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25 Posts tagged with the genre tag
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Title issues

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Dec 26, 2017

 

What I am about to do is open a debate that could be so controversial that it will rock the literary world. There are passionate views on both sides of the issue, but I feel it is something that must be discussed. The conversation can help those novice writers struggling to know where to start.


Here we go.


I begin with a question. When do you come up with the title for your book?


I can tell you from my own experience that when I do "find" the title of a book, I write with a kind of unbridled creativity. The words come oh so much easier. Sometimes I find the title before I write the first word, and other times I find it after toying around with the characters and plot on the page. I can write aimlessly for 40 plus pages before the title comes to me, and when it does, it hits me like a bolt of lightning. I feel energized, and I can't wait to sit down in front of my laptop every day and carry out the theme indicted by the title. Sometimes that theme is subtle and sometimes it's implicit. It may not be obvious to anyone else, but I know the underlying meaning.


So, I open this controversial question here. When do you come up with the title for your book? Before your start writing? After you start writing? Or, heaven forbid, after you've finished your manuscript? There are no wrong answers. Everyone has their own process. What's yours? 


-Richard

 

 

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The title sets the tone

 

Can your Book Title Affect the Way You Write?

 

 

 

 

1,020 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: publishing, title, genre, author_advice, book_advice
1

 

We have established that an author brand is not a corporate brand and it isn't quite a personal brand. It's a hybrid. You are selling a product and that product is tied to your brand, but the public has certain expectations when it comes to author brands that they wouldn't accept in a corporate brand. They expect authors to be much more candid than corporations, one might even say they expect author brands to show more emotions than corporate brands. Don't get me wrong, corporate brands do have an emotional identity, but it's usually a safe emotional identity. Author brands are given more leeway to be more expressive.


Do you know your emotional identity, and does your emotional identity match your genre? Before you answer that question, remember that I constantly preach that your author brand should be nothing more than a reflection of who you really are. Don't manufacture an online persona to match what you think you readers expect from you. For example, if you write horror novels, don't feel pressured to post macabre thoughts and creepy poetry to convince your readers that you are your genre. Be yourself.


But, your emotional identity is tied to more than how you express yourself online. It's also tied to what you share. Horror book and movie reviews, horror-themed convention and book fair news, and Halloween events: these are all horror-themed shares that will help establish your emotional identity without having to fake a "haunting" persona. The same strategy can be used for any genre and subgenre. Yes, be expressive, much more so than a corporate brand, but don't fake it. Be true to yourself.


If you've never asked yourself if your brand's emotional identity matches your genre, it's time to do so. 

 

-Richard

 

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Richard Ridley is an award winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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You are the brand not your book

 

Building your author brand

 

 

 

 

778 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: writers, genre, branding, brand_identity, author_advice
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Today's blog topic can be best summarized by bestselling author Neil Gaiman.


Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there'll always be better writers than you and there'll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that - but you are the only you.


Allow me to make two points about this quote:


1. Gaiman isn't suggesting you write without confidence. He's not saying you aren't a good-to-great writer by saying there will always be better and smarter writers than you. I believe he's saying putting all your efforts into being the best writer on the planet is fruitless because ours is an industry that is based on the opinions of readers and those opinions are as varied as snowflakes. In essence, trying to get everyone to love you by trying to be brilliant leads to poor writing.


2. Gaiman is saying that the only thing that you can do brilliantly is being you. There is no one on the planet that can "out you" you when it comes to writing. Don't try to write a better horror novel. Try to write a horror novel that expresses your artistic nature, one that entertains you and stays true to the development of your characters. The same advice goes for any genre. Sure, the influence of the writers you admire and inspired you to be a writer will show in you writing, but there will be something slightly different about your writing, and that something different is you.


Be what other writers can't be. Be you.


-Richard

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The Great American Novel

You are the change that keeps the publishing industry relevant

734 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, genre
1

Word count

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Nov 8, 2017

Years ago I struck up a conversation with a writer who proceeded to tell me about her book. As I am wont to do, I asked her the word count of her manuscript. She answered, "Penguin." I should mention that she was French, and there was clearly a language barrier. After a long awkward pause in the conversation, I asked the question again and got a less satisfying answer. She didn't know.

 

I tell you this story to point out that if you ever talk to me about your book, I am going to ask you the word count of your book. To me, word count matters. It tells me a lot about you as a writer and it also gives me a little insight into your book.

 

Knowing the word count of your book, tells me you've paid attention to the construction of your book. Depending on your answer, it tells me if you've abided by the unwritten rules of word count when it comes to genre. It tells me how engaged you are as a writer. 

 

There are a few times where word count isn't a huge deal. If you've written an illustrated children's book, word count doesn't matter. If you've written a book of poetry, word count isn't an issue. The same is true of graphic novels, and a select few other genres.

 

Know the word count of your book, especially if you're going to spend an evening with other authors. If someone with a publishing background asks you how long your book is, don't give them a page count or number of chapters. And whatever you do, don't answer penguin. 

 

-Richard

 

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General Word Count Guidelines

Using Word Count to Stay on Track

1,145 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: writing, genre, word_count, writing_tips, author_advice
13

Auditing your readers

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Sep 27, 2017

 

Businesses, big and small, do frequent audits to gauge their success. They inventory product. They perform extensive ROI (return on investment) on advertising and marketing campaigns. They research and evaluate the demographics of their customer base. They evaluate the effectiveness of their workforce. They look at everything from the amount of money they spend on staples to the salaries of executive officers, all in the interest of maximizing their productivity.


You are an indie author, which means you are technically a small business owner. You should be auditing your business just like the major corporations. You won't know how to grow unless you know where you stand.


Start with your readers. You might be asking how you can possibly audit your readers. How can you possibly know who your readers are? Because you know your genre. Genres are demographic-specific by design. By-in-large, they attract a common core of readers who are from the same age group and in a lot of cases, the same gender. Depending on your genre, you can even narrow down even further. Find out as much information on the demographic that represents the typical reader of your genre. A simple query with your favorite search engine should get you started. Dive deep. Know their likes, their dislikes, and where they are most likely to share their likes and dislikes with others in their demographics. Know them like you know members of your own family.


Auditing your readers is the best way to build effective marketing campaigns and give you confidence that you are spending your branding time wisely.


-Richard

 

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Create a reader profile

 

Categories, genres, and subgenres

 

 

 

 

2,515 Views 13 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, self-publishing, readers, writing, genre, social_media
3

 

There would have been a time that I would have steered authors away from participating in short story collections. Such collections appeal to a niche audience. Traditionally, they don't sell as well as novels or even novellas, and they usually offer no financial benefit to the author. But, upon further consideration, I have a different attitude today about short story collections.


It is precisely because they have niche appeal that they could be highly successful in today's fractured publishing terrain. Today, genres and subgenres and sub-sub-genres are the norm in publishing. Readers who prefer paranormal young adult techno-punk romance most likely will find exactly what they are looking for with just a few minutes of browsing on their favorite retailer's website. And those readers are likely to have hundreds or thousands or even more like-minded readers that they are connected with who will spread the word about books they've discovered that match their very specific tastes.


It just stands to reason that a pool of readers who enjoy short story collections also exists. With that in mind, I now see the value in short story collections, but there is a catch. These collections can't be random stories. The stories must share a theme. For example, having a collection of short stories written by new indie authors isn't likely to do well, but having a collection of short horror stories written by new indie authors has some promise. Define the genre down to the sub-genres and even deeper, and your collection of short stories has an even better chance of finding niche readers en masse.


Whether you're putting together a short story collection or you?re asked to participate in one, make sure the collection has a theme that will appeal to your readers.


-Richard

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The Rise of the Sub-genre

Find Smaller Markets to Sell More Books

 

 

 

 

838 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: authors, self-publishing, writing, story, genre, craft, collections, writing_advice, subgenre
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When it comes to marketing, you're going to want to nail down the genre of your book as soon as you can. Yes, I know most authors know the genre before they even start writing, but a surprising number of authors reject the notion of genre fiction. Most do it as a misguided artistic choice, but some do it because they don't want to limit their reading audience.

 

By choosing a genre, you're not limiting your reading audience, you're identifying them. My suggestion is to dive deeper and select your sub-genre categories. The more specific you can get the more likely it is that you are going to be able to locate your readers and market to them more effectively.

 

One of my books falls under the following category, genres, and sub-genre: Teen and Young Adult -- Horror -- Science Fiction and Fantasy -- Science Fiction -- Post-Apocalyptic. Now, I have been contacted by many adult readers who've expressed that they enjoyed the book, so you may think that by putting the book in the Teen and Young Adult category that I am limiting my reach with a potential pool of readers. But in reality, there is a segment of adult readers that seek out Teen and Adult books. However, conversely, the segment of teen and young adult readers seeking out adult market books is much smaller. So, the smarter play here is to categorize it in the Teen and Young Adult market where I will reach a majority of interested readers.

 

Categories, genres, and subgenres, weren't invented by retailers to help them organize their titles. They were invented by publishers to help them market their books. Know your genre and you know your reader.

 

-Richard

 

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Bending genres

Find smaller markets to sell more books

5,168 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, promotion, genre, marketing_for_your_genre, genre_marketing
0

Weird fringe

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 25, 2017

So, you've written a book that is a little...different. It essentially defies category and genre, and, as a result, it's a bit of a hard sell. What demographic fits your typical reader? Where do you find this demographic? How do you engage them?


    It's a problem, but it does have a solution. You just have to get as creative in your marketing approach as you were in your writing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

  1. Fringe festivals: I would say if you've written a book like I described above, the word "fringe" fits you perfectly. In all honesty, I find the word to be one of the coolest in the English language, and I'm not alone. There are festivals out there that cater to the concept of fringe. Most of them are devoted to material written for the performing arts, but that doesn't preclude you from participating. There might be room for you at one or many of these festivals. They may have a vendor area where you can set up a table and sign books. They may even have spoken word performances where an actor can read excerpts from your book.
  2. Conventions for the unusual: The second best word in the English language is the word "weird." Everyone should be a little weird every now and then. For those folks who have slightly wonky hobbies or professions, there's a convention for that. And who knows? You might fit in perfectly.

 

All you have to do is search online for conventions or festivals that match the theme of your book, and my guess is you will get more than a few hits that will work perfectly for your material. Contact the organizers and embrace the weird fringe.

 

 

 

-Richard

 

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Write a Genre-Bending Novel

 

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

 

 

 

 

1,151 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, category, genre, personal_appearance, demographic, author_appearance
4

    Mobile apps are all the rage, and as screens continue to grow smaller, and cellular streaming grows to deliver more and more data, I think it's safe to assume they won't fall out of vogue anytime soon. The question is, can an author utilize a mobile app to create buzz about a book? As of this writing, mobile app development can be costly, so if it's an avenue you want to pursue, consider your options carefully. Not every genre is a mobile app fit. Here are three I think make sense:

 

  1. Science fiction and fantasy novels: These types of novels are natural fits for mobile apps. First, the demographics skew younger than other genres. Young people live on their phones. Their heads are down and locked on their screens. Secondly, the nature of the genre lends itself to expand beyond the pages of the book. A space odyssey has a universe of possibilities that make for perfect content on mobile apps. Fantasy novels are based on mythologies that can be explored via mobile apps. Characters can be turned into emojis. There is so much you can do with a mobile app to engage your readers.
  2. Historical Fiction: On the other side of the demographic spectrum, historical fiction could be a great fit for a mobile app. Let's say you do a novel about Charleston during the Civil War. You could create a travel app that coincides with the historical sites mentioned in your book. You can give facts about the site and how you incorporated those facts into your story.
  3. Romance novels: These have potential in the mobile app world, too. Readers can send sweet nothings via text using a mobile app designed after your romance novel--a romantic line, a flirtatious emoji that looks like your protagonist and his or her love interest. The possibilities are endless.

 

There are undoubtedly more than the three genres I included here. I'm curious to know how you would utilize a mobile app for your own book. How would you harness the power of a mobile app to create buzz about your book?

 

-Richard

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Mobile marketing for authors

Don't say it unless you meme it

1,755 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: marketing, book_marketing, genre, social, social_media, social_media_tips
1

We are approaching 2017, and we still don't have flying cars and food replicators. Nope. The utopic Jetsonian future has yet to become a reality. And yet there have been advancements in the last 10 years that have been truly inspiring--a lot of them in the publishing industry. We can now read books on our smartphones. We can carry devices that weigh less than an average sized children's book that hold thousands of titles. We truly are living in a golden age of indie publishing.


The one thing that hasn't changed is that the best way to sell books is through word of mouth. Recommendations from friends and other trusted individuals is the number one way readers discover new books to read, and it's not likely to be supplanted by another method any time soon.


Your job is clear. Engage your readers. Find the influencers in your group and let them know about new reviews, upcoming events, awards, etc. The more information you feed them, the more they have to pass along to their spheres of influence. You're not bragging or begging for attention. You're keeping highly persuasive members of your volunteer sales force informed.

 

Your goal is to find as many of these influencers as you can. The best way to do that is to be an active member within your genre's community. Find groups online and even locally that discuss other books in your genre and/or films, and be a valued member of that community. Once you get to know all the personalities, you'll know who to enlist in your volunteer sales force to be crucial cogs in the word-of-mouth campaign.


-Richard


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

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What Ignites Word of Mouth?

 

A Marketing Tool You Control

 

2,644 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, self-publishing, writers, genre, social_media, engage, influence
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Bending genres

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 3, 2016

Genre is not a dirty word. Recently I had a conversation with an author that got somewhat heated because he thought it was tacky to identify one's work in terms of "genre." He felt it prevented an author from being taken seriously. There was no convincing him that genre-identification was a crucial marketing tool. It is, in fact, a service to readers. It helps them discover authors and books that match their tastes.


The key is to not run from genre-identification. The key is to embrace the genre tag and write genre-bending material. How? It's all about the characters. If you create rich, multidimensional characters who are deeply flawed while remaining likeable and relatable, you have written a book that has appeal beyond its genre. As difficult a task as that might be, it is a clear-cut path to writing a book that has the potential to reach mass-market appeal.


Shunning genre-identification because you feel it hurts your chances of being taken seriously as an artist is a bit short-sighted. An artist should always challenge social convention. What better way to do that than to expand a genre, to write something that adopts the basic construct of a genre but also grows it at the same time. That is a spectacular feat, and dare I say, a noble endeavor.


That is my challenge to any and all authors reading this blog post. Adopt a genre, embrace it, and then change it. Make it yours. Take risks and give the readers something they've never seen before.


-Richard


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Write a Genre-Bending Novel

A Genre Conundrum (and Solution)

1,474 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, writing, genre, characterization
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In  In the interest of full disclosure, I have never written a romance novel, but there is no doubting their popularity and potential for making big money. Every other article I come across about bestsellers seems to be about the romance genre. It's left me wondering what makes a romance novel tick. The following is what I discovered in my research:


  1. It's a story: Regardless of genre, it's still a story. There are basic elements to a story that have to be present in order for it to work. You have to have a clear protagonist. You have to have a clear antagonist. You have to have a clearly defined conceit, and you have to have a clear three-part structure (beginning, conflict, and ending).
  2. Opposites attract: While I'm not so sure the sentiment is particularly applicable to real life, the old adage that opposites attract is a prevalent device in romance novels. Why? Because it's a concept that is tailor-made for conflict. It allows you to introduce tension seamlessly. If your couple pursues a romance without differences, where's the fun in that?
  3. Think soap opera: Years ago I saw an interview with TV producer Marc Cherry. He's perhaps most famous for being the creator of Desperate Housewives. It was a wildly popular TV show, but it took him years to sell the show to a network. He would describe it as a show about surviving marriage in modern day suburbia, and no one was interested. It wasn't until he started describing it as a soap opera that he started getting interest. Soap operas are probably the least respected form of storytelling, but that might be unfair. They do feature slightly preposterous storylines, but they also suggest passion, memorable characters, and plot twists. When you're writing your romance novel, don't be afraid of the soap opera formula.
  4. The romance gap: You need obstacles that will frustrate your lovers and keep them apart. If they meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after, that's pretty boring, but if they meet, form a mutual attraction, encounter an obstacle, conquer said obstacle and then fall in love, that's pretty romantic.
  5. Payoff: Creating a burgeoning romance, testing it, and making the couple earn it must end in a payoff for the reader. Your couple will need to find a way to triumph and be together.


 

With these five "truisms" in mind, maybe it's time I sit down and jump into the romance genre.


 

-Richard

 

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Claim Your Genre

 

The Elements of Horror

 


 


2,167 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, genre, writing_romance
1

I love horror stories in every medium. My Saturday morning ritual while I'm vegging out, sipping on my life-giving coffee, is to watch a horror movie. It goes without saying that as a writer, Stephen King is one of my idols. He's the master of horror for a reason. Being scared is just fun. There's no other way to describe it. As a student of all things horror, here are the five things I've observed about a good horror story:

 

  1. Relatable protagonist: Horror stories work best when your central character is recognizable. He or she should face the same sort of everyday struggles and triumphs that the readers face. What the protagonist does for a living doesn't necessarily have to be a typical job, but the way he or she approaches that job should be the same way a majority of people approach a job. The readers should be able to see themselves in the protagonist.

  2. Clearly defined main conflict: You don't want your readers guessing what's so terrifying about your horror story. They should know why they're terrified. Keep your monster in the shadows if you wish, but make the consequences of coming face-to-face with your monster crystal clear.

  3. You can't have horror without suspense: While knowing the possible consequences of meeting your monster is important, the anticipation of doom might be more relevant to a horror story than the actual doom itself. Investigating those things that go bump in the night can offer more thrills than uncovering what those things truly are. Think about it, there is a certain amount of exhilaration in not knowing who or what the monster is. Keeping the who, what, why, and where a mystery for as long as you can is good edge-of-your-seat storytelling.

  4. Out of their element: Good protagonists have to be out of their league and overmatched in order to make the conclusion satisfying. Whatever the outcome of your horror story, the reader needs to feel that the central character worked to earn a victory. Without that struggle, there's no reason to root for him or her.

  5. The horror still exists: The best horror stories end with the reader thinking that the horror is still out there. The protagonist may have won the battle, but the war still wages on. You don't necessarily have to set up a sequel, but horror fans read horror novels because they like being scared. If you can find a way to scare them with your ending, you've written a horror masterpiece.

 

Are you a fan of horror? What are the elements of horror that draw you in and keep you entertained?

 

-Richard

 

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The Cost and Odds of Suspense

How to Be a Genre Bender

2,623 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: horror, writing, suspense, genre, writing_tips, writing_advice, author_advice, page_turner
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How long should my novel be? That's a question I hear quite a bit from new writers. They have experience as readers, but the only thing they can accurately gauge is the page count as it applies to the length of a book. We know as writers that word count is the unit of measure with which we should concern ourselves. That being said, what is the proper word count for a book that is made available for sale to the public?

 

Well, of course there is no law that dictates book length. What is and isn?t palatable by the reading public is subjective. But the expectations set by the book industry years ago are a good rule of thumb to follow today. I compared the numbers on three sites that addressed this matter and came up with general word counts for the following genres.

 

  • Middle Grade: 25,000 to 40,000

  • Young Adult Fiction (YA): 50,000 to 80,000

  • New Adult Fiction: 60,000 to 85,000

  • Romance: 60,000 to 100,000

  • Literary Fiction: 80,000 to 110,000

  • Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense: 70,000 to 90,000

  • Fantasy/Science Fiction: 90,000 to 125,000

  • Horror: 80,000 to 100,000

  • Nonfiction: 70,000 to 110,000

 

It?s important to note that these numbers represent what the industry normally looks for from debut authors ? in other words, authors who don?t have established brands. Authors with a large following can and do break the word count expectations in whatever genre they specialize in. These numbers are simply to be used as a general guideline for new authors.

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

 

 

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Picking a Final Word Count Before You Write

The First 5 Weeks of a Manuscript - Week 2: Genre, Word Count, Finding a Reader, Announcing Intentions

5,763 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: books, authors, book, author, writing, genre, word_count, writing_tips, industry_standards, wirting_advice
3

I dabble in the thriller genre under a pen name. I'm still learning my way, but I am having a blast diving into the tension-filled moments and dangerous scenarios. Before I tried my hand at writing a thriller, I was a fan. From my perspective, I see the genre divided into two segments that I call "expert thrillers" and "average Joe thrillers." Granted, there are sub-genres that include military thrillers, crime thrillers, science fiction thrillers, etc. That's not what I'm referring to when I talk about there being two segments. I base my observation on the type of protagonist at the center of the thriller.

 

In the first type, the "expert thriller," protagonists possess skills and knowledge that make them the perfect people to navigate the twist and turns of a story. The characters are usually in law enforcement, ex-military, or spies. They dish out as much pain as they endure. Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels are a good example of this type of thriller.

 

In the second type, the "average Joe thriller," the protagonist isn't suited to face the danger at all. Usually the character is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is forced into a fight-or-flight situation. The example that comes to mind here is one of my favorite movies, North by Northwest. In the movie, advertising executive Roger Thornhill has only his will to survive to outwit the assassins out to kill him.

 

I see the merits in both segments, but the type of thrillers I tend to write are average Joe thrillers. I don't have the background to approach the story from the expert's perspective. How about you thriller writers reading this blog post? What type do you write?

 

-Richard

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A Satisfactory Ending

Avoid Gratuitous Material

2,084 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, author, writing, thriller, genre
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