Wednesday, March 04, 2015

IWSG: Insecurity Has No End

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. Add your name to the list to join in!



January was a crazy month for me. My second book launched on January 6th, which meant twice-weekly trips to the post office and plenty of stress. February brought that disturbing quiet that always comes after a book release. Thankfully I have a lot of blogging friends to keep me company!




When you're trying to get published, nobody ever tells you what a stressful time a book release can be. So many people have put faith in your writing and the last thing you want to do is let them down. So you watch your numbers obsessively and eat lots and lots of chocolate and hope someone buys your book!



You eventually realize there are only some things in publishing you can control. You write the best book you can, promote it in every way you can imagine, and hope for the best.




I guess there's solace in knowing we all feel this way. I do wonder if authors ever get to a point where they feel secure in their success. Doubtful. Perhaps we should all take the advice of J.K. Rowling on the issue.



What are you feeling insecure about this month? Sign up for IWSG and let everyone know!

98 comments:

  1. Fail by default - she is absolutely correct.
    That month after the release always feels like a dip. I finally learned to combat it by diving into something new at once, although not necessarily another writing project.
    We can only control what we can control and the rest we just pray for the best.

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    1. That is true--and I've seen MUCH more successful authors than I say that they learned after multiple releases that not much you do makes a real difference. A bookseller told me the average traditionally-published book sells just 3,000 copies in its lifetime. So that does tell you, though, how much of a difference even one book can make. Unfortunately, we can't go to every bookstore and home in America and ask people to buy a copy!

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  2. So true. It's important to let go of the things you can't control. We can only do our best.

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    1. That's true in every area of life! So hard to do, though.

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  3. Such true and helpful thoughts, Stephanie. There comes a point when we just have to let our babies go.

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    1. It does help when you are knee-deep in a new project around the time your latest book comes out. It's easy to just stop worrying about that one and start worrying about what you're working on now.

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  4. How are the sales of the second book going? Are you satisfied?

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    1. Pretty good...and I can't figure out why 30 Days of No Gossip has had such a sudden surge...but I'm not going to question it! Perhaps the exposure it got from being in the Scholastic catalogs?

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  5. Love the pic of the guy hugging the computer, and that Rowling quote is awesome. The idea that there are so many things I can't control is both terrifying and freeing - I'm trying to focus more on the freeing aspect.... :)

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    1. I like "freeing!" I've seen established authors say that they finally realized that all the "wheel spinning" they were doing around a new release is useless. I did a Google AdWords campaign for a while...but now that my husband is Google certified I'm going to have to get him to help with my next one because I realized there's a whole "quality score" factor that I still have no clue about.

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  6. What a great quote. And if the average author sells just 3000 copies of his/her book then I feel a lot better about my sales :)

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    1. A bookstore manager told me that...she said when the news came out a few years ago, it shocked everyone. It was eye opening to me when someone told me that a best-selling novel sells thousands of copies per week, not millions or even tens of thousands... So when your Amazon rank goes up, you have to wonder...often it could just be that ONE person bought your book and it bumped that number way up!

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  7. J.K. Rowling's backstory is inspiring - love the quote.

    For the record, my granddaughter loved your book and has stolen it from me. So, she might be a criminal - but she is literate and has good taste.

    Best wishes, Stephanie!

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    1. YAY! I love hearing things like that. Just picturing a young girl reading one of my books makes me smile. That's what all the hard work is about. I was such a big reader as a kid, so I know how big a deal it is when a young girl likes a book.

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  8. i like your 10 doses of chocolate prescription. :)

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    1. Chocolate cures everything...except weight problems, I guess!

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  9. It never ends! Right now my main insecurity is not being confident enough to settle on material..I keep revising!

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    1. Sometimes you just have to trust yourself...not so easy, though.

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  10. What an incredible quote!! I'm stepping out and trying some new things in my writing. If we don't at least try, we will forever regret that we didn't give it a shot!

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    1. "You miss 100% of the shots you never take." I love that quote!!! (Wayne Gretzky said it.)

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  11. I'd never seen that quote before. Love it! And I hope your second book is rocking the publishing world.

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    1. I hope so, too. I really have no idea!!!

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  12. I was feeling insecure about my voice over presentation until I played it back like 10 times. After I got used to hearing my voice, I was like, "damn, that's a pretty confident sounding woman!" :)

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    1. I never like hearing myself talk! I think we sound different in our own heads. So kudos to you for sounding awesome!

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  13. I like that J.K. quote. And there really are a lot of things out of our hands. For what it's worth, I really enjoyed your first book (I recently reviewed it on Goodreads), and I can't wait to read your second one. :)

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    1. YAY! Thank you, Shelley. I can't wait to read yours, too. I'm waiting eagerly for it to come out so I can send it to my Kindle.

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  14. I loved the chocolate to relieve stress :) I could see myself doing that (and being more overweight than I am :)

    My husband is a professional musician, 50 plus years on the guitar, and he still feels insecure at times with it. I think its something we never outgrow with our insecurities, no matter what they might be!

    betty

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    1. I had to get a cavity filled last week and mentioned my sweets problem. The hygienist said she buys Dove chocolates and takes a small bite of one every hour or so, letting it melt in her mouth. I've been trying it and it works. The trick is to leave it in a separate room from where you're working. I never thought I'd be able to forget about chocolate but I actually get so caught up in my work, I forget. (Or maybe it's just laziness--I don't want to leave the sofa where I'm working!)

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  15. Very true, have to keep going and trying our best or we fail by default. Always a calm after a release, but then the cat has things in the pipeline to keep us busy

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    1. I'm holding right now...waiting for the next round of revisions on Piper Morgan, which doesn't come out until later next year... My agent is on maternity leave, too, so right now I'm 100% writing for clients.

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  16. I don't see any failure here. You are doing what you want. Living your passion. I think that rocks. So many aren't even close to doing what they would really like to do.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. SO right, Sandee. I spent 19 years working in state government--most of that time was spent doing something that goes against everything that feels comfortable to me (computer tech support!!!). Even today if someone asks for advice with a computer problem, I want to run and hide.

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  17. Loved every quote you had on the post today! My favorite of course is the chocolate remedy. I'll have to give that one a try ;)

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  18. Hey Team Mate! I so love the covers on your books! Like you, I released my newest in January and did the best I could at the time. Now I'm on low simmer, doing what I can but continuing on with getting the next book out!

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    1. Me too, Lisa! I've learned this industry is "hurry up and wait." I'm in the "wait" phase, but I know "hurry" is coming in the form of a bunch of revisions on my chapter book...

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  19. Yes! To everything. If you put your vulnerable self out there, you're bound to feel naked and not-so-secure. Being a writer requires bravery, but publishing it... that's a level of courage I haven't worked up to yet. I'm so happy for your success!

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    1. The good thing is, often by the time it comes out, you haven't seen it in a while. And usually you're focused on the next project. But you want it to do well so the publisher will buy more! At least that's the way I've always felt.

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  20. Love it. I fail often. I fail at something every day. The trick? I don't let failure stop me. Well not often anyway.

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    1. It should never stop you! I have people ask me how to get started in freelance writing. They'll get frustrated because they've applied for assignments and weren't chosen. I always tell them that you have to put in quite a few applications to get one new client. It's the same with agents and publishers. You hone in on the ones you want to work with, learn as much as you can, but expect you're going to get a lot of no's before you get a yes!

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  21. I've been trying my hand at an author tagline--and failing miserably! Love that J.K. Rowling quote!

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    1. I just quote other people, as you can see!

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  22. I love that quote from J.K. Rowling. When she published a book under another name it didn't sell well until it came out it was her 7 then it shot to the best seller list. In the end, it is something you love to do despite the frustrations, setbacks and disappointments because it is a part of you and you must bring it forth like any artist.

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    1. Isn't that crazy? The funny part was, the critics were raving about it until they heard it was her.

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  23. Great quote from Rowling.
    Promoting is my least favorite part of this business. (Or maybe it's waiting. . . I'm not great at the whole patience thing.) ;-)
    Congratulations on your latest release, I'm sure it will go over wonderfully! I know it's on my daughter's TBR list! (And mine.) :)

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  24. I love the chocolate quote. And, of course, the one by Jo. She's one smart lady.

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    1. She is! And set for life because of those smarts.

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  25. What am I feeling insecure about? Everything.

    Once you've done everything you can do, you must let go and let the universe take care of the rest.

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    1. That is true. All you can do is give it a really good push into the world and hope for the best. (Sounds like childbirth!)

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  26. Chocolate again... I so know I should've patented that stuff.....

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    1. LOL...it would have been a great investment!

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  27. Chocolate cures everything doesn't it? In fact I think I need some right now! As for insecurity -- Amara is turning 11 and No longer really needs Grandma anymore.... She'll be back!

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    1. She will! The teenage years are tough...but it's SUCH a gift to be able to spend time with your grandparents. You realize that as you get older.

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  28. You hit the nail on the head, Steph. Writing is one of the most ego-killing jobs I know. If you know someone that needs a little humbleness in their life...suggest they write a book. grin.

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    1. LOL that is definitely true. Writing in general is a very humbling profession.

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  29. Love the Rowlings quote. So true. I know people watching life go by, never taking risks, and are as boring as can be.

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    1. Most people seem to be...but as long as they have some sort of passion in life, that's all that matters. Even if they can only pursue that passion on weekends or once a year while on vacation.

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  30. My securities this month revolve around getting my book published now that I have an agent. I hate to have come so far only to fall flat before really getting going. :)

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    1. Once you have an agent, your experience changes...lots of waiting, then hurrying, then waiting again!

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  31. I always feel like I don't do enough to promote my books. I read about all these great ideas, but they don't always work for me. Improving my marketing is my goal.

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    1. I think most people realize that not much we do really helps. Reaching that small percentage of people who will not only be interested in your book, but have the drive to purchase it, is just really tough. You throw out a wide net and maybe catch a few people...

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  32. Great quote from JK Rowling. What am I feeling insecure about? If my work will ever be good enough. I like how someone said writing is a humbling profession...ain't that the truth! :)

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    1. I think most artistic fields are because you put so much of yourself into your work.

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  33. That's a great quote Stephanie... I am not a published writer but I really put a lot of thought into what I blog about and I always wonder if people will understand what I mean, whether they will like it... It's nerve wrecking to write about your feelings and put it out there... but I still do it week after week... Just as I am sure you will write more books too xox

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    1. Books, blogs, articles about insulation... I try to enjoy it all. Although my preference is in that order (books, blogs, THEN articles for my clients).

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  34. Congrats on the release! The answer to insecurity is definitely to acknowledge those things you can actually control, and chocolate... lots of chocolate. ;)

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    1. Chocolate is the cure for all. I have a small piece of Dove chocolate next to me right now. I'm trying to savor it in tiny bites!

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  35. I can relate. My first book is coming out in May, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I've been a professional marketer for over ten years, but when it comes to my own stuff, I'm lost.

    Congrats on your release, Steph! You're a wonderful writer and an amazing person. I'm sure it will earn out its advance in no time. :)

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    1. Aww, thank you. You're pretty amazing, too! I can relate to your first paragraph--I work with a lot of marketing firms and I worked in PR in my 20s--but there's a reason people pay marketers to handle it for them. Not only do they bring an expertise, but it's a lot easier to sell someone else's stuff than to sell your own. Bragging about yourself goes against everything you're taught is "polite!"

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  36. I've been on a Snickers kick lately. Today is three days in a row I've at one after lunch! =) And thanks for that 3000 copies statistic. If only more ppl read more! That would be great.

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    1. Snickers...YUM! When I heard that 3,000 statistic, my first thought was to wonder how much it's changed since the 70s or 80s... Did books sell MUCH more back then when there was no Internet and fewer books being published (compared to today's indie/self-publishing environment).

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  37. I thought I'd done a decent job of building buzz and promoting myself, and yet I haven't made any sales in four months. It almost feels like I wasted so much time editing, formatting, and designing covers, if I was going to fail so magnificently.

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    1. It's funny Medeia posted below you because I was going to say she's GREAT inspiration. I think for me, the key is supporting other authors. She does a LOT of that. Alex Cavanagh is an example of someone who does that well, as well. Then when your book comes around, you'll have huge community support. But it's a lot of work! Right now I'm focusing on reading the books of all the people who supported me in my blog tour but it's taking some time.

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  38. Book release time is stressful. I'm always wondering if I'm promoting enough. I'm also always watching sales rankings and numbers of reviews.

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    1. From what I can see, you do an awesome job! I see your book everywhere at release time. It's tough because there's so much competition out there for reader attention. All you can really do is make yourself part of a community (as we have here) and hope buzz grows from there.

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  39. One of the most difficult things to do in life is to let go of the things we have no control over...

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  40. That's so great that you have two books published now. Glad you made it through the second release, and yeah, it's nice to have friends on the internet who get you. Good luck selling those books!

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  41. You're in a good place. There's so much stress that comes with publishing. You have a couple of babies out, your babies! Well done.

    Greetings from London.

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  42. Excellent reminder! It's either insecurity about putting ourselves out there, or failing by default.

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  43. Good luck with the release, Stephanie! It's a crazy time for you, but you'll look back on this period and see that it was worth all the effort. And I absolutely love the Rowling quote.

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  44. Love that quote by JK :)
    Suzanne
    IWSG Co-host in March :)

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  45. I love that quote by Rowling! It always encourages me that successful writers still have insecurities. It's part of making art. Congratulations on your book launching! Two books out is awesome achievement!

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  46. Yes! All my friends are in the computer! Congrats on the book launch! All the best!

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  47. I love my chocolate! The darker the better. It absolutely picks up my mood! Good luck selling mega copies of your new book! :-)

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  48. Failing by default. A nice concept...

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  49. This just reminded me that I probably need to put my review on Amazon. I read it months ago before they allowed reviews. Going now.

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  50. Well, I'm pretty sure Rowling's secure in her success now that her penname series is doing well and she broke out of the Harry P "type casting." I'm gonna guess Stephen King's also feeling fine. Every other writer though, no matter how high, I bet feels insecure about their writing career in some way.

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  51. P.S. Congrats on the new release!

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  52. I think we all feel this way, Stephanie. It's been two years since I last published something and to this day, I still watch my numbers and hope for more reviews. And the work I have completed now, I am very insecure about. I don't want to disappoint my readers and most certainly, the schools I have yet to visit.
    But J.K. Rowling said it best in her quote... we really do fail when we don't live our lives the way we are supposed to, by taking chances and pushing ourselves.
    Congrats on all of your books and you are an inspiration to us all!

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  53. We all feel this way, Stephanie! I don't watch the rankings but I do glance at my review numbers on GR and Amazon ever so often. I'm feeling insecure about 2 things this week: just recently discovered a corrupted copy of my first picture ebook, and money. I wish I could contribute more $ to the family.

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  54. Such an awesome post and so welcome at this time for me. I love everything you put in here, particularly the part about chocolate. :)

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  55. Eating a handful of chocolate for nine times? I'm all for that. :-)

    Failing by default isn't a good way to go. It's best to fail by doing something and getting it out there.

    Congrats on having a published book out there! Lots of luck on the sales.

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  56. Congrats on the new release. Hope your week went well.

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  57. That's a great quote; so true. I am often times guilty of living too safe a life, not taking enough chances because of that looming fear of failure. That's a quote I should have hanging on my wall...or at least have as by computer background. Congrats on your 2nd release!

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  58. I have a poetry chapbook sitting on an editor's virtual desk right now. I should have been making the rounds with chapbooks years ago (and working on my full-length collection by now) but I haven't had the confidence.

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    1. Addition: But I'd rather fail through doing versus inaction.

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  59. There are plenty of things that can stress you out these days! There is the schoolwork and exam coming up for me tomorrow, for one :c I am actually someone who doesn't stress too much, but this month might be testing my limits. I have a lot of schoolwork, a lot of home projects to catch up on, I will be doing some traveling AND I am running an event for bloggers! So much!

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