Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
AME Blog Carnival: tips and tricks for writers and authors – December 16, 2013
December 16, 2013by: Paula
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Welcome to the December 16, 2013 edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors. This week’s edition features advice on getting published, writing, social media, and self-publishing. Thank you to all of the contributors!

Getting Published

Chrys Fey presents Don’t Say Getting Published is Hopeless posted at Write With Fey, saying, “Those of us who were born to write, write for ourselves first. But there will always come a time when we will want to share our creation(s) with the world. This is when we step into the publishing world with unsure steps and shaking legs.”

guy with stack of books2

Erica Verrillo presents Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: Top 5 Online Resources for Short Story Markets posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “It is received wisdom that in order to get a novel published you should start by placing short stories in literary magazines. Like most received wisdom, this is hogwash. So, why bother? For one thing, some people are really good at writing short stories – much better than they are at writing novels. So, if you can write a good short story, get it published! Here are the most extensive, and most useful, resources for finding the perfect home for your short story.”


Yvonne Wu presents Bajeerao’s Struggle as a Writer posted at Self Help Collective Blog – What’s New | Share Your Stories | What’s Popular…, saying, “Bajeerao’s Struggle as a Writer”

Tamara Dever presents What you should know before you start looking for a designer. posted at TLC Graphics’ “Help Me Publish” Blog, saying, “Great advice on how to find the right designer for your book’s cover and/or interior. It’s an important step in publishing that shouldn’t be neglected!”

Social Media

Joel Friedlander presents 5 Steps to Author Blogging Success posted at The Book Designer, saying, “Getting started in blogging couldn’t be easier, making it work is another thing altogether. This article details 5 steps to help authors achieve success as bloggers.”

John Schmoll presents How to Save Time as a Blogger: Hire a Virtual Assistant posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Managing a blog can take a lot of work, especially when you’re the only one working on it. Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to maximize your resources, allow you some time off and grow your blog for the future.”


emilynolin presents The Courage To Piss People Off posted at emilynolin.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of Dec. 9, 2013
December 13, 2013by: Paula
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How can you market your book more effectively? Get some ideas from these top book marketing tweets from the past week, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include ways to improve your website’s conversion rate, why your book cover is so important, what to avoid with social media marketing, and more. Best of luck with your promotions!


* Author Blogging: Why You Should Be Doing It

Blogging is a way you can communicate with and build a relationship with your readers. Here’s why blogging matters:

book interior and moonlit night2

* Understanding Google AuthorRank and Content

Google Authorship allows you to build a network of fans, if you know how to set it up properly:

* Right Now, Your Book Cover is the Most Important Part of Your Book

The decision to buy your book – or to buy another author’s book – begins with your cover:

* 46 Experts Share Their Top Social Media Management Tools

There are many ways you can make social media posting, management, and monitoring simpler. Here’s what the experts say:

* 17 Pieces of Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Marketing Advice

These are tips that you can ignore; you don’t have to be everywhere and do everything when it comes to promotion:

* 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s Conversion Rate

When people visit your website, you want them to take action. Here’s what you can do to make visitors become followers and buyers:

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AME Blog Carnival: tips and tricks for writers and authors – December 9, 2013
December 9, 2013by: Paula
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Welcome to the December 9, 2013 edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors. We’ve got a great mix of insights into writing, book marketing, self-publishing, and book sales. Thank you to all of this week’s contributors.

Book Sales

Erica Verrillo presents Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: Rising in the Ranks: Amazon Ranking Revealed posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Amazon’s ranking system has been the source of much speculation over the years. The ranking is not simply based on the number of books sold by the day (or hour), but also takes into account how your book fares against other books in the same category, which Amazon calculates based on a secret algorithm which only clairvoyants, psychics, and 33rd degree Masons have access to. In this article, I show you exactly how many books you need to sell to make it onto Amazon’s bestseller list.”


Getting Published

Arthur Burlo presents Five Ways To Deal With Rejection And Use It To Achieve Your Goals posted at The Money Earning Sites Central, saying, “The subject is rejection, but rather than focusing on dealing with this unpleasant experience, it is all about transforming it into a powerful weapon to improve writing style and achieve the success every book author desires. Thanks for giving me an opportunity to share this.”


Nick Daws presents Kindle eBook Descriptions – Amazon Changes the Rules (Again) posted at Nick Daws’ Writing Blog, saying, “Amazon recently changed the rules regarding how you are allowed to format descriptions on your Kindle eBook sales pages. In this post I set out the latest position.”


Chrys Fey presents Rules for writing: How to use Ellipses posted at Write With Fey, saying, “Ellipses are like pauses. They are also known as “dot-dot-dot”. Yes, they are those three dots (…) that you see from time to time while reading. This post will tell you how to use them properly.”

Sue Collier presents Avoiding the Tired Topic Rut on Your Blog posted at Latest blog entries | SEO & Internet Marketing Blog –

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of Dec. 2, 2013
December 6, 2013by: Paula
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Get inspired by these book marketing tweets from the past week, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include Twitter etiquette, how to have a more effective blog, what kind of visual content works in marketing, and more. Best of luck with your promotions!


* 5 Habits of Motivated Novelists – Which Ones Do You Have?

Did you ever wonder how some writers manage to get all their work done? They probably follow these rules:

Dog with book H1

* 5 Reasons Your Blog Post Stinks (And What to Do Instead)

If you feel you’ve been toiling away but get crickets in response, reevaluate your approach to blogging:

* 7 Ways to Make Your Content Amazingly Edible

These tips will help you understand what your followers want so you can keep them coming back to your site:

* What Visual Content Should You Use to Make Your Marketing Stand Out?

We hear a lot about how using photos and videos are important; learn the most effective methods:

* 12 Elementary Tips for Twitter

When you practice Twitter etiquette you will attract – not repel – followers:

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AME Blog Carnival: tips and tricks for writers and authors – December 2, 2013
December 2, 2013by: Paula
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Welcome to the December 2, 2013 edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors. We’ve got a good mix of tips on book marketing, writing, and self-publishing. Thank you to the contributors.

Book Marketing

Erica Verrillo presents Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity: Why Google Adwords is (and isn’t) a Waste of Time posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Unless you are selling a product that costs over $200, it would be a waste of money for anyone to use Google Adwords. So, why would any sane writer want to promote a book on Google Adwords? Provided you don’t pay for it, Google Adwords is an excellent way of judging which buzz words the public will respond to.”

best advice you'll ever get


Colin Dunbar presents Book Formatting Basics posted at FormatBookInWord, saying, “Formatting a book is an art and a science, and with hard copy books and PDF ebooks both the art & science are present. With Kindle ebooks and ePubs it’s more the science part that’s present (actually technical is a more accurate term). There’s nothing to panic about though, as all will be revealed in this blog.”

Sarah Bolme presents More Good News posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Good news for self-publishers with an important selling and marketing tip.”


Chrys Fey presents Writing About: Intimacy posted at Write With Fey, saying, “This post is for anyone who wants to know how to write love scenes.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Author Alert: Resolving the Amazon Keyword Issue
November 27, 2013by: Penny
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Here is a follow up to my original post the other day, if you missed it, see it here:

I’m including full details of what transpired along with contact information should you need to reach out directly to Amazon to see if your book could be in trouble. Also, I’ll offer you some step-by-step instructions for dealing with this issue, if it happens to you.

When Amazon pulled a book we were working on, I decided that I needed to dig deeper to find out the heart of the issue around this. I get the keyword banter, but much of it is misunderstood. Let me explain.

When I wrote to Amazon initially (after I noticed that the book was pulled) they said they prohibited “any and all keywords with other authors or similar book titles in the description or keyword area.”

Now let me clarify something. People will often use the terms tags and keywords interchangeably. What I’m speaking of are the keywords associated with your book page, the back end page where you upload your book, add your book cover, etc. For most of us this will be KDP. See screen grab here:


KDP Book Image









I took it upon myself to raise hell because, you know, pulling a book is pretty heavy-handed. I called Author Central; actually, I had them call me. You can access this through your Author Central Page if you click the “Help” button. They called me and referred me to the Kindle people and she said, “You cannot reach them by phone.” Sigh. Of course. So I wrote them and got a stringent email back, along the lines of “you screwed up, we’ll do what we can.” But the bigger issue here, at least as it relates to this title, is the author was never notified the first time. No notice. Just poof, the book is gone. Heartbreak. Especially since we’re knee-deep in promoting this book.

I hear often that you just can’t reach Amazon – ever. I decided to prove otherwise and was determined to get to the bottom of this.

I had read somewhere that Jeff Bezos reads all of his email. I don’t know if that’s true or an Amazon urban legend but I figured it was worth a try. So I took the email they gave me for KDP (their standard email) and wrote the following note to both Jeff Bezos and KDP. Candidly, I assumed it would lead nowhere:

Dear Mr. Bezos & KDP Support,

I wanted to bring an issue to your attention that is very concerning to those of us in publishing. One of the titles we are working with was pulled from Amazon (the eBook). I spoke with someone in Author Central yesterday after a title was pulled from KDP: ASIN: B00FA5EB4Q

I have a special email set up for this author which we check and she was *not* notified by your team, despite the fact that someone in your office stated that an email went out on 10-22. This email was never received by the author. I would think that given the seriousness of pulling a title, more than one notification would be warranted. This author is spending a lot of money on promoting this title and during the KDP giveaway she gave out in excess of 37,000 books. This number is very high for a new author. There is a certain momentum that follows a giveaway like that; with this title gone that momentum has evaporated.

When I spoke with Author Central, the gal there said that you can no longer use author names or book titles in your keywords OR description. Then I spoke with someone at CreateSpace and she said she’d not heard about this. I have blogged on this and I’d like to do a follow up. Any information you can share would be helpful to other authors. I would be like to update this post based on your feedback. See post here,

It would be helpful to have some input into this issue so we can help alert authors and your office can avoid getting a huge number of emails from these folks. I realize that Amazon is focused on the customer, but your author is also a customer.


In the morning, I got a note from an executive within KDP. I’ve removed his name for privacy reasons. Here’s his note:

My name is (BLANK) of Amazon’s KDP, Executive Customer Relations. Jeff Bezos received your e-mail and asked that I respond on his behalf. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have started investigating your concerns with the relevant department.  To protect our authors’ and publishers’ privacy, we can only send correspondence to the e-mail address associated with the account the title was published on. Once I have more information, I will work directly with the author to resolve her concerns.

Thank you for your understanding.



Apparently whatever I did elevated this issue, at least somewhat. Within an hour, the book was live again, they keywords removed of course. But, the other big issue was that when the book went live, the original link to it was a 404 page that had nothing on it, just an “oops” message from Amazon. Problem! We were promoting this book using the link to the eBook and the book was no longer there. So, I wrote him and asked if that could be fixed. It could, and within fifteen minutes the book was fixed and live – once again.

He also sent me this, which is their standard wording for their keywords and metadata guidelines:

As stated in our Metadata Guidelines (, search keywords that are not accurate descriptors of a book’s central storyline or are completely unrelated to its content may be misleading to our customers and are unacceptable. Misleading search keywords, such as reference to other authors or titles, result in confusion for customers as to why the work is included in search results. To that end, authors may be asked to remove misleading terms from their book’s search keyword fields so that we can ensure the keywords do not lead to inaccurate or overwhelming search results or impair our readers’ ability to make good buying decisions. If no changes are made to the book’s search keyword fields, the book may be removed from sale. In all cases of book removal, the author is notified. Our team is looking into any technical issues that occurred during our notification to you. If we determine an error in our messaging system, all authors impacted will be notified immediately.

If you aren’t sure, check those keywords and check your book description and do so right now. From what I understood from the Author Central person I initially talked with, they are really cracking down on this now. I will, however, add this. When I asked him the specific keywords that were offensive, he only cited one book title. This author had a mix of book titles and keywords associated with her category, yet Amazon only cracked down on one of the words which seems odd to me. As I said, it’s not an exact science. You should follow up individually and find out. Do your due diligence on this. There are a lot of people out there talking about a lot of things “they know” – candidly I don’t know if anyone knows for certain what the exact keyword issues are.

I’ve had some responses from people saying that, “Well such and such book is referenced in my book, can I mention it?” The answer is I don’t know.  But here is a way to contact Amazon:


I’m giving you the KDP email since much of this falls in that territory. If you have no control over this, check with your publisher. I know many publishers have done this with keywords so ask them.

You can also reach someone in Author Central and often speak to them live. Just click “Help” through your Author Central account, they can call you back at a time you determine. Keep in mind that they will tell you that KDP is in charge of this and they can’t help you. But they may be able to steer you in a better direction, or offer some additional clarity.

If, God forbid, you find your book gone, here is what you can do to contact Amazon:

1)      Panic: People will tell you to calm down. Let’s face it, your book is gone. The time for calm has long since passed. Freak out, scream, do whatever – and when you’re done with that, spring into action.

2)      Contact KDP support or whomever has done the listing for your book. If you reach out to KDP make sure that you reference the ISBN and ASIN number of the book.

3)      Be polite. Don’t be a train wreck in email. Ask for help.

4)      If you got a notification and didn’t heed it, you may lose your book and there is nothing KDP can do to reinstate it. You can ask, but the answer will likely be no.

5)      Wait and see what happens. Most of the responses are pretty immediate.

6)      Since the majority of this affects KDP titles, it’s not a good idea to just use your eBook link when you’re promoting your book. Use the link to the book page that will give readers the option to get a paperback or Kindle version. In this case the eBook disappeared as did the link to it (404 oops! page).

When I posted the initial string in this discussion, several authors came back and said, “I would never do that!” Well, that’s great but associating your book with similar titles has been a marketing tool for many, many years. This post isn’t to debate the merits of keywords associated to bigger titles. It’s about proactively monitoring your book, dealing with a big company and being successful in spite of the odds.

So, the moral of the story is a) don’t piss off Amazon and b) you can resolve issues with them. I understand that they are the 8,000 pound gorilla but they will serve you if you ask and if you’re persistent enough.

To those who say “I can’t fix any issues with Amazon” I say, “Then you’re not trying hard enough.”

Bitching about Amazon isn’t productive, it’s the world we live in. We have to find a way to work within it, instead of against it. That’s how you’ll be successful.

Oh and the title in question?


Unraveling the Keyword Mystery with

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Amazon Making Big Changes – Authors Beware!
November 26, 2013by: Penny
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Amazon Making is shaking things up again, this time with the keywords and book description.

In the past you were allowed, encouraged even, to use similar book titles and author names in your book description. This is no longer the case. Amazon has been notifying people about this but I just spoke with an author who got no notification, her book was simply pulled off of the Amazon site. Do NOT use author names or book titles in your book description or keywords/tags.

Please do not assume because you have not gotten an email from Amazon that your book is safe.

Please check your keywords. Most of the keyword maneuvering has been through the KDP backend (Kindle Direct Publishing) so if you published through some other channel you are most likely okay. But I know that publishers (yes, traditional New York publishers) have been doing this, too so you should check with your editor immediately.

UPDATE: I’m updating this post as I get questions. Here’s more information: There has been a removal of books for offensive keywords. We know this. This is a different matter. This relates to author names or book titles. Here’s the thing: if your book gets dinged it will get pulled. This isn’t just a removal of the buy button, they will remove the book and you have to resubmit it all over again. I just ran through this process with someone so this is first hand information.

We are in the crucial holiday buying season. No one wants to be dealing with this now.

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AME Blog Carnival: tips and tricks for writers and authors – November 25, 2013
November 25, 2013by: Paula
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Welcome to the November 25, 2013 edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors. We’ve got some great posts on book publicity, book marketing, self-publishing, and more. Thank you to all of the contributors.

Book Marketing

Kimberley Grabas presents 2 Must-Dos to Make Your Book Marketing Infinitely Easier posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, “Why is it that your book marketing is falling short? You’re trying to implement as many of the tricks and tips that the ‘experts’ recommend, but few of your marketing tactics are gaining traction. Sure, you haven’t tried EVERYTHING yet, but you’ve tried enough to move the needle at least a smidge, right? There’s no question that building a strong platform takes time, and gaining momentum–even with a sound marketing plan–requires the patience of a saint. But something just isn’t jiving.”


Getting Published

Janel Comeau presents How to (Theoretically) Publish Your Novel and Live Happily Ever After posted at Janel Comeau, saying, “Some insight into the query process, with comments about my own in-progress querying journey.”

Erica Verrillo presents Established Literary Agents Looking for New Clients posted at Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Every so often an established agent will announce that she or he is seeking new clients. Whenever an established agent seeks out new clients, it is a boon for new authors. You get the dual advantage of having someone who will work hard for you, and who has the connections to do so. Here are two established agents who are actively building their client lists.”


Steven Chang presents How To Start A Successfully Food Blog: Interview With Kavitha of posted at How To Start A Blog: For Fun And Profit!.

Angela Lam Turpin presents 5 Myths about Self Publishing posted at The official website of Angela Lam Turpin, saying, “Self-published author shares 5 truths about self-publishing.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of tips and tricks for writers and authors using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of Nov. 18, 2013
November 22, 2013by: Paula
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We’ve collected some top book marketing tweets from the past week, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include why you should sell your book on your website, how to establish yourself as an expert, ideas for a successful book launch, and more. Happy marketing!


* 5 Reasons Authors Need to Use Social Media for Book Marketing

More than half of adults use social media, so it makes sense that you’ll find your readers on various social media platforms. But there are additional reasons to use social media for promotion:

flying books in library2

* How to Make The Most Of Direct Sales of Your Books From Your Website

All of the online retailers that allow you to sell your book on their sites are worth using; but don’t overlook selling books on your website. Here’s how:

* How to Be Perceived as an Expert in Your Field, 5 Steps

It’s really not that difficult to establish yourself as an expert. These tips will help you get started:

* Pinterest for Writers: Another Way to Waste Time with Social Media?

If you’re thinking of using Pinterest for book promotion, learn some of the pros and cons first:

* How to Market Your Book: 6 Components of a Successful Book Launch

These steps will guide you through what you should do to promote and market your book when it’s published:

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Working with the (former) Kennedy Secret Service
November 21, 2013by: Penny
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President-John-F-KennedySome years back I had the great pleasure of working with two former Kennedy Secret Service Agents. It was quite amazing really.

In recent days I’ve been seeing Clint Hill everywhere and have been reminded of my time marketing The Kennedy Detail as well as getting to know Clint. He’s a pretty remarkable human and it was incredible to meet him, spend time with him and hear his account of history first hand.

 I ran this blog post three years ago, right after the campaign for The Kennedy Detail ended and I thought, given the 50 year anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, that it might be interesting to post it again.


A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to help our clients, the authors of The Kennedy Detail, host a book signing here in San Diego. We had it at Warwick’s books, and it was fantastic. Author Jerry Blaine was accompanied by Clint Hill. He’s the guy you see jumping on the back of Kennedy’s car after the President was shot. He threw himself over JFK and Jackie as they sped to the hospital. Every time he retold that story, I felt like I was there. Hearing the gunshot, and reliving the moment that none of us will ever forget.

Clint Hill was, understandably, affected by this incident in such a way that for years, he never even spoke about it. In fact, after that infamous “60 Minutes” interview, in which he broke down, he wasn’t seen much again for 35 years – until The Kennedy Detail was released. Throughout the promotion, I wondered how this would affect him. Talking about “that day” over and over again, I couldn’t imagine how he was dealing with it.

Our San Diego event was towards the end of a fairly extensive book tour and I asked his co-author, “How’s Clint holding up…?” Clint later answered that question himself when he told the crowd, “Talking about this day over and over again has healed me in ways that time and years never could.”

Every once in a while, we are blessed to work on campaigns that remind us why we do what we do. Yes, the book was very successful and that’s great. But moreover, it touched people and it told a story. In the end, that’s what this is all about. At the Warwick’s event, a young girl walked up to Clint to tell him that she was writing a paper on the Kennedy assassination and wanted to know if she could quote him. She was 11 years old. She’d never know what the country went through on that fateful day in November, some 30-odd years before she was born. But through the stories, the book, and these brave Secret Service men, that snapshot in history can be shared again and again. In a way, they reminded us of a time when Camelot reigned and the country was still innocent. They reminded us of easier times and simpler days.

Was it ever that easy again? It’s hard to know. Maybe hindsight is 20/20, or maybe when that shot rang out, it really was the shot heard around the world. Nothing was ever the same. After a few years of a sliding economy, high unemployment, and a collapsing housing market, the country is yearning for the days of Camelot; and for a brief evening, these men told stories of working for the Kennedys. Playing touch football with John, Jr, watching out for Caroline, and revealing what a closet chain smoker Jackie was. The audience laughed, cried, and a few conspiracy theorists even shared their thoughts on “who really killed Kennedy.”

As I drove home after Warwick’s, I was reminded again why we’re in this industry: to tell stories. At the end of the day, that’s really all we can do. Help people tell stories. That’s really our job. Often we get wound up in success. What is success? Book sales? A bestseller? An interview on “Oprah?” Well, yes, it’s all those things. But in the absence of those trappings that we hope will accompany our book launches we must remember this: in the end, we are here to tell stories. And hopefully we can enlighten, entertain, help or, in Clint’s case, heal 47 years of pain. Because if we are lucky enough to touch a soul and share a smile, that’s bigger than any number a royalty check can offer.

Altgens' final photo taken just after the fata...

Altgens’ final photo taken just after the fatal shot shows Jackie Kennedy and Secret Service agent Clint Hill on the back of the Presidential limousine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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