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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Tag: indie author (page 1 of 2)

Building Your Indie Author Empire

Congratulations, You’re an Entrepreneur…an Author-Entrepreneur

The indie author’s life isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s for souls who are willing to stay in on Friday nights, utilize their weekends to work when they may have the day off from their day jobs and are willing to wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later than usual on workdays.

Writers are people who communicate best through words penned or typed rather than speaking on the phone, in a crowd, group, or even texting.

Let’s face it: the writers’ life is a high and lonely destiny, as C.S. Lewis stated in the Magicians’ Nephew regarding those who sought certain occupations.

Then there’s the daunting task of finding an audience, which requires more work than uploading a book to Amazon or any aggregate site for that matter and expecting the royalties to trickle in.

Don’t even get me started on the oversaturated book market where a new book is published every three minutes and the average royalties of indie-authors is $500/year tops.

No, I’m not trying to discourage you from going into the writing or indie-author field.

I’m just handing out real-world data.

But, just because these are averages, the norms, etc. doesn’t mean they’re set in stone. There are a lot of indie-authors making a full-time living from their books but they all struggled early on, bringing in as little as $10 in royalties over the course of six months.

So, how should a writer cope in the real world?

You need a sound plan of action and be ready to change such a plan at will.

 

It’s a Job

If you’ve written books and published them yourself, congratulations, you’re officially an author-entrepreneur.

Now that you’re an author-entrepreneur, obviously unless you’re an indie who’s outsourced your marketing, you need to wear a second hat, so trade in that writer’s cap for a businessperson’s cap.

There you go, now it’s time to think like a businessperson and remember that this is your second job if you want to make money off it.

Note, some indies don’t care about making money, they just like to write and publish books without worrying whether people will buy and that’s okay.

But I’m sure most of you want another stream of income, right?

In today’s world, where uncertainty lurks everywhere, it’s a good idea to have.

So, treat writing like it’s a second job right now and learn to market.

Need a few ideas?

 

Get Your Book’s Name Out There

Start a blog, I can’t reiterate this enough. For those of you serious about blogging, I highly recommend joining Wealthy Affiliate (WA) and yes, I am part of them and will receive a commission if you click through my affiliate links, but rest assured this will save all serious bloggers A TON, literally A TON of money in startup costs.

Invest in paid book promotion and enroll your book in KDP Select. Yes, this is going to sound counterintuitive, but if you enroll in Select, you get five free days each month but don’t expect to sell much more than 100 free copies unless you have a solid name (yes, there are exceptions to this). Now, imagine investing in paid promotion.

Yes, it costs money but these paid promo sites, especially BookBub if you can manage it, have hundreds of thousands of visitors and emails per month, so imagine if you write in fantasy and one of these promo sites have over 100,000 email addresses, it’s going to make your book visible.

Sure, only between 2,000 and 4,000 will buy your book, but Mark Dawson states that you’re looking at between 20 and 40 potential reviews out of these buyers.

While KDP Select freebies don’t count toward sales, you can snag a number of reviews. There is a rumor Amazon is cracking down on these reviews and deleting them if they’re not paid, but you can always upload them yourself into your book’s editorial reviews, which will help.

Another tactic is to place the reviews on your blog and social media pages, so either way you’re getting reviews and hence, more customers trusting your product. I’m honestly not sure if this rumor is true or if it’s merely a gray area in Amazon’s terms and conditions regarding reviews but even if it is, you’ll still have access for a short time and can place these reviews somewhere else.

While I’m on the subject, contact book reviewers. Now, while you may only get a few responses and even fewer willing to read your work, it’s still going to help. You can also gift an e-book to a reviewer so it counts as a sale and if your book is $2.99 or more you’ll get a 70% reimbursement due to royalty, so it’s a cheap investment on your part.

Friends and family can help, too, but beware, because Amazon bots know who follows you and is in contact with your social media accounts, so you may need to delete these people from social media to get around this. Hey, they shouldn’t take it personally, it’s just business as usual.

And finally, query others to see if you can guest blog. Many bloggers love and welcome guest bloggers onto their sites and will even leave links to your work so those who come across the blog will have access. Imagine getting onto a blog that generates high traffic.

 

Have Patience

Be patient, because this will take time, especially if you’re like me and only have one full-length book out.
I’ve always stated that you should be in KDP Select if you have one or two books out in a series, which will allow you to promote them as freebies simultaneously while also using paid promotion to really get the first in series’ name out there.

By having a second book on deck and also promoted (most sites reject promoting seconds in series, just a heads up), readers who enjoyed Book One will probably get Book Two as well.

You can even enroll Book Three in Select and do this same thing with a different promo site and email list before open publishing, which will then leverage you even more traction in the book marketplace.

And yes, this can and will be a process regardless if you publish a series simultaneously or if you publish Book One, Two, and Three in three to six-month increments.

I know we all want to make a living full-time off our writing but we also need to remember we are owning and operating a business whether we want to admit this or not. And remember, there’s not a single business out there that’s profited, even those big names and multinational corporations you see today, in year one.

Building your indie-author empire takes time but if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to be in good shape.

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Hey, Rookie, Welcome to the Indie Author’s World

Welcome to the Book World: Population 50,000,000 Plus More

Eighty-eight sales in Week One. Granted most of them were free, but why spoil the fun?
It’s like being as rookie quarterback making their preseason debut. Sure, Baker Mayfield looked good the other day, but he played against second and third string defenses and faced no complex blitzes.

 
So, I made eighty-eight free sales.

 
And I got my first book review!

 
Hey, for a first-time indie, I’ll take it. I’ll take it and run.

 
But, the goal is to make a living off this.

 
Remember way back when in February when I started My Freedom Flame and talked about pursuing passion?

 
Go back in my archives to February and March, and you’ll find a lot of these.

 
Okay, so I’ve deviated a little from pursuing passion, mainly to talk about themes from my book, many of which involve liberty, conspiracies, the Rothschilds, and interventionism. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve seen the articles.

 

Selling the Idea

It’s more than just selling books; if I wanted to focus on just selling books I’d write some kinky romance full of whatever Fifty Shades of Gray or whatever the big thing is these days. So yes, selling books is definitely important because I want to do this full-time and really have the ability to talk to others regarding passion pursuit.

 
But, the idea of liberty is the true product. Yes, writing killer books is a must, with accurate meta data, breathtaking product descriptions, SEO, the list goes on.

 
However, I’ve written before that my success really hinges on whether or not others get the idea of liberty. America is sick with Stage Four cancer, and if I don’t do my part to help treat the cancer, America is that much closer to, well, falling to the globalists…

 

Trump, Clinton, it didn’t really matter.

 
Either President would’ve done their part in killing the country.

 

How to Get My Books to Stand Out

This was the challenge, but I read an e-book regarding book marketing by Nick Stephenson, a seven-figure author based in the UK.

 
In the Book, Your First 10,000 Readers, Stephenson states a lot of obvious techniques all of us should’ve known the whole time.

 
For one, he states one should create two books and price them perma-free (while Northern Knights isn’t perma-free, I do list it for free often)

 
1. Funnel Book (Northern Knights)

 
2. Magnet Book (Short Story, Novella, etc)

 
3. Website

 
4. Email List

 
Okay, so I have the funnel book and website, but I’m lacking on both email list and magnet book. So, I spent the whole weekend creating the magnet book, a prequel to the Lord of Columbia Series speaking of a character mentioned a few times in passing.

 
The magnet book is absolutely free, and I’m in the process of learning (I’m techo-slow!) how to link it into Northern Knights and get it uploaded onto Amazon to really get this thing going. But, it’s going to take me a few attempts, so I won’t even put it up until I get everything correct, which again will take a few. I’m a rookie here!

 

The Truth About Amazon

The truth about Amazon is that it’s an e-book hub, literally millions of e-books. I made it into the Top 100 in one of my categories days after the release (among free books), which is a good sign. I had a good review, which is another good sign.

 
But, how do I stand out among millions upon millions of books?

 
I need to do all I can to reward my readers.

 
I wish I’d known this a month ago, as I just lost out on repeat traffic.

 
However, I’m also glad I learned all this within two weeks of publishing, and not years afterward, like others might.

 
I’m very internet and research savvy, despite being techo-slow, which is what led me to Stephenson’s techniques, and I was slapping myself in the head for having everything in front of me (plus a magnet novella in the back of my head).

 
But, straightening the ship is something that will be necessary constantly, especially in Year One of being an author-entrepreneur.

 
I’m very excited to see where this leads and I’m always one who states to remain a student of any craft you embark on.

 
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

NorthernKnights3

The Writer’s (Not So) Easy Life

Any Writer’s Slash Storyteller’s Life is Anything but Easy

Let me be the first to tell you I’m only six months into this pursuing my passion for writing journey, but I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. While I wrote the first drafts of Comeback Kid and Lord of Columbia over the past three years, it’s only been my number one priority for a few months.

 
Before that, it was to become one of the most well-known fitness trainers out there, but I had to admit to myself the obvious: I wanted to make a living from writing more than I did from fitness. Nothing wrong with fitness, but after studying what I study (Deep State, new world order, globalism), writing just seemed the more humane path for me.

 
However, since embarking on this path and slowly morphing my life from 100% trainer and 0% writer in 2014, to slowly changing my guard (75/25 in 2015, 50/50 in 2016, and 25/75 in 2017), all the way to “pretty much” 100% writer in 2018, I’ve learned two things:

 
1. I definitely made the right choice, despite considering 2018 my “rookie year.”

 
2. The lifestyle of a trainer is definitely the easier of the two, but I love complexity, so bring it on!

 
And that’s what I’m going to touch up on today: The Life of the Writer.

 

Pop Guys are Dumbasses

Sorry for the harsh title, but what’s funny is no one’s been a bigger critic than my biggest “follower,” the Pepsi Guy. I wish you could all meet him, as I’ve written about the dude several times. Long story short, he’s one of those arrogant minds who believes he’s right on everything.

 
Here’s his real thought process: If you’re not punching a timeclock and working your ass off, you’re too lazy to work.

 
Oh, really, Pepsi Guy?

 
Or perhaps you’re just too ignorant to see through your own stupidity.

 
Any writer would back me on this one.

 
Any writer.

 
Hell, even as a trainer, I’m not making ends meet unless I give my heart and soul to my clientele.

 
Either way, like I just mentioned, the writer’s life is tough, especially just starting out.

 

Fun, yes, but beyond tough.

 

What Writers Do

Okay, so for one, in this fast-paced day and age, you better be coming up with new material. Therefore, I’m releasing Lord of Columbia: Northern Knights a month earlier than planned, but on KDP Select for three months before rolling it over into open publishing.

 
I’m doing this because come November 1st, Book Two (working title is Swords of Destiny) will be released, again on KDP Select, while Northern Knights goes into the open markets. Come February 2019, Book Three will follow the same path, before I do away with KDP Select come Book Four unless it provides strong dividends in return.

 
Also, I have Comeback Kid, a much smaller novel, getting released around Decemberish…okay I totally made that word up.

 
Needless to say, not only am I coming out with new material, but different genres, and a lot of books.

 
Why?

 
For a few reasons.

 
But the primary reason is this: I’m an indie-author and I better look at myself as an entrepreneur more than an author, and so should you if you’re going this route. What attracted me to being indie is this: I can run my own business and if I succeed, I can reward myself. If I fail, I only have myself to point the finger at.

 
Also, owning a business (indies are business owners), we need to learn the business, study the market, and drive our product toward the way customers are buying product.

 
What if they stop buying e-books and go audio, as some charts have implied?

 
We better have our books out in audio.

 
What if people like box-sets more with branded covers?

 
We better be morphing our products into box-sets with branded covers, as I plan on doing if Lord of Columbia makes it. I’m thinking giving each book their own unique identity before creating a box-set and branding them, which I’ll be hiring a graphic designer for rather than buy premade covers, which I’m doing now.

Traditional Author or Indie-Authorpreneur?

See, here’s the score: If you’re traditional, it means someone loved your work so much that they’re going to pay you in royalties to publish it. However, you’re selling your rights, letting them set your prices, they’re choosing the cover, title, and description for you, and everything else.

 
Though you’re still doing most of the marketing.

 
As for an indie, you have full control, and it’s like having your own business…it is having your own business. You’re an entrepreneur, which some in the industry call authorpreneur.

 
So, are you molded for traditional or indie?

 
Are you an author or an authorpreneur?

 
Are you just writing-minded or do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

 
This is where my training background comes in, as being a trainer was like me having my own business. I could set my own hours, and train people at my own discretion…that’s until 247 became so corporate they cracked down on us trainers and measured our talent by monthly sales numbers in favor of, oh, I don’t know…. changing lifestyles?

 
Now, as an indie, sales numbers are of utmost importance. However, I’m not employed by anyone but myself. I have no boss to answer to but me. I can measure my own success in favor of a company measuring success for me, especially at the amount they were paying me.

 
Again, For me, indie wins out.

 
But, if you don’t want to worry about cover design, editing, description, title, or any of that, traditional may be the way to go. However, if you’re indie, and you’re successful to have a nice, little budget, you can always outsource much of the work.

 
I like to keep the writing (obviously) and editing to myself. Many will insist on outsourcing editing, but the Jerry Jenkins Writers’ Guild helped me leave my pride at the door and become a near-perfectionist when it comes to self-editing, something he terms: ferocious self-editing. It’s funny, because when I’m in the library doing my editing, I’ll usually grab one of the Left Behind books he wrote if I get stuck and skim through for an example to make sure I’m editing the same way Jerry would.

What Makes the Writer’s Life a Challenge?

For one, if you’re like me and embarking on your own, you better get used to working without making money early on. Sure, income is going to flow in, slowly at first, heck, perhaps at a snail’s pace at first, but money’s made while you sleep…literally.

 
Money isn’t made while you’re working, so you can make money while you’re sleeping. You want to make money while you sleep without punching a timeclock? Own a writing/author business.

 
When Lord of Columbia: Northern Knights is released, the goal is to start working toward a livable income.

 
Note, I didn’t say the goal is a livable income. That takes time, but start building toward it. When Swords of Destiny comes along, I’m hoping to be partially there. When Book Three comes along, six months from August 1st, I hope to be closing the gap. Meanwhile, Comeback Kid will be in its first stages, too.

 
It’s all about building slowly.

 
Remember, the Houston Astros lost 100+ games three years in a row before they built a decent team and eventually won the World Series.

 
So, if you want to be a full-time writer, something I’ve learned in Year One is to be patient, patient, patient. Make sure that product you’re selling is pristine. Too many writers fail to do this, and now companies like Amazon have noticed and are trying to put a stop to it, as I read an earlier article about them axing less-than-perfect product in the e-book and book market. Good.

 
Take pride in your product and make it as close to perfect as you can.

 
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

Road to Somewhere Special

How Hardships Often Lead to Beautiful Destinations

Last night, in the overcast sky, I test-drove my car, since we replaced my brother’s air vent under the hood with mine and I took his damaged, duct-taped vent. So, I drove out to the old baseball fields and back home.

 
Yet, as I veered off a backroad and onto another backroad I couldn’t help but notice the winding road I previously took cut into the trees, and above it, the endless horizon. As someone who loves nature, especially beautiful nature shots, I pulled my car over and snapped a picture, which I used as the featured image to this article.

 
But, it made me think, this road leads to somewhere special. That somewhere special is a small town I’ve used as a past featured image: Wintersville, Ohio, which if you’d been following my blog long enough, is the town Richfield, North Columbia is based on.

 
For those of you who don’t know, Richfield, North Columbia serves as my main setting in Lord of Columbia: Northern Knights, set to be released via KDP Select (also available in paperback) on August 1st, something I’m calling a soft launch before I revert to open publishing come November 1st, with Book Two (Swords of Destiny) going into KDP Select.

A Long, Winding Road to Somewhere Special

I look back in hindsight to 2016, where I was making a comfortable living as a personal trainer, a year which also served as my high-water mark, all the way to today, July 23rd, 2017. Things are quite different. Money isn’t coming in like it used to, as I’ve decided to go with heart over logic and pursue my long-dormant dream of making a living off writing and research.

 
It involved me pursuing such a road full-time, without a look in the rearview mirror, except when I take a ride down memory lane, as I’m doing today. But, this picture meant so much more to me, as it symbolizes not a single one of us will be facing a long, winding road to nowhere forever.

 
Instead, that long, winding road to somewhere leads to somewhere special; somewhere we’ve never been before, somewhere uncertain, but somewhere much more beautiful than what we’ve left behind.

 
In other words, I know the road I’m on, as dangerous as it is sometimes, and as uncertain the place is I’m driving, will lead to something far better than what I’ve left in the dust; the training career that once held so much promise, but the corporate ironclaw sucked the passion straight out of me…though I still love to workout. In fact, a writer should probably consider a daily workout if they’re seated often. Not only will it keep your body strong, but it’ll also refresh your mind, two musts in the writing industry.

 
So, as I continue to separate myself from training and dedicating myself to writing, hardships are definitely going to be the case, as they are for anyone “crazy” enough to think they can succeed in their passion, but you know what, it’s been stress-free, considering the amount of work required.

 

Stress Free?

Put it this way, and Jerry Jenkins said it best: Writing is like running a marathon, and he’d take the marathon sometimes over writing.

 
Well, not me, because even though I like running in the summertime, I’d probably die if I had to run 26.2 miles.

 
But I see Jerry’s point. Writing is like running a marathon. We have a great premise, an awesome, sometimes twisty ending, but man, the marathon of the middle is tough. However, I found, and Stephen King is the expert at this, a way to keep the marathon of the middle fun, exciting, and stress-free: Keep putting your characters into terrible trouble and write to find out what happens.

 
I love this, especially since I identify as a pantster, someone who writes by the seat of their pants, and not an outliner, though I do try to outline via a synopsis and put an idea or two in my brainstorming as I figure out where I’m going with each chapter. So, in that case, I’m really an outliner-turned pantster somewhere in the middle of my novel.

 
I found this out while writing Swords of Destiny (I wrote the first three manuscripts before I even thought about releasing Lord of Columbia: Northern Knights), where I’ll be vague and state something was supposed to happen but something else happened and I loved it, so I went with it, even if it affected the remainder of the whole series, however many more books I decide to write on Lord of Columbia.

 
Anyway, what I’m getting to is despite the amount of work, thought, editing, plot-hole avoiding, editing again, proofreading, finding more mistakes and editing again, I thoroughly enjoy this and take on the mindset that anything most find stressful, I find as a blessing. For instance, if I uncover a tiny grammar error in an edit, I’m thankful I found it before someone else (a reader) finds it.

 
As for book marketing and promoting, I looked at several avenues, and for many, it seems like an uphill battle, which I sympathize with myself, since I’m very new at all of this. However, everyone has to go through growing pains, and though trial and error, I’ll eventually know what needs to be done, and what doesn’t.

 
However, I found a few awesome places online that really help: JustPublishingAdvice, run by Derek Haines, and The Creative Penn, run by Joanna Penn. Let me tell you, these two sites answer just about every single question about the business side of writing I have. And it’s, for the most part, free info. Both happen to be amazing writers with a large following, too…or I should say, authorpreneurs.

 

Success Stories

I love reading indie-author success stories. People go one way or another regarding such stories. Your jealous crowd will always state that these people are lucky and that’s why they’re where they are. I disagree; they are where they are because they embraced something called chaos. Again, I find it stress-free because I’m not only willing to take it on, but I know it’s coming.

 
It’s like being a Browns fan…I’m going to have a lot of fun watching them play this year, but I know it’s going to be a seventeen-week season and they’re going to finish somewhere between 0-16 and 3-13. But hey, they might actually have something brewing this year…Jarvis Landry, Duke Johnson, Tyrod Taylor, Josh Gordon’s coming back (though he’s starting camp on the R-NFI list), and a defense that actually looks NFL-caliber despite last year’s record, but anyway, I can see the losses coming. However, I can also see a lot of wins coming from this group. I didn’t even mention Baker Mayfield!

 
But, what I’m getting to is this: Each successful author has made mistakes. They’ve had highs, lows, and mostly lows, when starting out. However, determination, grit, toughness, and the never-say-die attitude is what has made them succeed, will make me succeed, and will make you succeed.

 
And that’s how a long, winding road leads to somewhere special.

 
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

Todd, You’re Crazy!

Nope, I’m Passionate. Passion over Everything

Do you know what’s funny?

 

Those who have the blood and guts available to spill when pursuing their deepest dreams tend to end up on top of many lists once the reach the pinnacle of success.

 

How many of us have ever felt down and out?

 

I know I have, especially when I’m forgoing a fifty-hour a week job in the field I went to school for complete with insurances and benefits.

 

Yeah, and everyone around me are either having kids or working such jobs in something.

 

I’ll stick to blogging and come September 1st, indie-publishing, as I begin gathering research for freelance articles to submit in a few weeks’ time.

 

Does one need a job on the side to survive?

 

Most definite.

 

But, we don’t want that job to label us.

 

 

Screw that.

 

In fact, it’s the way we fund our passion, and nothing else.

 

But wow, what if we just took the full gig, benefits, and retirement plan?

 

Yeah, we’d probably be set for life.

 

But, isn’t that what everyone does?

 

Crazy, but Persistent

How many of us have parents, grandparents, and even friends who think we’re crazy for not going the traditional route in life?

 
You know, those parents who want their kids to get a job, make a living, and, well, just work for a company you never thought you’d ever work for in your life and never planned to.

 
But, they pay well.

 
But, you get weekends off and two weeks’ vacation each year.

 
Todd, you’re crazy not to give up on what you’ve always wanted to take this thing.

 

 

They’ll take care of you, and any family you may have. They’ll give you everything you need to live.

 
See, that’s where my independent attitude contradicts corporate Stockholm syndrome. That’s exactly what happens; Stockholm syndrome. It’s not Libertarianism; it’s corporatism.

 
I’m sorry, but you can take your benefits, your 401(k), your retirement plan, your social security, your everything and shove it.

 
When you work a job you see value in, that can spread a message, can reach and change people, well, it’s worth more than anything listed above.

 
When you embark on your own journey (sure, working another job will fund this thing, but that’s it) you’re feeling a sense of independence, sense of self, humanitarianism, passion, desire, and anything else you can fit into that category.

 
When you embark on your own journey, you’re taking the road less traveled, and that’s what made all the difference.

 

Pitfalls and Slumps

Not to say pitfalls and slumps won’t be part of this. Again, you’re forgoing a lot here. You’re sacrificing the big position at work. You’re sacrificing higher pay by sacrificing the big position. You may be the hardest worker they got, but you have an ulterior motive.

 
The stress of such a decision may eat at you, and sometimes regret may step in. But you must continue to plow forward, look ahead, and seek a brighter day.

 
You hold your passion to a higher regard, and $30,000 per year will give you all you need to continue working toward your passion in favor of $50,000, $60,000, or $70,000 per year. Sure, everyone and their mother will find you crazy.

 
Except your tribe. Those followers, those awaiting your book release, those in a similar position as you and are feeling the same torment but you’re their motivator. You’re the one who stepped in and said, “Without hesitation, I didn’t take the promotion, and make this place my entire life.”

 

Conclusion

Because your day job isn’t your life. It’s a cash flow, and that’s it. I’m not branding myself as a victim to corporate America. I’m not playing the little corporate game. I handed back the $70,000 check and took $30,000 instead, because I knew what I wanted, and it’s passion, not money.

 
My passion, writing, defines me, and who I am. Not a corporation. Not a place that looks to bribe others out of achieving their dreams, out of pursuing their dreams. No, I’m not going to state, “I work for the greatest company ever” like so many people I know.

 
No, I’m not going to drop to my knees and engage in corporate worship. No, I’m not going to pledge my life to a corporation. No, I’m not going to state, “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

 
Why?

 
Because it’s a free market, at-will society, and I’m exchanging my time for compensation. I’m exchanging my services for compensation. I’m choosing to go in there and give my services.

 
But, it’s all for the ulterior motive.

 
It’s all for my own business. It’s all for the passion, the journey I’m embarking on. That, right there, is exactly why I’ll never give up my passion, work five to six days a week for a corporation, let them rule my life, make them a lot of money, and thank them for the opportunity.

 

 

So, am I crazy?

 

 

No, I’m passionate, and so are you.

 

 

Thanks for reading.

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