myself. As a result I'm having to learn basic adult productivity skills in my 30s.

Thanks a lot, early supportive network.

A-loving-men to that. Being a gifted child not only hosed me, but it currently allows me to point the blame to everyone else in my life beside myself as I am so fond of doing. What a fun, tangled web of neuroses that is to (continually fail to) climb out of.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 22:55 on Nov 4, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

You just have to accept that you need to buckle down and do some of the basic research / marketing / practice required for whatever you want to make a living at. I know everyone thinks they can be a self-pub superstar just because they are native English speaker, but there's a hell of a lot more to it than that.

If you hate the idea of writing erotica / romance, then yep, it's going to suck to sit down and research those markets and read examples to see what people are buying, but it's the smart thing to do. Even if you could make some sales without doing all that, you are going to make more sales if you do. I mean, even if you get a job at McDonalds, you have to learn how to operate the deep fryer. I can't think of a single job that doesn't require you to learn at least a few basic skills, so why would writing be any different?

Keep in mind that making a living from self-pubbed writing means you are, as far as the government is concerned, an independent contractor. Not only is Amazon et. al going to be taking a slice of your sales pie, but you are going to be paying higher taxes on your income, too. You also don't get employee health insurance options,employer 401k matching, all those things people in a normal dayjob never really have to think too much about. I don't know if you have another job or what your situation is, but these are all important factors, especially early on when you are probably going to be barely making enough for beer money each month unless you are insanely prolific and / or lucky.

I have accepted that and plan on becoming proficient at all aspects of it besides graphic design because I don't feel like taking up an entirely new technical skill. I understand I am paid through royalties as a taxable independent contractor. My situation is not good. I'm doing this regardless.

Szmitten posted:

Because you want to write fiction.

Seriously though, I was gonna say something else here but I'm actually being really presumptuous or I might be missing something in an earlier post but could I just ask:

-Have you posted anything here; like a short story or something in Thunderdome?
-Have you written anything recently, and has anyone else read it? (What did they think?)
-Do you actually know about story structure and in addition to other basic technical junk like adverbs, passive voice, third limited/omniscient, etc?

If you can answer yes to two or more of the above then sorry for giving you a hard time, ignore me. If not, maybe consider giving a look or an attempt before dedicating yourself to what you're doing?

I don't care one iota about other people's opinion on whether I have the writing chops to do this, positive or negative, so it's a moot point. I know as an unmitigated fact I have what it takes if I put my mind to it. That will be the true struggle.

I said earlier in the thread that my storytelling skills are absolute poo poo. I am, however, extremely good at identifying what makes a good story and what doesn't, what makes good writing and what doesn't. I am a ruthless critic with excellent taste because of this. It is organized conceptually in my head as a devourer of books, television, and movies (and music but it's different, more primal, which is what I love about it over the other three). Chances are I already know the main devices used conceptually without necessarily knowing their specialized lingo. Grammar and syntax have always come easily to me and bored the ever-living gently caress out of me. I have always cared much, much, much more about the visceral creativity and soul behind art. Part of this process, as I said previously, is going to be familiarizing myself with the boring structural details of vanilla storytelling. I never cared before, but I am finding myself wanting to care now if it will land me a career. It will be easy for me to grasp, it is simply a matter of having even the slightest bit of willpower to get it done.

:siren: This sounds like self-serving, cliché bullshit. I fully support anyone viewing it as such. I wouldn't believe me, either. Don't waste your breath pointing it out. It is irrelevant to the discussion and nobody, including me, has any interest in you positing what an untalented hack I must be. :siren:

If the Fiction Advice thread is indeed a good resource for that stuff, I really do appreciate the recommendation and will bookmark it and check it out. I think that reading a bunch of successful erotica and following, in particular, the editing guide over at the subreddit are the two most important things here at the beginning aside from just doing something to get started. I'd say my current thought process of my phase trajectory is something like this:

  • Research, Reduce, Reuse: The phase I've been in since yesterday and, technically speaking, 2.5 years ago. Trying to get in the mindset that this poo poo is about to go down for real this time.

  • Babby's First Steps: Getting 5k words on paper. Editing it a bit. Getting a cover. Writing a blurb. Annoying one of the beautiful, helpful people I've met thus far and getting advice on the cover and blurb. Fixing them. Publishing my first work that will do precisely jack poo poo for me.

  • I Fall Down Sometimes: Taking enough Babby Steps that I am familiar with the process and can begin to "feel my legs strengthen"; where I need improvement; where to hone flaws, what's working for me and what isn't.

  • A Brisk Walk: Continued, incremental improvement in a lot of areas. I have 20-30 titles by now. An old horny slut from Sheboygan, WI is on my Mailchimp list and for some reason I am proud of that. I know where I hosed up before and endlessly kick myself for not knowing better like I do now, but that's all part of the process isn't it? Plus I still don't know poo poo, really, do I?

:suspense: a brief intermission consisting of a concerted attempt to circumvent self-sabotage-disguised-as giving into the sweetly familiar and probably inevitable soul-crushing feeling of failure spurred by a lifelong identity crisis and feelings of inadequacy, hello darkness my old friend :suspense:



  • The Running Man: The a-ha moment where I actually feel like I wrote something good and think to myself, boy, look how far I've come with 50-60 titles and earning $200/$500/$1000 a month and knowing the fancy mechanical jargon I never gave a poo poo about so maybe now I can impress my way into fingerbanging that insecure nerdy girl at the writer's workshop I inevitably have to join now.

  • I Gotta Stay Fly-y-y-y: Holy poo poo. I am making enough money to pay my bills from this. I can't believe I've been doing this poo poo for a year/two years/five years. Where's my whiskey? I bet I could write something I would enjoy and get that to sell too. God knows I can build a story like a champion these days and I can focus on something other than my impending doom for once.

  • Pow! To The Moon: Um, I just wrote a book I am proud of in a genre I enjoy and it's selling well enough that I am officially a loving writer and I haven't felt this worry free ever in this psychotic life of mine, I can't believe at one point I was researching this and thinking I would fail, what is life, I am so proud of myself [but probably still hate myself because why not]. Or my music career took off. Or literally anything good happened while I wasn't homeless or stuck in a lovely situation because I decided to start doing this.

Or the comedy option:

  • Wormhole: What the gently caress? I was Falling Down Sometimes and for some stupid cosmic reason space-AIDS is trending in the Twittersphere and that novella I wrote in one sitting on mushrooms while eating an entire Yule log called Space-AIDS: An Erotic Musical has sold a million copies in a week and Sean Hannity invited me onto his show to tell me how I am destroying America, oh-god-isn't-this-country-grand, now I can just drink and write music and go to shows and travel and hang with my friends all day until I die like I've always wanted haaaaaaaallelujah big ups to our prophet Muhammed praise be unto him.

Roughly speaking. One step at a time, though, is the important thing to remember.

Now you see the level of procrastination and general psychosis I am working against. Hopefully someone reading this gets it and identifies a little bit.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 00:56 on Nov 5, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I wanna emptyquote this forever. Also just because you can drive the car doesn't mean you can fix it, and while consuming media is a good first step it really is no substitute for actually writing. Imagine that argument applied to other stuff:

"I've looked at a whole lot of paintings and I really understand what makes a painting tick you know, so I'm gonna buy a whole lot of brushes and paint, slop 'em on a canvas, then it's going to be amazing and people are gonna pay me money for it."

"I want to be an Olympic runner, so I got a statue of Usain Bolt and I keep it on my nightstand. I've watched every single one of his races 50 times so now I'm ready to win a gold medal."

"I want to lose weight, so I watch a lot of TV with thin people in it while I'm eating my pizza dinner. One day, I'll be beautiful just like them."

Practice makes perfect. That's the dumb boring secret of writing.

I know. I have written on and off in various media since I was a child. Self-pubbing will function as practice and a revenue stream. I am trying to not make this entirely about me, is my point. There is no value in guessing whether I will succeed or not, but in discussing what creates success in this particular medium. Also, your first example is exactly what it takes to have the balls to paint every day until you are amazing and people pay you money for it, so it's not a great example. But otherwise, of course you're right!

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 01:08 on Nov 5, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Bobby Deluxe posted:

you need the confirmation of others about these statements



You are right. That is why I will obtain that confirmation or denial from the consumer who dictates my level of success with his or her pocketbook. Pointless conjecture over, derail over, going back to lurking until I've actually accomplished something. I'll be more than happy to PM with anyone who feels compelled to further assist me in my travels. I am very happy to see this thread still exists and continually amazed at the generosity of some folks in rising the goontide so that it lifts all goonboats.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


EngineerSean posted:

To poster All Else Failed (and everyone else who is struggling with actually getting words on paper), I read this and thought it was pretty good.

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-talent-overrated-8-things-that-are.html

FWIW, I agree with mostly everything said in there. I don't think I ever indicated otherwise. It isn't new information to me. I'm not nineteen. ;) People get an idea into their head and run with it, especially on SA.

There is also a difference between being a lowest-common-denominator egomaniac and being discerning about advice you're given and whether it applies to you. People make snap categorizations out of necessity; it's how our brains work. I don't post my work for review here because I haven't written anything that took me longer than an hour, tops, and most of it from the past couple of years has been poetry. I had a couple of gold threads with short stories I'd written as a teenager in the heyday of GBS/TCC, but those are long gone -- and I still don't trust that they were decent at all. Whether the judgment is good or bad, I don't have faith in strangers to properly judge me as a person; why would I trust them to properly judge my writing? All art should reflect a piece of the artist, in my opinion. (No, that does not mean thinly veil yourself as the misunderstood musclehero who curbstomps aliens every book). I appreciate all of the good feedback I've gotten in real life from people I know, but I don't even trust that from a technical standpoint. I'm not here, again, to get feedback on my writing (especially w/r/t erotica), but moreso on the business/marketing end, the process, and for a sense of community. I am sure my needs will change as time marches forward.

It also irks me whenever someone implies you have to obey the marketplace and emulate bestsellers. If your goal is simply to make money, sure. It's why I am reading top-selling erotica. To assume that everyone indulging in an artistic endeavor cares more about their marketability grosses me out, and is one of many reasons why blogposts about surefire ways to success irk me. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, especially in the Internet age. Find your audience and tackle it -- or have the balls to make your own audience. Persistence and drive, et cetera, are key in any endeavor worth tackling. They are also much harder for some of us to muster up for some unholy reason.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 23:31 on Nov 14, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I don't think anyone in here thinks you "have" to emulate bestsellers. You came in here asking specifically about making money writing erotica, though, so that advice is what ends up being applicable. The vast majority of people in this subforum are writing for personal enjoyment, maybe making beer money once in a while by getting a story in a magazine. But if money is your goal (which is the case for 99.9% of people self-pubbing erotica), you definitely have to approach it from a different direction or you'll never get anywhere.

I was addressing a point in the link EngineerSean posted.

EngineerSean posted:

For what it's worth, I've met a lot of people who have "had the balls to make their own audience", and not a single one is making a living wage doing so.

Of course. The path less traveled is full of brambles and the chalkdust bones of past adventurers. There are pros and cons to every approach.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Bad Seafood posted:

So, uh, who exactly is it that is qualified to judge your work?

I should have qualified that by saying "stuffy internet nerds who are openly hostile at someone they think is them seven years ago". My bad.

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

I appreciate that you are trying to help me and that I did come here asking for help on how to be a better poster but I have a natural gift for sesquipedalian posting that is of such a high artistic integrity that to even trained professionals it is indistinguishable from trash. Being base and unworthy creatures I would not expect you to appreciate my talent or my posts, and in fact there is not a single person alive who could appreciate my posts for what they are. However I'm not leaving until somebody gives me tips on posting. So long as those tips don't require me to change my posting, because, as we already discussed, my posts are perfect. In fact what I'm really trying to get at is that we need to come together and work as a team to improve your posting receptiveness. You guys suck at appreciating perfect posting so maybe we can just start working out a way to improve your reading.

Awww. I wouldn't quit your day job to write comedy, my friend.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I wouldn't quit your day job to write erot....oh.

Anyways, his criticism is perfectly valid. It sounds like you have exactly the kind of issues that make writing for a living a non-starter. I think you are going to end up realizing that writing a bunch of words you hate for audience you look down on is not exactly going to be a fulfilling career. Spending like half a year before you even have the tiniest sliver of a chance of paying your rent isn't all that stable of a career plan to begin with, but you said you have a ton of time to get set up so I guess that might not be an issue. (But for real, the majority of self-pubbed authors, even in erotica, would be making more money flipping burgers.) I know you said you wanted business advice, which you've gotten tons of - or as much as anyone could really give you until you've actually finished writing something - so I'm not sure what more you are looking for.

But yeah, waving your dick around going "I'm a great writer but nobody in here (the people I'm asking for advice on how to sell my writing for money) is qualified to look at it" is probably not going to garner a lot of sympathy. The people in here trying to help you are, like, doing what you are trying to do, dude. The reason people are harping on it is that "being a decent writer somewhere other than your imagination" actually is an indicator of success in a writing career. You may very well be a good writer, but I'm sure you can understand why people would be skeptical.

I don't care if I'm a good writer or not. If you look back, I was very clear about my position on this. I took a little time to be honest and forthright when queried, but I also mentioned a couple of times that I didn't want this thread to devolve into a weird circlejerk about me and my weirdness. And I certainly don't want it to be about speculating whether I can write or not as it is a moot point. A nonstarter. Inconsequential. This isn't my first time at the Something Awful rodeo. :)

I love this thread for the shoptalk! That's all I want for now! I am only responding sparsely to certain posts about me -- weeks later -- because I'm bored. Let's be honest: this thread moves slow and I am a fun way to pass the time for many of the 'spergy or judge-y or even helpful people lurking and posting here. That's fine. I hope it's at least educational. Don't be like me and, uhhh, I dunno, be honest about your subjective life experience in the cold, vast expanse of an online messageboard as you try to muster the effort to apply the small skillset you have in the twilight of your productive years.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


EngineerSean posted:

Poster "All Else Failed", let me ask you a serious question. It's been twelve days (give or take) since you first posted in this thread. Have you written or published any erotica works? I've only done one and outlined another in that period of time because I took a vacation, but erotica is definitely a numbers game and if you aren't producing, you aren't going to make it.

I finally started last night. It's pretty slow-going thus far. I'm the type of person who has immense trouble starting something productive, but if I can fit myself inside of it and start to enjoy it and tough my way to that a-ha! moment where things start clicking, I can coast on some kinetic motivation. I am fully aware of the need to produce to make this work but let's be honest, that's sage advice for any craft or endeavor.

I think I did around 400 words last night. I've squeezed out about 350 words thus far today but I'm trying to make a decent push through my scatterbrainedness. I miss chainsmoking cigarettes inside right about now, that's for sure. ;). To my credit (maybe), I apparently have trouble just making GBS threads out the words and kind of obsessively edit as I go. It probably makes for more cohesive writing in the meantime, but maybe feels less productive by a simple wordcount. I'm kind of shooting to get to 1500 words a day, five days a week, which seems like a reasonable number that I grabbed from Dalia Daudelin's AMA. That will take time for me though, I am sure.

I am kind of surprised by that process thus far. Writing short stories was my first love as a teenager. It dwindled over the years. Actually taking these first steps aroused a bunch of emotions I didn't expect -- I found myself caring right away about the character and setting and how to write it well while trying to shape it into a certain theme. I found myself un-numbing from the world a bit to dive into my memory and imagination authentically. It has been kind of jarring given my current state. If I didn't have a set goal, this would probably turn into straight romance or something. I actually agree partially with what LaughMyselfTo said while simultaneously believing what I've said previously regarding a bread and circus hoi polloi. There is probably a balance between the two that is most accurate, as is typically the case.

I've been trying for years to overcome the odd sense of loneliness I get when trying to do things that are unconnected from the world. For some reason, I can write all the time on Facebook or play an online game with other people, but writing in Word or playing a single-player game requires overcoming a potent feeling of dread, anxiety, and loneliness. I'm curious if anyone else knows this particular brand of agita and what they do to conquer it, but as always I think the answer is the simple "Face that poo poo, hurt a little, and beat it. There is no easy way."

Also, I am currently accepting prim and proper blowjobs for the utter privilege of reading my brilliant canon, in keeping with this thread's assumptive perception of me. ;) I am willing to admit that I misspoke when I said I would never let a stranger read my work and critique it. I simply have to feel good about that person's way of viewing the world and talent as a writer, and would require some degree of trust which is almost a non-starter in the sphere of internet anonymity. I will say, though, that I got a bunch of advice about 10 years ago on a really pretentious, typical piece of writing I posted in CC that I resisted in the fashion many of you are familiar with, and what I can remember of the criticism was pretty spot on. It took me a long time to come around to the standard Hemingway school of concise writing because I have a love for flowery language and the feel and texture of words themselves. In the past several years I've realized the value (fun, even) in small, dense sentences fired off in staccato. Not that you could tell from my posting. :p

EngineerSean posted:

The very worst that could happen is that you sign it without a lawyer looking at it and you give away something you didn't intend to for life of copyright. Another bad thing would be that they structure their company the way Hollywood does and pay you x% of net, which ends up being zero.

Isn't this the whole reason to get into self-publishing? It's the same thing that is happening across so many marketplaces. Music and gaming especially, but you can even see some weakening of old gatekeepers in TV and film (and maybe even a little bit in banking). The artist has been hosed forever by the business class. They've got it down to a science. The RIAA taught us that. I'd lawyer up before I signed anything, ever, with regard to art or entertainment.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 12:19 on Nov 19, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Bobby Deluxe posted:

If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be this: free write first, edit later.

Your brain consists of two processes - creative and critical. And they absolutely do not get on. When producing, your major problem is always going to be your critical side shooting down ideas as they form. For me this is counterproductive because if I let my brain roll, a lot of complete poo poo comes out* but when I look at it afterwards critically, it can be trimmed into something useable - often good. To get the best out of the critical/creative dichotomy, sometimes you just need to separate them a bit.

I do this and on the days when my e/n bullshit isn't crushing me and I can work, I average 1-2k a day. Blog post about it:

http://dansclayton.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/where-do-ideas-come-from.html

Also my god do I miss brain drugs. I don't smoke anymore and in my early twenties I developed a sensitivity to caffeine, so unless I want palpitations and eventual tachycardia, I can have like one coke a week, maybe. But no coffee. Being a writer without coffee is horrible. This must be what normal people's brains feel like.

I wish the science was in on whether or not ecigs are safe enough because 90% of my best ideas over the years have come from a good walk and a fag.

* much like my posting

"Personally, I think Neil Gaiman had one of the best explanations for where ideas come from, namely that he doesn't know and he doesn't really want to know in case it scares them off." Haha, I love that.

Sobriety is a curse to creativity as far as I'm concerned, but I'll pay for it physically much sooner than you will I'm sure. It's about weighing your options, really. Different strokes and such.

Anyways, I agree with what you're saying, and what the blogpost is saying, to a considerable extent. I don't know that they're totally applicable to what I am trying to do in this particular endeavor, given the nature of it. I am engaging in a more structured exercise with this, almost trying to suppress some of my creativity for learning and mastering a template of fundamentals. Keeping it simple, stupid (if you will). It's a new thing for me, and I think a positive step in improving my writing. I did begin the idea for this first piece by just sitting down and writing, as I usually do -- within a paragraph of writing and editing I knew what I wanted to do. So it kind of follows, anyway.

Were I trying to write something I considered totally free-form and creative, I think those three steps would be quite useful. It strikes me as a great method for self-generating writing prompts from the aether of your own creativity; a way to conquer the dread blank page. When I had more of a life out in the world, I used to carry a notebook and get drunk and write ideas for jokes in it. The humor ended up being in the complete non-sequitur nature of whatever the hell my idea was at the time, but it's something I'd like to pick back up when I'm not a complete shut-in anymore and am trying to write for the sake of pure art. As it is currently, I am almost always at my laptop and Facebook functions similarly for me.

Now that I think of it, when I set out to write a new song (I use a kind of left-to-right sequencing style of music creation), it is very much like free writing, copying one part and building on it over and over, which eventually wanes almost entirely into editing the progression of what I've ended up with. Writing on the straight-and-narrow and attempting to create original music (or write original works) are two totally different animals, though, which was my initial point here.

If that's your blog, I (identify with your absent-mindedness and need to write down ideas and) find the non-fictional writing of it to be incredibly personable and easy to follow. Cheers.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

I know I troll you a bit here but serioustalk I'd rather read what you've produced than Sulla's cynical erotica because you actually sound enthusiastic about writing.

My level of cynicism fluctuates daily. I made a similar point to Sulla's earlier in this thread, so I don't think it is without value when pursuing a lowest-common-denominator market like erotica. It can keep you grounded in delivering to the masses what they want.

And let me be one in millions of unwashed nerds to tell you, "One does not simply quit League of Legends." ;)

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 13:59 on Nov 19, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


bubble butts

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Is the 88 in your name one of those covert white supremacist things? You have the general disposition of a skinhead who accidentally walked into a Woody Allen flick. Then he had to watch it to completion 'cause his Doc Martens sank into the stickiness of so many spilled Semitic sodas.

(I feel like we're getting slightly off topic here.)

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Sundae posted:

Yeah, I think we're about done here. Anyone have new releases planned for the Christmas rush? I'm trying to get my next one out for the post-Christmas Kindlemas.

I will have my first title or three up in time. I don't expect I will see anything from it, but that's no reason to be a slouch. How would you recommend maximizing visibility without a pre-existing catalogue and the standard OP stuff like "have good cover, have good blurb, cross fingers"? You've been through a few of these seasons by now, does anything change besides a significant uptick in purchases?

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


EngineerSean posted:

Put book in kdp select, run book free for five days, forget about book forever.

Just to clarify, I shouldn't keep it free after five days? Is this to have it pop back up as a $2.99 title or another reason? And IIRC it stays in KDP select for 90 days which disallows me from publishing it elsewhere, yes? Lastly, just for my first book or whatever I can get out before, let's say, late January? I'd PM you these questions but I could see it being useful for others as well. (I am 100% going to follow your advice.)

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Let me play devil's advocate and say that if you've already written the content, self-publishing it is like another hour worth of work, if that. Why would you not put something out there and see if it catches fire? Kindle Unlimited is opening doors for new authors, because there's no longer any risk for the reader. If you get tons of 1 star reviews and death threats, you'll have to go through the grueling one minute procedure of coming up with a new pen name and writing it down in front of your keyboard.

And let's be honest, if you're going the non-sexy route and you don't already have a bunch of content from writing for fun/school/your sweater-loving workshop, chances are no one is going to read whatever you first write for the occasion. Doesn't mean don't try, though. :)

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


EngineerSean posted:

have you published yet?

No, I've stalled at about 1800 words over this holiday weekend between family, working on my music, and gaming too much. I do have a friend set up to do my covers now which is nice. I plan on finishing this week and getting it up. Slow going at first but I think it will get easier the more I do it.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Sundae posted:

I've published three shorts in the time since you popped into the thread, and I literally throw up if I look at a computer screen for more than ~45-90 minutes in a sitting. Consider me the Mendoza Line of self-pub: if you're publishing slower than a guy with computer-induced vertigo, you're spending too much time in League of Legends.

To each his own, according to his ability. I'm at an impasse at 2000 words as to where to take it, because everything I've read has said to include more than one encounter and I can't figure out where the logical setting to up the ante is without it feeling arbitrary and it's causing me to avoid it. Which obviously isn't good, but I've at least spent a lot of time on my music project and put up my first new song in ~8 months so at least I'm being kind of productive. You might puke looking at your computer screen which is its own challenge. My challenge is being productive at all and starting new things, so at least there is progress.

You're right though, I should be doing more and playing less LoL. I haven't been addicted to a game this hard in a looooong time.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 18:19 on Dec 3, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


moana posted:

Oh god, I try so hard, so hard to make these hands write, but they won't stop playing this video game! To each according to his--gasp--ability!

Don't compare your laziness to Sundae's legitimate medical issues. You're a lazy bum and you're finally seeing how hard it is to actually write instead of writing posts about how great your writing is. gently caress off until you have something finished, you're not anywhere close to self-publishing if you can't even write a smut short.

You're assumptive, judgmental, negative, full of yourself, and have continually been a grouchy shithead the entirety of posts I've read from you throughout the entirety of the threads on this subject. Go gently caress yourself. :)

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


EngineerSean posted:

She's also rich as hell.

So is Donald Trump. :shrug:

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Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


ravenkult posted:

Quit trying to take the man down, he's a precious author flower, he just needs room to grow. Right after poopsocking his way through LoL.

Listen, someone asked me a question and I responded. Someone else replied to me and I replied back. People need to chill. I've been nothing but friendly and honest about the kind of person I am and understanding of people reading way too much into my comments and plugging me into whatever archtype they see fit, as we all are wont to do. I've brushed off tons of straight-up mean things said to/about me since I first re-found this thread. I know it's fun to hate anonymous people on the internet, but I haven't done anything to deserve it. I thought this thread would be more like the old one which was super chill, but I can see I was wrong there. I'd prefer every post not become about what a piece of poo poo I am, but since people can't seem to refrain I'll go back to perma-lurking. Happy publishing, and good luck to everyone undertaking this endeavor. :)

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