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Is Your Fiction Novel Getting the Attention It Deserves?

Adapted from an article by Marsha Friedman

Many new fiction authors are surprised to discover that 1) They have to work just as hard promoting their book as they did to write it, and 2) Getting media attention for works of fiction is really hard!

Most journalists and talk show hosts just don’t seem interested in fiction. Even when the author has great testimonials from people who’ve read their book. And even when the topic is profoundly compelling.

But you can get great publicity – and that’s not a fictitious tale!

Novelists are among the most under-served groups in terms of needing marketing help. One big problem is that many authors, and even marketers, strive only for publicity that overtly promotes the book, such as reviews, articles describing the plot and characters, and author Q-and-A’s about “why I wrote it.” That’s fine for journalists, show hosts and bloggers who specialize in writing and talking about books, but the rest will tell you, “Buy an ad!”

While the media may not be interested in the books – you can get them interested in the author. They’re always in need of expert sources to address topical news, trends and issues. Authors often do extensive research on a topic, place or character to make their novels more plausible. That becomes an area of expertise.

Their novel may be loosely based on their own experiences: growing up during the Depression, teaching in an urban school, traveling to foreign countries. That certainly makes them qualified to offer opinions on those topics or issues related to them.

Often, the themes in a novel reflect the lessons or morals the author feels are important to share. It may be that redemption is possible for any wrongdoers; that sacrifice brings rewards; that conforming to societal expectations is not necessarily a good thing

These themes underlie daily news stories, as well. Fiction authors can add depth and context to events and issues by identifying the underlying themes and expanding on them.

How will talking about something related to your book provide the publicity you need?

It gives both you and your book exposure. When quoted by journalists or interviewed on a talk show segment, you’re “Pamela Samuels Young, author of Anybody’s Daughter.” Your website address may get printed, repeated on air or flashed on TV screens. You may even get asked a couple questions about your book, in addition to the newsworthy information you provide.

Second, being quoted by traditional media is marketing gold; it’s an implied endorsement of both you and your book. If you’re the person journalists and show hosts are turning to for insight and expertise, they must value what you have to say.

Thanks to the Internet, that publicity is now worth more than ever. Almost every print publication also publishes online, where articles are exposed to even more people and can live indefinitely. Post links to these on your website, as well as links to, or clips of, your radio and TV interviews, and they’ll continue to give that credibility that makes you stand apart.

Yes, for many fiction writers, getting exposure can be daunting. But it’s not impossible!

Consider the areas of expertise you’ve developed that are relevant to your book; be willing to share that expertise, and focus more on exposure than overt book promotion, and a whole new world will open up to you.
And that’s no fantasy.

What kind of media coverage have you been able to get for your Fiction novel? What topics did you focus the discussion on?

 

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3 Things Authors Should Do Before Attending a Book Fair or Writers Conference

3 Things Authors Should Do Before Attending a Book Fair or Writers Conference

So, you’ve published a book and you are ready to let everyone see the fruits of your labor. Maybe someone contacted you, or maybe you just read about an event and you are trying to decide if you should go or not. Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you are probably footing the cost of this venture on your own and therefore need to consider the pros and cons with a business mind.

Putting aside your personal excitement and friendships, does it really benefit you to put your money into this event? Is there a reasonable gain, either in sales or connections, that you will enjoy when it’s all over? Here are three things every author should do before attending an event that will help you make the right decision and make the most of any event:

1. Evaluate

  • Event Presence. How are they marketing the event? Do they have an official website? Is this their first event? Can you reasonably expect a crowd of 100 or more?
  • Event Schedule. Will it provide industry information you need? Is there opportunity to gain exposure for you and your work? What are the benefits of attending, beyond potential sales?
  • Event Budget. Consider your travel, housing and potential printing fees: Is it cost-effective? Are you required to pay both a registration and a vendor fee?
  • Additional Event Opportunities. Are you able to set up additional events, such as a book signing, a book club event, or a speaking engagement while in the city?

2. Prepare

  • Order copies of your book(s). Make sure you have about 30-50 books to take with you
  • Book any tickets or hotel rooms needed in advance, or as soon as you decide to go. If possible, stay at or within a mile of the event venue. Note that if there is no place to stay close by, you may want to rethink attending.
  • Print marketing collateral. Bookmarks are good, but even better you should have your book and author information on postcard size handouts. These are big enough to contain relevant information and not get lost, and small enough to not be cumbersome for attendees to hold on to. Make sure you have business cards as well, some people may want to connect with you post-event.

3. Promote

  • Let your fans know you are attending! Post it on social media and on your website. Include it in your newsletter if you have one.
  • Run a contest for potential attendees. You can offer a free book or giveaway a relevant item to the first five people to visit your booth/ table
  • Live tweet the event. If you have a twitter account, this is a great way to get people interested in visiting you. Use a hashtag associated with the event, or if there isn’t one create your own! Talk about what’s going on and remind attendees about any other campaigns you are running for attendees. For non-attendees, you can offer something as well for orders placed during the event.

These are just a few things to consider, but hopefully you have been given a few ideas on how to determine whether you should attend an event or not, especially ones that are outside of your local area.

Do you have any other criteria for evaluating potential events? Add them in the comments below!

RCarter-Event

Rochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, a company with three publishing imprints and a bookstore. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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1 Simple Way to Promote Your Book And Gain Credibility As An Author

1 Simple Way to Promote Your Book And Gain Credibility As An Author

First, my apologies for the long title! I normally try to keep things as succinct as possible, but I need to get YOUR attention. There is one simple way every author with a quality product can both promote their book AND gain author credibility at the same time. Ready to here it?

SUBMIT YOUR BOOK (OR MANUSCRIPT) FOR AWARDS!

This seems easy, and yet is so daunting for many authors. You can’t win one until you apply for one (or twenty), and while applying seems easy at first, many authors begin to wonder, “what qualifies MY book for this award?”. That niggling self-doubt often prevents authors from submitting their books for any awards. That, along with the application fees. “How do I know it’s a legitimate award?”.

To the first question I say that you should do your research, but be prepared to invest in yourself. Whether you have written a non-fiction or fiction book, you are going to have to spend some money on it. You should have already invested in the book cover and editing, so why not take it a step further to gain some recognition for those initial investments? Do not spend thousands on applications, but pick a few awards that have your book category and go for it.

To the last question I ask: does it matter? How many readers have a running list of ALL the “legitimate” book awards? How many really pay attention to what award you won? They are looking to see what credibility you have, starting with reviews but accentuated by awards won and other accolades gained. If you published your book the right way, your phenomenal book cover and stellar editing are screaming “Go for it!”. If you know you did not, well check out some tips on publishing. It’s not too late to get it right the second time. If you are still in the manuscript phase and without a contract, never fear! There are at least three awards you can apply for below.

Finalist BadgeNote: If you are a non-fiction author or business owner, I also highly recommend applying for personal awards in your fields of work. Again, if you are doing something worthwhile then you qualify. Take the time to toot your own horn and gain credibility for yourself and for the work you do. If I had not taken the chance, I would not currently be a Stiletto Woman In Business Award Finalist in two categories: Entrepreneur of the Year and Business On The Rise. 

For those ready to move forward, I have compiled a list of awards that I have recommended to my own authors and plan to seek for myself where it’s applicable to my book, The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship. Feel free to add additional awards in the comments, I will try to keep this list updated with your feedback.

Book, eBook & Manuscript Awards

  1. Axiom Business Book Awards http://www.axiomawards.com/
  2. Living Now Book Awards http://www.livingnowawards.com/about.php
  3. Independent Publisher Book Awards http://www.independentpublisher.com/ipland/IPAwards.php
  4. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Carol Awards http://www.acfw.com/carol
  5. ACFW Genesis Awards (Unpublished Manuscripts Only) http://www.acfw.com/genesis
  6. ACFW First Impressions Award (Based on 1st 5 Pages of Unpublished Manuscripts) http://www.acfw.com/first_impressions
  7. Indie Book Awards http://www.indiebookawards.com/
  8. Oregon Book Awards (Check your state for their literary arts book award, I won’t list every state!) http://www.literary-arts.org/oba-home/
  9. Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association http://www.pnba.org/awards.htm
  10. Midwest Book Awards http://www.mipa.org/midwest-book-awards/call-for-entries
  11. ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards https://www.forewordreviews.com/services/book-awards/botya/
  12. ECPA Christian Book Award http://www.ecpa.org/?page=cba_1_overview
  13. Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards http://www.moonbeamawards.com
  14. Eric Hoffer Book Award http://www.hofferaward.com/
  15. Southern California Independent Booksellers Association SCIBA Book Awards http://www.scibabooks.org/book_awards/
  16. eLit Awards http://elitawards.com/
  17. PEN Open Book Awards (For Authors of Color who are NOT self-published AND have not received wide media coverage) http://www.pen.org/content/pen-open-book-award-5000
  18. Independent Book Publisher’s Association (IBPA) Book Awards http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/
  19. IBPA Benjamin Franklin Digital Book Awards http://www.ibpa-bfda.org/articles/
  20. Late Night Library Debut-Litzer Award http://latenightlibrary.org/2014-debut-litzer-prizes/
  21. Readers’ Favorite Annual Book Award http://readersfavorite.com/annual-book-award-contest.htm
  22. Ellechor Publishing House Avant-Garde Manuscript Award (Unpublished Manuscripts Only) http://ellechorpublishinghouse.com/contests.cfm
  23. Writer’s Digest Writing Competition http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/writers-digest-annual-competition
  24. Grace Awards (Reader Nominations Only) http://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/then-go-here-to-nomination-2013-finalists/
  25. INSPYs Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature http://inspys.com/?page_id=1183
  26. Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards http://globalebookawards.com/
  27. EPIC eBook Contest http://epicorg.org/competitions/epic-s-ebook-competition.html
  28. International Book Award http://www.internationalbookawards.com/home.html
  29. Nautilus Book Award http://www.nautilusbookawards.com/
  30. New England Book Festival http://www.newenglandbookfestival.com/index.asp
  31. Digital Book Awards http://www.digitalbookworld.com/the-digital-book-awards/
  32. Reader Views Literary Awards http://readerviews.com/literaryawards/
  33. Shelf Unbound Writing Award http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/competition.html
  34. USA Best Book Award http://www.usabooknews.com/2014usabestbookawards.html

Self-Published Book Awards

  1. Bookworks Best Book of the Year http://www.bookworks.com/bookworks-awards
  2. Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/selfpublished
  3. National Indie Excellence Award http://indieexcellence.com/
  4. Indie Reader Discovery Award http://indiereader.com/irda/?page_id=137
  5. Shirley You Jest! Book Award http://www.shirley-you-jest.net/#!
  6. International Rubery Book Award http://www.ruberybookaward.com/enter-the-book-awards.html

 

RCarter-EventRochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, a company with three publishing imprints and a bookstore. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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5 Tips for Writing Great Book Marketing Copy

Sometimes I over-explain. When I work on a project, I usually think of plan A, plan B, plan C,… Often, this serves me well. I’m able to catch potential problems or can evaluate which solution would be best. Other times I just confuse people.

Do you struggle with this? Does it trickle into your marketing efforts? Because it is a problem that I often hear authors complain about or see in their marketing materials.

Here is a recent example. I follow a marketing thread on LinkedIn and one of the authors that regularly contributes recently went to a community event to promote her book. After the event, she referred to the whole thing as a “failed” event. The reason? Her marketing display was not effective in promoting her book.

In addition to other factors, the group pointed out that she had way too much text so that her main messages were lost. What she found from the experience was that a cover and just three words hooked her audience more than all her explaining and graphics.

In one of her comments regarding the event, she shared a sentiment that I imagine a lot of authors feel,  “I’m a lot better at the writing than I am the marketing needed to communicate it.”

Isn’t it funny that those with the gift for words suddenly find that gift diminished when it comes to trying to effectively tell consumers about the book?

Marketing language can be very different than the writing style most long-form authors use.  You must keep in mind that when a customer is looking for a book to pick up, her goals are much different than when she is actually reading the book. Thus, the goals of the writing should be different. Here are a few tips to keep your promotional writing under control:

  • 1. Give the reader just a taste. You are trying to convey a feeling or a promise of an answer to a problem, not details. Leave that to the book.
  • 2. Give a pay-off by focusing on one clear benefit. You may be able to think of a bunch of benefits, but don’t overwhelm your customer. Give them one hook. Whether this is a solution to a problem or a short explanation of why this book will entertain, the reader wants to know what is in it for them. Which goes nicely with the next point…
  • 3. Write to your reader. Consumers don’t care why you wrote the book. They want to know what’s in it for them. What do they want to hear? How does your copy address them?
  • 4. Use short sentences. Yes, this person wants to read. He is picking up a book after all. But he doesn’t want to read right now. He wants to put down money for a book. Let him! He’ll get on with all your fantastic writing later. For now, short sentences that read more like bullet points will help him make that decision.
  • 5. Simplify to Maximize. This is the over-arching theme I want to leave with you. Your natural reaction will be to add more, tell more, and show more. Resist the urge and try cutting instead. What can you get rid of while still conveying your point? If it doesn’t absolutely have to be there, cut it to make better use of consumers’ very short attention spans.

Best of luck to you!

 
 

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7 Things Every Author Should Do Before Their Book Release

by Guest Blogger Lynn Baber

Launching a book is like planning a wedding; you begin with the event date and work your way backwards. Authors who achieve success within their own lifetime get their books into the hands of readers, obtain feedback, and use reader comments to fine tune promotional plans.

The first step toward your book release is high quality photography.

1. Photography

Invest in a flattering head shot, a great book cover, and a variety of action shots designed to either promote you as an authority or showcase the content of your book.  Assemble an album of high-resolution .jpeg images to use online and for printed materials.

Each published element on your road to launch day and every promotion must include the book cover and author photo or attention-grabbing content shot.

2. Analyze the Competition

What three books offer the most competition or greatest appeal to your readers? Study them. Consider writing a series of comparative articles that contrast your new book with those titles. Potential readers will ask if you’ve read your competitor’s work and will ask how your book differs. Have an intriguing and intelligent answer prepared.

Use these articles as a topic for speaking engagements and online posting. Where do readers find references to your competition? Are you planning to be in these same places?

If competing authors have already cleared a path why spend time and money blazing a new one? Readers can’t choose your book over the others if it isn’t listed, promoted, or mentioned in the same places.

3. Coordinate Book Formats

If your book will have multiple formats (Kindle, print, audio, downloadable file) maximize your marketing response by scheduling your launch when all versions are ready, not when the first one is ready.

4. Prepare a Niche Marketing Plan and Reader Profile

Don’t just give lip service to niche marketing. BELIEVE IT. OWN IT. Ignore it at your own peril. The direct path to failure is marketing your book to everyone you think should read it.

Promotional materials must showcase you or your book and not the publisher. Bookmarks, one-sheets, push cards, websites, videos, and press kit elements must be targeted, have a specific purpose, share a common message and include your contact information.

Be prepared to give away a number of books in order to kick-start the feedback loop. People read the same books their friends, colleagues, and rivals read.

If you’re not sure what your niche is, define and describe the characteristics, attributes, challenges, needs, location, and lifestyle of the person most likely to benefit from reading your book. Ask the folks who have already read your book for their thoughts.

5. Gather Reviews and Testimonials

Plan a soft launch well ahead of your release date to gather reader response, reviews, critiques, and accolades so you can set the proper tone for the formal launch and target the proper audience for your book. What you gather in this step provides the foundation for your promotional materials.

Your most valuable marketing research tools are people who have already read your book. Readers will tell you what it’s about, why they read it, which parts are the best and which ones to rewrite if you ever do a second edition.

6. Honestly Inventory Your Weaknesses and Strengths

Do you have an extensive client list of people or organizations that are waiting breathlessly for your book? Are you a good schmoozer in a crowd? Can you sell your message to an audience? Are you prepared to ad lib a radio interview?

Search for opportunities where you will shine! Weight your promotional calendar more heavily with virtual interviews and online seminars if you are a brilliant writer who needs to polish rusty speaking skills.

Load your calendar with events, interviews, speaking engagements, and appearances. Many authors sell more books to people who attend their events than all other avenues combined. Book events to coincide with your release date. In other words, get the bride and groom to the wedding at the same time.

7. Produce Coordinating Marketing Materials

Every printed piece, photo, video, website, and online post must have a call to action, a purpose, and fit into your marketing mix as a whole. Each promotional piece should coordinate and complement every other piece to produce a clear and cumulative call to respond.

Small intimate weddings don’t require as much preparation as elaborate affairs. If you plan a huge launch, begin preparing and executing your plan well in advance of the actual release date.

Your book only has one opportunity to make a first impression. Make it great!

 

Author of four books, Lynn Baber, is a retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer who shares messages of worthy leadership and right relationship online, in print, and in person – often in the company of horses.

Visit Lynn at http://www.LynnBaber.net or http://www.AmazingGraysMinistry.com

 

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Video

How to Create a Book Trailer

by Shannon

•When executed properly, a book trailer can be the sharpest tool in your media kit.
•When executed properly, a book trailer can be the perfect attention grabber for potential readers.
•When executed properly, a book trailer can make your self-published title a legitimate, professional piece.

Do you see the common thread? It’s all about the first three words: When executed properly. A great book trailer can really set you apart from the competition, but a bad book trailer can set you back from the competition. That’s why it’s so important to be honest with yourself in deciding whether or not you can create a good a book trailer. Specifically, you need to ask yourself three questions:

    1. Do I have the time to create a book trailer?

    Odds are, you’re already up to your eyeballs in writing, managing your social media, soliciting reviews and performing other marketing tasks. Making a (good) book trailer takes some serious time and focus, if you don’t have much of either to allocate for the project it might be wise to hire someone who does have the time.

    2. Am I skilled enough to create a book trailer?

    Look, there’s no nice way to say this so I’m just gonna say it: Some people don’t have the skills to make a book trailer. You know who you are, don’t try to pretend like I’m talking about someone else. Whether you don’t know your way around the computer, you don’t have a knack for visual creativity or you struggle learning new things, it’s okay to acknowledge that your forte lies in other areas and leave your book trailer up to a professional.

    3. What is my book trailer budget?

    Even if you’re making your own book trailer, there are still costs involved. From stock photos and video to visual equipment and editing software, depending on how involved your book trailer is you could easily be looking at an investment of several hundred dollars.

The bottom line is this: If you don’t have the time, ability or budget to create a good book trailer, you should consider using a professional or not using one at all. But if you DO have the time, ability and budget to create your own book trailer, by all means dive in and create something spectacular!

Book Trailer Example #1: The 2012 Project

Step One: Write the script

Just like a regular movie, a good book trailer starts with a script. Your trailer should be no more than three minutes long and have a beginning, middle and an end. Begin with something engaging — text, music, video, etc. — that will grab viewers’ attention (usually a question or quote from the book works best). Bring their interest to a boiling point with a climax (the main problem addressed in your book) and then wrap up with a call to action. Do NOT give away all the details of your story, but put enough bait on the line to catch some fish.

Step Two: Put together your content.

Photos, video, text and music are the meat of your book trailer. You can choose to take your own photos and film some video yourself, or you can opt for stock images. iStock has a good variety of video and photos to choose from, as does Fotolia, but they’re not cheap. You can get away with the web quality video (no need for HD) but even so, a 30 second clip can cost $100. When you’re trying to fill 2 – 3 minutes, that adds up in a hurry. Still, it lends a professional quality to your trailer that might be worth the investment. As an alternative, you can also check out Flickr’s Creative Commons for some free photos (but many do require attribution so be sure to check).

Your music choice is also a critical element. Copyright is a big (BIG!) issue when it comes to using someone else’s songs in your trailer (as you’ve probably noticed when trying to view a YouTube video only to find out it was pulled for a copyright violation). You can choose to download some public domain music or visit iStock to purchase music clips or if you are musically inclined (or have generous friends who are musically inclined) you can compose your own music.

Keep your text to a minimum and for Pete’s sake make sure it’s legible! Unless your intention to create a subliminal message, don’t use a fancy font or blow up your text so it’s pixelated and unreadable. Most importantly, leave the text on the screen long enough for an average person to read it. Nothing’s more frustrating than text that blinks off the screen before you’ve had a chance to read it all.

Step Three: Add effects and transitions

Here’s where your movie editing software of choice comes into play. If you’re fortunate enough to have a Mac with iMovie you can probably skip this section because your computer will probably automatically add the perfect professional transitions and effects to your video with the touch of a button. But for us PC folks, we have a little more work to do. You don’t have to get over the top editing software to create a decent book trailer. Windows Movie Maker (included on most PCs with Windows) will suffice.

Available effects range from a standard zoom in/zoom out (perfect for adding movement to photos) to more advanced effects like film grain and adjustable speeds (slow mo or fast forward). Effects can enhance video and photos while transitions will smooth the flow of your trailer as it moves from pictures to videos and title screens. Transitions include simple fade ins/outs, page turns, breaking glass, and page insets.

Play around with your effects and transitions, but never make them the central focus of your trailer. When done right, they should accentuate your content, not become your content.

Step Four: Upload to YouTube and share!

When you’ve got your video done, open up a YouTube account and upload that piece of art! YouTube is the best place to both store and share your video, but you should also embed it on your website, share the link on your social media accounts, and add it to your media kit.

Book Trailer Example #2: The Faithful One

What’s your experience with book trailers?
•Have you made a book trailer before?
•Do you have a favorite book trailer you could share?
•Have you ever worked with a professional to create a book trailer?

Leave your tips, links and recommendations in the comments below, we want to hear from you!

 

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PR Basics for Authorpreneurs: Create a Digital Press Kit

Decent book publicity often equals sales and one of the best first steps you can take to help yourself get the attention of the media is to have a comprehensive and catchy digital press kit. The goal of an online press kit is provide a quick and simple way for media and other important influencers to find out everything they need to know about you and your book in one place. A digital press kit isn’t just for media either; it can also be an easy way for others to see your credentials and accomplishments as an author at a quick glance.

What’s included in a digital press kit may vary from resource to resource, here are our suggestions:

    Book info – Include a succinct but detailed summary of your book (write it more like a news reporter, and less like a salesperson).

    Image of the Book, eBook cover – Include both a high resolution version and a low rez version for ease of use online.

    Author bio – Who are you? Introduce yourself in at least 3 sentences.

    Image of you the author – Include one high resolution version and one low rez version.

    Contact info – Include an up to date email address (and make sure it’s something you check often) as well as a phone number.

    Anticipated media Q & A – Think about questions a journalist might ask you in an interview and write the answers. What motivated you to write this book? What about this genre appeals to you? What inspired the title? Are you working on any other books or projects currently?

    Facts and figures – Include any interesting tidbits about writing your book here. (eg: “It took me 7 years to write this book and I did it all from the loft of the barn on my family’s alpaca farm.” or “I wrote the entire first draft of the book freehand.”)

    Book reviews – Display any positive things influencers are saying about you.

    Accolades – Show off any awards you as an author have been given or your book has received.

    Book excerpts – Present a chapter or partial chapter to intrigue fans and media.

Think we missed any essential components of an online press kit? Let us know in the comments section below.

-by Molly King

 

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