Showing posts with label mark coker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mark coker. Show all posts

Friday, December 20, 2019

Looking Back On The Last Year Of The Decade

My last weekly roundup for 2019 and I thought I would take a trip down memory lane and look at the last year of the decade in publishing. What were the big stories? 


Mark Coker released his annual predictions for the upcoming year. How well did he do? 
Amazon released lock screen ads.
Kris Rusch talked about all the mergers and consolidations over the 2018/19 Christmas break... and lo what do I see in my inbox today, Pearson sells all their remaining shares in RandyPenguin.


Kris Rusch wrote one of most standout posts for author learning. Understanding Intellectual Property. Read it again. 
Young Adult debut author Amelie Wen Zhao got a pile on for having slavery as part of her book and asked her publishers to pull it because of the backlash. This is what happens when you fall foul of an echo chamber. The influencers crying foul had not taken into account that other cultures also have suffered/continue to suffer, slavery- not just the US. Amelie released her book last month and it is doing well. She talked recently to NPR about the controversy in February.
Scams reared their ugly heads. Publishing scammers prey on the clueless. Always check in on Writer Beware- they have a search function. #copypastecris burst on the publishing landscape. At last count 85 books and counting. Nora Roberts promised vengeance was hers.


Bookbub got into Audio and announced Chirp in conjunction with Findaway Voices. They are aiming to promote audio and grow the Chirp audience just like the Bookbub ebook audience.
Creative resistance became a byword for March – Check out Chucks very good post on how to overcome it


In April I ticked over eleven years of writing the weekly blog. 
Writer Guild decided that suing Talent agencies over the shonky deals for screenwriters was a good idea.
The New Publishing Standard shone a light on what China is doing in publishing.
April is the month of the Bookfairs and Kris Rusch told us to have fun with our writing even when our critical voice is trying to derail us.


Ingram became the only distributor on the retail book block after Barker and Taylor threw in the towel.
Google Play decided to make things difficult for aggregators, authors now have to sign up directly. However, they don’t make that easy. Mailchimp wrecked their goodwill with authors and David Gaughran eviscerated them.


Barnes and Noble were sold to a Hedge Fund that owns UK chain Waterstones, their CEO, James Daunt, took over almost immediately. 
Sharjah Emirates opened a TAX FREE publishing city. 
Kris Rusch discovered licensing and completely changed thinking about her writing business.
Publishers changed their terms to libraries causing widespread consternation about ebook lending rates. Macmillan recently stopped their ebook availability to libraries. 
You never discover a new author at a library and then go out and buy all their books SAID NO ONE EVER!


Joanna Penn rattled brains with her mega-post on how AI will change the publishing industry. Since she published this some of her predictions became true faster than she thought. Then it was all about saving money, making money and scamming money. Pearson switched to lending textbooks to students- cue overdue fines! And everywhere there are subscription services.


The world lost Toni Morrison. Dean Koontz signed with Amazon. Morality clauses started to be enforced against authors and Google Play increased its royalty rates. It’s still difficult to get into though. Leapfrog nations are where the money in publishing is.


The Medium article by Heather Demetrios on how to lose a third of a million dollars without trying dominated the month.  Dean Wesley Smith took clueless writers to task about learning the business. Chuck Wendig pointed out that the first job of a newbie author is to ASK QUESTIONS.


The prep month for NaNoWriMo. 
Mike Shatzkin published his list of how publishing will change in the next few years.  Everybody was talking about how exploiting your backlist was the next big thing and Are you hanging on to unexamined beliefs that are holding you back. 
New Zealand lost Jack Lasenby, one of our most-loved storytellers for children.


NaNoWriMo hit along with one of the biggest Indie Authors conferences around 20 Books to 50k. Dean Wesley Smith’s keynote is a must-watch. 
Big Bad Wolf is getting bigger and bigger. There is a huge market for Engish language books in Asian countries. Ruth Harris looked at the publishing rollercoaster and how to stay sane. Just who is really listening to audiobooks? An untapped market awaits.


I leave you with the inspiring post from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. How To Build A  Roadmap To The Author Future You Want.

May you have a Blessed Christmas and a Peace Filled New Year 
See you in January.

Get in quick and subscribe to get my last newsletter of the year All the interesting craft and marketing links from 2019. 
When you subscribe you will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual coffee love. Thanks.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Gifts, Goals, and Global Domination

NaNoEdMo is here, otherwise known as December. Where has the year gone? 
This week my writing buddy commented that we need to take stock of our year and celebrate all we have achieved. How often do we sit back and say ‘I’ve worked hard and achieved some things and I deserve this pat on the back I’m giving myself?
So as we enter into the last month of the year and decade- if you are too shy to acknowledge your achievements, here is my message to you. You Have Done Well, Grasshopper!

In publishing news... 
Smashwords had quietly been innovating in the corner and yesterday they announced a new service- Pre-Sales (Not to be confused with  pre-orders) You get dedicated links to give to all your fans or promo for the length of time you need and you get their emails as well. And Smashwords wants to extend this to ANY creator. The New Publishing Standard took a deep dive into Mark Coker’s announcement of how it will all work.

Streetlib in its quest to be THE Global Bookstore has partnered with Kobo and Bookbeat to distribute audiobooks around the world. This makes sense in light of the recent article from The Times about Deloitte forecasting that 2020 will be the year that audio will outsell ebooks in the UK

Have you thought about 2020 and your publishing goals? While you reflect on your year over eggnog, spare a few thoughts for the coming one. Bookbaby has an interesting blog on how to plan for the future and Scott Myers from Go Into The Story has a whole series of posts designed for you to take a deep dive into goal setting.

Penny Sansevieri has a great post on 2020 marketing goals- don’t forget that marketing is also something to be planned. (Take note, Maureen.) Anne R Allen has a great post on blog commenting. Did you know it is a quick and easy way to get your name out there? Something to add to your personal branding goal planning.

And now for something completely different…
The Dream Team of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have put together the Annual Writer’s Advent calendar. This is where you have the opportunity to enter in a different great giveaway every day… Go Forth And Be Of Good Cheer.

In The Craft Section,

Quick and Tidy tips to streamline editing- Insecure Writers Support Group- Bookmark

The secret to writing fascinating Villains- Laurence McNaughton- Bookmark

Creating Plot Twists- Janice Hardy

In The Marketing Section,

2 great posts from Penny Sansevieri -5 creative ways to highlight your book reviews and

Organic Facebook reach for Authors- Maggie Lynch- Bookmark

Audiobook Narration with Sean Pratt and Joanna Penn

To Finish,

Tis the season to be thinking about cool writing gifts for yourself… or others. Every Year Jami Gold puts out the Ultimate Writers Gift Guide. And yes it really deserves the title. This is chock full of fabulous gifts. I swooned over the bookends alone….
Nathan Bransford has a different take on the Writer Gift list. This is more tongue in cheek and will appeal to those who like to give the off the wall gift.


I’m doing a roundup of the year for my last newsletter of the year so if you want a feast of links and a chance to be in my subscriber Christmas draw go on and subscribe You will also get a nifty mini book crammed full with marketing notes as a thank you. 
If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee, or an eggnog, hit the coffee button up top. I appreciate the virtual love. Thanks.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons Guilhem Vellut- keen eyed Kiwi’s will see some interesting added features to NZ on the Globe.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The All You Can Eat Buffet

In the publishing blogosphere this week...

Mark Coker had an interesting article in Publishers Weekly about the commodification of books and how publishers must fight the dragging down of book prices.

Patreon has changed the way artists get paid. It is crowdsourcing funding directly to the artist, like the art patrons of old. Patreon has increased its fees but not by much. They have some other irons in the fire that will be interesting for artists.

The EU has passed new copyright rules. Essentially you now have to vouch for all the content on your website. Academics have not been happy with the proposed law with many signing open letters of complaint that it will hurt authors.

Apple is getting into subscription-based content starting with the news. They had their big announcement this week. The question is are they going to take on the Zon subscription service and extend it to books...

Writers can suffer from extreme loneliness. Stuck in a room all day crouched over a computer never seeing the sun... The Guardian recently had an article looking at the home office work lifestyle and made some practical suggestions for a healthy balance.

Jane Friedman recently had a guest post with four Kidslit authors who related their experiences of straddling a trad published and indie published life. Go in with your eyes open.

Staying with Kidlit. Mary Kole has an interesting article on how to get literary themes into your writing for children.

Kris Rusch has an excellent post on grammar. Kris explains how your use of punctuation directly feeds into your author voice. This is a fascinating deep dive into just what constitutes author voice.

Middle Grade Ninja has a great post on how to write fantasy quickly and Anne R Allen has a fabulous post on using Mary Sue’s or Gary Stu’s. If you don’t know what either of these terms mean you MUST read the post. Your readers will thank you.

In The Craft Section,
4 pacing tricks- K M Weiland- Bookmark

6 mistakes that can kill a great plot- Mythcreants- Bookmark

British vs American English- dictionary- Bookmark

When should I enter or exit a scene- Seth Myers- 

Creating Compelling Cadence- Writersinthestorm- Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,
Using video marketing- Frances Caballo

Using exclusive content to market- Bookfunnel- Bookmark

Using map artists- Alli blog

13 copywriting tips to help write a better novel- Writers Digest

Self Publishing Formula podcast- The necessity of mailing lists- Excellent show!

To Finish,
Janice Hardy has rounded up all the story archetypes in one big master plot article. This is where you decide if you are writing a quest plot with a revenge motif using a golden fleece style adventure. If you have been wondering about where your story fits read this. 


Yes, I’m really late with my monthly newsletter. I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. I promise I will get it done soon because I want to share some interesting projects with you. If you want to shout me a coffee hit the button up top. Thanks 

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons - A canvas of Light

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Go Global - Resistance Is Futile

It’s March and that means the publishing industry wakes up and announces new things…

Streetlib the Italian based digital book provider has expanded again
and is now in every country in Africa and enabling authors to publish in their own languages.
They have also expanded down under, this month opening up in Samoa. (last month it was NZ and Fiji)
They are on a super roll to enable authors to publish globally in their own languages. This is a big thing
in terms of readers.
Did you know there are more people online in Nigeria than in the UK? Think of the new readers…

Bookbub decided that as Audio is the big thing they better get involved and so they have launched
a new service called Chirp with Findaway voices. Where they showcase featured audio… for very CHEEP.

Recently the Guardian wrote about the world of academic publishing. That is where the author
of the article has to pay a huge sum of money to the journal to publish their academic findings.
Then the journal goes on to charge huge sums to the university libraries for subscription fees
to read the article… after the university paid for the research in the first place.
Someone is making heaps of money.
However Cengage an academic subscription service for students have quietly been circumventing
huge textbook fees and have just enrolled their 1,000,000 subscriber.

StoryTel, an online everything entertainment subscription service, have also been expanding.
They have opened up in Poland and they write about how subscription to an all in one service works
Instead of spreading your love between Netflix, Itunes, Amazon, Spotify…. Get it all in one handy package.
This is the future… and books, newspapers, journals, etc are write in amongst it...    

The world is available to you in 24 time zones… which is a good thing because it doesn’t matter where you are
in the world you can attend the London Book Fair Alliance of Independent Authors conference
which is 24 hours of amazing goodies for authors and all FREE.
Conference organiser Sacha Black was just interviewed on The Creative Penn on Villains and Heroes
and it is a craft must listen.

Meanwhile another week another predator… Mark Coker, CEO and founder of Smashwords, found it
an interesting experience when he was contacted out of the blue by a publishing company that wanted
to make him a household name…. Hmmm.

Last year I reported the author disquiet around the handling of Harper Lee’s estate.
Now there are problems with all the theatre productions of To Kill A Mockingbird.
How to kill a golden mockingbird….

Roz Morris has been writing her blog for ten years. That’s a lot of content. She reflects on how she got
started and what she has learned along the way.  Anne R Allen has a great post this week on
how to write web content. Something I struggle with…

In The Craft Section,

How to write humour- WritePractice-

Effortless writing- Copyblogger

Unsnagging your plot- James Scott Bell- Bookmark

How to avoid repetitive sentences- Janice Hardy - Bookmark

In The Marketing Section,

Email newsletter examples- Hubspot- Bookmark

2019 Literary Calendar- Build Book Buzz- Bookmark

8 marketing tips- Writer Unboxed

To Finish,

Creative resistance is a thing. It is the nagging little voice that tells you all the words you’ve just written are awful
and you may as well give up. There are some great books out there to help.
The War of Art- Steven Pressfield is a great book or you can read Chuck Wendig’s latest blog on Self Rejection


In my monthly newsletter, I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks.

Pic Flickr Creative Commons- Kevin Gill. What the world would look like if the polar ice sheets melted.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Same But Different

Another New Year... Another set of Writing Relating Goals and Publishing Predictions... reach for the last of the New Year’s party wine. 

Last year predictions were that Audio would start to take off. – This year continues that prediction- we haven’t seen the end of the beginning of the explosion in audiobook sales...  AI technology is ramping up. Chuck in publishers making audio-only deals and everyone in publishing is starting to take note of the gold in them thar hills....

Mark Coker always has an interesting perspective on what the new publishing year might bring. He’s more often right than wrong so take a look at what he considers to be the big issues going forward.

Joanna Penn dashed down under to catch up with family but still had time to make sure that her great podcasts were ticking over. Two recent ones that are well worth checking out are Creative Goal setting trends for 2019 and a great interview on 21st-century lessons for a creative mindset with Mark McGuiness.

Agent Laurie Mclean has also dipped her toe into the prediction pond for this year. Her big message – people reading (and finishing) a book is declining... we must encourage the eco system of books if we want publishing to survive. 

Kris Rusch and her husband Dean Wesley Smith have seen too many new publishing years to count. Kris is doing a great series on planning for the New Year. The longer I have been watching this industry (coming up to 11 years soon) the more I value Kris and her insights into what is going on. Start with her Boxing day post – The Current State Of Disruption... follow up with Part Two- Sales ... Part Three - on libraries and Part Four- Audio

Over The Christmas Break...when everyone was recovering from Christmas dinner Amazon changed tack again. Gone are product display ads... and in are Lockscreen ads. As everyone is commenting it’s a pay to play world out there.

Also in the news was the highlighting of a new trolling behaviour that is targeting successful sellers on Amazon.  They target the reviews and tell Amazon that you paid for 5-star reviews... The Zon comes down with their big sledgehammer... meanwhile the originator of the false claim reaps rewards... It’s a long process to get back to square one.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to get a handle on Social Media you are not alone, Fae Rowan writes about the pain she feels when she contemplates Social Media marketing. Drop into the Writers In The Storm Blog to join in the conversation.

Penny Sansevieri has decided that 2019 should be the year of the vlog. Writers need to get a handle on using digital media as search becomes increasing image driven. And it is so easy, says Penny....

Anne R Allen highlighted a tidy list of ... new writer scams for 2019. They don’t stop trolling for newbies as we hit another new year. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know who to avoid and where to go to find out more... don’t forget to tell the newbies out there that there is heaps of information if they just search for it. Google is your friend. Typing ‘to-good-to-be -true-offer and scam in a search bar is the first thing they should do. Remember anyone who wants you to pay them to publish your book... tread really really carefully!

Keren David over at an awfully big blog adventure ( children’s writer's blog) throws down the gauntlet to publishers about diversity... getting out of London and seeing what’s happening in the smaller centers etc etc. She has a list of great things she thinks they should do this year... after all, it is 2019. Has anyone in publishing heard of Skype? 

In The Craft Section.

How to get emotion on the page- Lisa Cron-Bookmark
The different types of editing- Writer Unboxed
Resources for writers- June Takey- This is an all you can eat blog post Bookmark!
8 writing tools to get the words flowing
Setting up a kanban board to reach writing goals in 90 days. Organise and win at writing...

In The Marketing Section,

What to include in your marketing strategy
Follow these steps when you publish your first book
Bookbub ads- David Gaughran- Bookmark
Using Pinterest to market children’s books- Jane Friedman- Bookmark
Amazon Advertising for KDP authors in 2019- Chris McMullen

To Finish,

Over my summer break, I had some fun trying different dictation solutions. Google came out the clear winner with almost 100% accuracy... except for the lag in voice capture which meant I lost the beginning of every sentence. All the words it caught were 100% accurate tho. At the huge Consumer Electronics Show (CES) The big tech giants were showing off their snazzy voice everything applications... including translations.
In 2019 will we be able to dictate content and have it automatically translated including social media posts to become a truly global publishing consumer and provider... 
Fasten your seatbelts...  


In my monthly newsletter, I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee- hit the coffee button up top. Thanks. I appreciate the virtual coffee love.

Pic: Flickr Creative Commons- Davity Dave

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Publishing News with Camels

Around the publishing blogosphere this week...
It’s been a busy old week in publishing. Authors outside the U.S woke up to find their books had vanished into a desert. They were not on the Amazon platform. Frantic calls from around the world perplexed the call centre. ‘We can see them fine here, stop worrying little author, it’s a glitch. It will sort itself.’ 
Authors talk to each other. (Odd, I know.) When the author community found out the problem wasn’t being fixed and wasn’t isolated geographically the screams were heard around the world. The heavy hitters in the Indie community called their Amazon Reps. Amazon is on it... so they say....

While Amazon was feeling the wrath of the authors...on the other side of the business, the booksellers were spitting like camels over changes to the Used and Rare book section. Suddenly booksellers were pulling their catalogues from ABE Books (rare and out of print booksellers owned by Amazon.) The issue was one of justice to the small bookshops in Africa. And Amazon caved.

Meanwhile, the publishing community is looking sideways at new conventions proposed by the EU and South Africa. Plan S has many worried about I.P. and how much it will count when changes are made to the ‘Fair Use’ guidelines. The accepted practice is restricted to Research, News, Teaching, Parody and only a limited amount at that. Publishers are already warning South Africa that their changes could contravene the Berne Convention.

While the publishers get set to fight for their IP rights there is another crisis looming. The shortage of paper is driving up the price of print. This could be another straw on the printed book camel. 

The Atlantic has an in-depth article on a rags to riches writer story that is a bit different. It was kick-started on Wattpad, written on a mobile phone at the supermarket, uploaded for free and then... 

Public Service Announcement: If you have published on Createspace you may want to check your accounts. Hackers have got in. 

Smashwords have been quietly working at things in the background while being a large distributor of Ebooks in the foreground. This week Founder and CEO Mark Coker unveiled the new Smashwords storefront. It has some nifty bells and whistles and Mark stresses that they will never game the recommendations. (Which makes a nice change from other store fronts.)

Last week I was a virtual fly on the wall at a huge conference in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Joanna Penn was attending the Independent Author conference. She shares her takeaways and lessons learned from this dynamic conference.  Even if you are traditionally published, have an agent... etc. etc... it pays to keep an eye on the indie author world. Often they are responding to changes much faster than traditional publishers. Forewarned is always a good thing.

In The Craft Section,

Using tips from poetry to strengthen prose- Pamela Donison- guest post on Jami Gold's blog- Bookmark

Resources for NaNoWriMo

Character types- Go Into The story

In The Marketing Section,

Meet the super fan that you want- Judith Briles- Bookmark

5 Author productivity tools- Dave Chesson- Bookmark

To Finish,

The weird things people say to authors and what you can say in reply. This post strikes a chord with every writer I know. As we come up to the holiday season and the Christmas party round is about to begin. Store up some of these comebacks for the inevitable clueless questions from family and acquaintances.

I am guest posting over at Jami Gold's blog this week if you want to drop in and read an article on leveling up your writing. 


It’s time for my monthly newsletter, where I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. (This weekend, promise!) When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes. If you like the blog and want to shout me a coffee hit the Kofi button up top. Congratulations for making it halfway through NANO!

Pic The Library Camel of the Gobi Desert./imgur pic  I couldn’t resist… you can check out Green Eggs and Ham in the Gobi. Theodore would be tickled pink over that!

Friday, February 16, 2018

On A Pedestal

I wondered if I should make a comment about the revelations in the children’s literature community this week. At first I thought No but as the ripples have become king tides I thought that people might wonder why there is no reference to this weeks biggest story in publishing. Children’s writers are human. They are put on a pedestal as special guiders of behaviour, decorum and models of decency for 'they influence children'. You want to know that the books they write have no hidden fish hooks and are wholesome enough to give to young developing minds. (Teachers also get these labels.) Most children’s writers are women. (SCBWI figures put it at 9 out of 10) The males often have the added burden of having to write specifically for boys to encourage them to read. This makes them more likely to speak at conferences and festivals and libraries. Women writers are working just as hard to lift boys reading rates but they are often asked to change their name or ghost write or use initials to make their stories palatable to a male audience. They don’t get the same level of invites. (As for POC, they are often invisible.) So this week to have a major news story about the sexual abuse meted out to women in the children’s literature community felt like a body blow. Publishers Weekly tried to take a calm tone... but now the stories are being confirmed and corroborated and Agents are distancing themselves or dumping clients. A good reminder to writers that everything you do is in the public eye and if you fall off your pedestal you don’t just hit the ground... you bury yourself in a huge crater of snakes and molten lava is poured on top.

In other news.
Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer has been looking at the nuts and bolts of print publishing for a long time. He is seeing a shift in the way authors are now viewing print and he has some advice about when you should consider using offset printers instead of Print On Demand.

Has Instagram saved poetry?  Publishers Weekly seems to think so. I wonder if the Poets agree?  I bet if Byron was around now he’d be on Instagram...

Anne R Allen has a guest post on her blog this week from a creative writing teacher. I had to laugh when I read it... this fits exactly what friends who are writing teachers have to contend with. Read and weep with laughter.

Joanna Penn interviewed Becca Puglisi about the latest thesaurus – Emotional Wounds This is a great interview.  You should check out the book too.
In another writing craft interview Michael Hauge and Will Smith talk about the four must haves in storytelling. (Yes, that Will Smith)

In The Craft Section,

Bookmark Both!

posts from Colleen Story and September Fawkes- Bookmark

Trusting your process- Lauren Sapala –Interesting essay

In The Marketing Section,

65 book marketing ideas- Mark Coker- Brand new FREE updated book from Smashwords founder. (Mark has been podcasting sections of this book this year.) Grab it!

Avoid Book Marketing traps –Penny Sansevieri Bookmark

To Finish,
Valentines day was this week. Have you ever thought of writing a book with your life partner? Alli interviews husband and wife team Charlotte Zang and Alex Knudson about how they make it work.

This week Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi celebrated ten years of The Emotion Thesaurus... AKA The Bookshelf Muse. Ten years and six plus books later they are the must have authors on your writing desk. Angela and Becca have a special message to all their fans. Congratulations Team! (Raising a glass for your next 10!)


In my monthly newsletter I round up the best of the bookmarked craft and marketing links as well as some other bits and pieces. When you subscribe you will also get a nifty book crammed full with marketing notes.  If you want to shout me a coffee, just hit the coffee button on the top right. Thanks.

Ramesseum in Egypt. The Ozymandias Colossus:

I met a traveller from an antique land, 
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; 
And on the pedestal, these words appear: 
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; 
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare 
The lone and level sands stretch far away.” - Shelley

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