Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM May 2014



It's that wonderful time again, the time for Insecure Writer's Support Group day, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place for you and you'd like to join, click here.


It's a simple process:

"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post."

Our Twitter Hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's other awesome co-hosts for today are Elsie, Mark Koopmans, and Lisa Buie-Collard! Please stop by and thank them for their generous time and effort.

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website. And if you don't already know we have a IWSG Facebook site too.

IWSG Facebook Guidelines:

1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...

3. News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.





ASK PZM - MAY 2014



Q. Any new changes on social media that are good for authors?

The one change that I think is particularly good for authors is Twitter’s new profile image header option. Basically, this new large-scale image is similar to the image header on Facebook and Google+.

For this new Twitter option I have used an image featuring some of my book covers (as I have on Facebook and Google+). Check out this new option at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller


And if you are not yet on Twitter, this is a good time to join!

Side note: I actually think this new layout does not work as well for checking out people’s Twitter bios and tweets. But that’s another topic.


Q. Any other tidbits of information?



Wattpad:

I’ve often mentioned Wattpad here (and here is a post on my author site about some Wattpad changes – http://budurl.com/Wattpadchanges)

Recently a Wattpad contest submission period ended. I only knew about the contest because, as an author on Wattpad, I was sent a notice about the contest.

The contest rules allowed each author to submit up to three entries. I quickly removed my screwball romantic comedy novella HOT POTATO from KDP Select and added this novella to Wattpad so I could submit the story as one of my three entries.

Then I added two other of my short stories that, while also available via Kindle, are not on KDP Select: the PTSD short story SOLOMON’S JUSTICE and the YA short story PINKY SWEAR.

This kind of flexibility – that of owning the rights to one’s work – allows us indie authors to take advantage of new opportunities. And we should definitely be on the lookout for such opportunities.

(See the stories I currently have on Wattpad at http://www.wattpad.com/mystories)



Innovative author blog tour:

Prolific author Helen Page asked me to participate in an innovative author blog tour. I said yes and then at first had a hard time finding three other authors with blogs who wanted to take part.

Luckily I was reminded about the LinkedIn book marketing group that I started (and last September turned over the admin of this group). I posted an announcement there and quickly got two very interesting authors.

Here’s the link to the blog post I wrote as part of this tour: http://budurl.com/authorblogtour

And perhaps this innovative marketing strategy will inspire you to undertake a similar effort.



Q: What about the case of disappearing reviews on Amazon?

This is a serious issue that, as often with big sites such as Amazon, is cloaked in published rules and unpublished actions.

I know from experience that an author friend of mine is blocked from writing a review for any of my books on Amazon even though we have NO financial arrangement with each other and she only wants to do so when she really enjoys one of my books.

Apparently Amazon mistrusts that authors who are friends (and how does Amazon know this?) can actually want to read each other’s books, and if these authors like the books, contribute reviews about those books!

I also know anecdotal information about older reviews being taken down for what appears to be unclear reasons.

Thus the blog post “Authors’ New Amazon Headache” by Sarah Pinneo about authors using Amazon gift cards to give out books is very interesting.



Disclaimer: I cannot be assured that everything in the post is accurate due to the secrecy cloaking Amazon’s relationship with its authors.

That said, here is the link to this informative blog post – decide for yourself what you think of the information: http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2014/04/authors-new-amazon-headache.html



TWEET #1 - New changes on social media that are good for authors (click to tweet)

TWEET #2 - Newest changes on Wattpad (click to tweet)

TWEET #3 - The case of disappearing reviews on Amazon (click to tweet)




Phyllis Zimbler Miller on Twitter is at http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction books at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/keep-in-touch/








Joylene's afterthought:

I was so caught up in finishing my WIP (just broke 90K words) and preparing for the release of BREAK TIME I forgot to host an ice-breaking contest. If you're new, it's a contest where everyone guesses when the ice is going off Cluculz lake. If we're still here next year, I'll try to remember.

Oh yeah, it left May 2nd.




photographed by Joylene Butler
April 26, 2014



May 2, 2014

May 5, 2014

94 comments :

  1. Love the change on that lake. Amazing.

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  2. From frozen to lake again!
    I need to update the new header on Twitter. Right now it's my guitar, but it should be my books.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. Yeah, put up your books, Alex. That would look so kewl.

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  3. Things melted a bit earlier down here in Michigan, but it was still a rough winter. Glad you're coming out of it.

    Congratulations on the anthology and thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG.

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    1. We watched the news every day and were astonished over what was happening at the east coast. But, winter is over. Yay!

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  4. Thanks for taking the time to co-host this month! Also loved the twitter update. I'm on twitter, but really don't use it much at all. I'll have to update my logo on there.

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  5. Thanks for co-hosting this month, Joylene. Loved the pictures of the lake. My husband & I would frequently check out the ice situation on Lake MIchigan. I was so excited to see blue water again. As Ken said above, it was a rough winter here in Michigan--and all over.

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    1. We went to New Brunswick for Christmas and almost didn't have it. The power was out for 26 hours, which turned out to be short compared to the other 8000 homes. Yes, winter is over! Thanks, Diane.

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  6. We have ice out contests here in Minnesota, too! Thanks for co-hosting IWSG!
    Play off the Page

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    1. Thanks for sharing Colleen's story, Mary. What a girl.

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  7. The pictures are beautiful. And that chicken cartoon is funny.

    What's ironic about the Amazon reviews is there are authors dissing the books of other authors in their genre and Amazon won't remove those even when someone complains. It's like a double standard.

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    1. It's another reason why I loved that Look Up video. It reminds me that there is so much more to life than the power of Amazon. Thanks, Diane.

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  8. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I like and dislike the new twitter. My profile looks nice, but when looking at my followers or who I'm following, the way they did it looks too cluttered to me. I liked the list style previously used. It was less overwhelming.

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    1. I'm not good with change either. It's like the grocery store. I get used to stuff being in the same old spot, then they go and hide it on me. What's with that! Huh! Thanks, Patricia.

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  9. Hi! Thanks so much for co-hosting!
    I don't know about the ice thingie...nor had I heard about the Amazon issue. Good info about the fb stuff, thanks!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

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  10. Thanks for being a co-host, Joylene!
    There are so many "things" on social media that I can't keep up. I haven't looked into wattpad and I've been ignoring the new header on Twitter. I can tell I'm getting old when I grumble about why everything keeps changing. Each new computer is a learning curve now. :)

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    1. Haha, oh River, do I understand~! happy writing.

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  11. Those pictures are beautiful!

    I have to say that for the first time, I didn't really notice the new Twitter. I think I need to go back and take a closer look now...

    Laughing about that chicken cartoon.

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    1. Speaking of the chicken, he hasn't gotten back to me yet on which came first. Thanks, MJ!

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  12. Beautiful pictures!!
    Thanks for sharing the helpful information. Like you, there are some things I like and dislike about the new Twitter layout. I also like that you can pin a tweet to the top of your profile now. :)

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    1. I do use Twitter, but I don't read many twits. I should change that. Thanks, Skye.

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  13. I had wondered about Wattpad. I wrote a serial story for the A to Z challenge, and I wasn't sure if I should throw it up on Wattpad, or do just an ebook, and what the benefits would be of either.

    Lovely pictures. Finally things are warming up!

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    1. that sounds like a great idea, Loni. You should do it! Post your serial story.

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  14. Greetings Phyllis and thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month! Guess I should take a look at the new twitter header page. I don't adjust to digital changes rapidly at all.

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    1. Not too many of us do, Dean. Congrats on your book!

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  15. Hi Joylene! I'm visiting via the IWSG to thank you for co-hosting this month! I'm afraid a blog is all I can handle right now ~ maybe a peek at Facebook. But Twitter? I have a dumb phone. I loved that photo of someone SUPg on the lake. Now I've got to Google Cluculz Lake and see where it is! Have a good one!

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    1. Hi Fundy. I'm a ways from you back in Ontario. Same latitude though. Or close.

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  16. Remind me to stop griping about the cold so much. Not that it will do any good. I'll still gripe but you never know. Walmart is the perfect setting for a horror flick. You don't even have to do anything. Just start filming.

    Elsie
    co-host IWSG


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    1. Right you are, Elsie! 'specially the Walmarts in the north. Thanks, eh!

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  17. I'm new to IWSG and I am clueless as to where I am supposed to link my post. Apart from the few people I met through the A to Z who are part of the group, how can I find the posts of other members?
    Sorry, but it's not that clear and only adding to my anxiety and insecurity.

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    1. Don't feel bad, Sarah. Everyone is new once. Just remember when you post something on the first Wednesday of every month, to add the IWSG badge that you can obtain from Alex's site. Then visit as many bloggers as you feel comfortable with on the list. If you have other concerns, please email me at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca anytime.

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  18. Wow, a lot of great info here! Thanks for sharing. Your pictures are just awe-inspiring. I love nature and the beauty of winter (through a picture while I sit on the beach with a margarita on my other hand) =)

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    1. haha, good image, Georgina. If I'm lucky, next winter I'll be sitting beside you!

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  19. SO glad I came by, and thanks for your visit as well. I really appreciate the info you shared on this post. I pinned your blog so I'll know where to find it and refer back to it. Great photos and they remind me of why I like living in the south! See you around...and thanks for co-hosting as well this month. I've really enjoyed it myself. #IWSG

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    1. You're very welcome, Lisa. Have a great day.

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  20. Thank you for co-hosting this week's IWSG, Joylene. You offer so much useful information concerning marketing. I appreciate all the links you shared today. Your photos of snow/ice scenes are impressive.

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    1. Thanks, Gail. I'd love to take the credit, but it's Phyllis who shares what she knows. I call her my marketing guru.

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  21. Thank you for co-hosting this month and thanks for all the great info.

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  22. I love the pictures of the frozen lake!

    Amazon's rules and changes are really irritating, and they're impacting tons of authors. I don't understand their rules. Who really cares if someone we know reviews our book? There's no law that friends and family can't buy our books, so why can't they review them too?

    Anyway, thank you for co-hosting!! :D

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    1. Those are good questions, Chrys. I suspect it has something to do with how big their hat is.

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  23. Thank You Joylene for all the info!! Great Support!

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    1. Thanks, Cathrina. Next month things will turn around for you. I bet I'm right.

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  24. Thanks for the marketing tips. (Personally, I've given up.) I sent a book blogger a copy of my book and a couple of months later, she did a review. A couple of months after that, her review disappeared from Amazon. To be honest, her reviews are brief and a bit repetitive. It's not really clear if she did read the book or not. Anyhow, she must have complained to them because about a week later, her review came back again. Ahh, the mysteries of Amazon. :P

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    1. Oops. I forgot to congratulate Joylene about hitting 90k. Woohoo!! Keep going, you're doing great!! :)

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    2. Thanks, Lexa. But you're right. Reviews are the way to go. Someone I know, can't remember right now, went to town looking for reviewer. Short story, their reviews helped a great deal.

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  25. Thanks for all the information. Things change so fast I have trouble keeping up with them. Must put my picture up at the new Twitter header, among other things.

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    1. Hi Beverly. And I don't think it's going to slow down any time soon. Thanks for stopping by.

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  26. Hi Joylene,

    Once again, thanks for all that neat stuff from Phyllis. She is like real informative n'stuff.

    Congrats on reaching 90k. I'm always amazed you take the time to count each word. The lake is well cool. I'm sure that's the Canucks practising for next season, eh.

    It gets even better. Not only do you have an "IWSG" aks "I Was Seeking Gary" site, we now have a dedication, "I Was Seeking Gary" on "Farcebook." I'm overwhelmed with such kindness. Thank you, Joylene and all those involved.

    Gary

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    1. It's our pleasure, Gary. To know you is to bow. Eh!

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  27. First let me say thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG. We all appreciate it. Congrats on your WIP breaking 90K; that's fantastic. Phyllis has so much good info. I just found out the hard way about Amazon and their 'reviews'. I tried to post a review of a paperback that I had won in a goodreads giveaway (noted in review; not 'friends' with author) and it was rejected 3x because they said it violated their guidelines. Huh?

    Anyway, thanks again for another wonderful post! Lily Eva

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    1. Thanks, Lily Eva. I don't get what's going on with Amazon either. Very weird.

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  28. Hi Joylene,

    Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month. This is a wonderful post! I've heard of Wattpad but I don't know much about it. Thanks for bringing it up. I'll check it out. I had NOT heard of this issue on Amazon.

    Cheers,
    Jen (new follower)

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    1. Glad it was helpful, Jennifer. Have a great day.

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  29. Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month! Great info.

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  30. Wow, those photos are stunning! And I love the cartoon about the chicken and the egg. Gonna tell my boys about that one.

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Good luck to your son finding his perfect college.

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  31. Your photos are gorgeous.

    I also like the new twitter profile header. It's brilliant.

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  32. Wow, that's a lot of stuff going on, but I guess the ice kept you cool in winter. Now, with all those words written, you're really cooking!

    I wrote on one subject--formatting for ebooks--because I spent an extra hour proofing another writer's book the other day. I finally realized she'd used tabs and spaces instead of paragraph styles.

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    1. Read your post, Sher. I see what you mean. You've definitely got more patience than I do.

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  33. I've heard of Wattpad, but not really checked it out. That lake is lovely! Fun to track when the ice goes! We've got a pond near us that thaws and freezes several times in spring. It's always interesting to figure out when that freeze is the final one.

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    1. We used to have a contest, but the pub burnt down and with it all the fun of guessing. Thanks for visiting, Shannon.

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  34. That was interesting about Amazon reviews. I just recently did a review because I like another authors book, a book I bought, and decided to give a review. I mentioned in the review that I knew her through internet contact. I really hope they do not delete it. I really enjoyed the book, and that is why I did it. Anyway great post, and thank you for hosting IWSG.

    Happy Writing,
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Juneta. And bravo for such a fabulous looking blog.

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  35. I saw that announcement about the new Twitter header.
    No time for anything.
    There's too much social media changes/new platforms... blah, blah, blah... there's always something, isn't there?
    Thank you for co-hosting IWSG, Joylene!

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    1. Yup, it's neverending, that's for sure. Thanks, Michelle.

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  36. Thanks for all those links honey, and stopping by at mine today :)

    xx

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  37. A really great and interesting post. I have never tried wattpad, I may have to go and take a look now. Have a good week xx

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  38. I also like the new Twitter face. I have yet to utilize it.

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  39. Your lake is lovely. Lots of great info here. I really should check out Wattpad. Good luck with the contest!

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  40. Thank you for hosting the #IWSG! I sure did need it this month.
    I haven't had any reviews disappear from Amazon but I have had tjem disappear from Barnes and Noble.
    doreenmcgettigan.com

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    1. Sorry to hear that, Doreen. And thanks for stopping by.

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  41. Thanks for co-hosting this month! :) Great pictures and funny memes.

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  42. Great job hosting! I love the new Twitter header, too. Have to check out the watpad changes. No disappearing reviews for me yet. Gah! How hard do they want to make this for writers?

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    1. Not to mention it doesn't really make sense. What's it to them who reviews and who doesn't? Duh.

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  43. Great picture and so funny-love the chicken/egg one. That is a shame about Amazon and the disappearing reviews. I am reading your post but my eyes are playing tricks as I find it hard to read it with the writing style. I like the look of it:)

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    1. Sorry about the print, Birgit. I've never had an easy time with Blogger. The formatting drives me nuts! Thanks for visiting.

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  44. Wow, thanks for all the info. I've haven't changed tot he new twitter heading yet, but I guess I'd better get busy. Loved your blingee, too!

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    1. Wish I could take credit for the blingee, Gwen, but I can't. I love them too. Thanks.

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  45. Thanks for your support, everyone. A reminder, Phyllis is unable to leave a comment, anyone know why, please let us know. Meanwhile, if you have a marketing question for next month, give us a shout out and Phyllis will see what she can do to answer it. Merci!

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  46. Congratulations on finishing your WiP. 90k is a great achievement. And good luck with the release of Break Time. :)

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  47. I always love your photos, Joylene. :) And congratulations on finishing your WIP!

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