HomeMiscellaneousBuilding a website that creates and promotes your writing in ONE step

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Building a website that creates and promotes your writing in ONE step — 229 Comments

  1. I would love to try this out! Scrivener is giving me a headache just trying to wrap my head around it. This sounds simple with more functions on many levels!

    • I agree, I would like to try this out. As Cathy says I too am having difficulty understanding the workings of Scrivener. Would there be someone to help computer dummies like to to get it to work?

    • Cathy, what is the primary purpose of Scrivener for you? Not what it is made to do, but what is it you want Scrivener to do for you that is important enough to work at understanding how it works? Are you sure Scrivner can do that?

      • Not Cathy, but I wanted to say that Scrivener is just peachy with me. Yes, it’s big. I’m always finding–or being led to–new and yummy functions. What it lacks, for this purpose, or maybe what I can’t find, is a “share” button that automatically sends a file to a blog. MacJournal does have that function, but it’s not up to Scrivener’s grade in other ways. Even MacJournal doesn’t automatically send tweets or Facebook posts.

        With Scrivener, the key is to keep imagining a 3-ring binder and a pack of index cards. And don’t forget to zip before sending it to the cloud. πŸ™‚

  2. Sounds very interesting. Would this be a WordPress add-in type thing, or its own content management system?Β  Would I have to subscribe to Dan’s/your hosting, or could it be installed on my own hosting provider?Β  (I realize you may not have these answers tied down yet.)
    Most importantlyΒ (to me) can I use my mobile to update/add/work while I’m on the run? The hollylisle.com site doesn’t work well at all on my mobile so even getting this comment in is a chore.Β  But I have a day job that precludes updating at work except via mobile. It would definitely have to be mobile friendly to be of interest.
    I really like the idea of having a project site like you describe.Β  I’d need to have more info about the hosting and security.

    • The reason this software is being built is because I need to get OFF of WordPress.

      Its updates have broken plugins that my sites depended on several times now, I’ve lost data, I’ve had people locked out over and over and over, I’ve spent money on plugins that I needed only to find that they were incompatible with other plugins I needed.

      So this is its own CMS. Very light. Ungodly fast. And beautiful.

      • If I understand it correctly, this software would replace WordPress.org blogging/website software which one uploads to a webhost and then upon which one builds a self-hosted website/blog, yes? And it would also be a souped-up Scrivener-esque writing platform for story planning, outlining, drafting, revision, (e)book creation etc? Sounds cool!

    • Using best principles, Dan started development from the smallest platform (cellphone) and built out to computer.

      So it’ll work on your smart phone of whatever stripe, and your tablet.

      This part is already done and in the can.

  3. Yes, definitely interested! I’ll try not to repeat comments from above (there was a lot of good ones I hadn’t even thought of!) The appeal for me also is the “all in one place” aspect. I’m definitely the type who will work on my projects and blow-off the promoting and blogging parts because it bores me….or is too difficult. This sounds like something that would make that easier.

    I would want to be sure there’s a way to save my work to my pc’s hard-drive or a jump drive so it’s not just out there in cyber-hell somewhere. Time stamps would be good too, for copyright purposes. (Let’s face it, there’s always that one creep out there who will figure out how to steal your stuff…) Also, it would be nice if the worksheets from your classes would be available in the program (as purchased, of course) to save the effort of going back to find and reprint them over and over.

    I currently use WriteWay and I like it, although it’s not always as convenient as I would like. I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener a few days ago and as I’ve struggled through the tutorial I noticed they assume the user understands techno-jargon…which I do NOT, so it’s hard to learn, IMO. So that would be a point: please make the instructions simple, to the point, and easy to understand! That’s a key point with me. I will play around with Scrivener, but unless it suddenly clicks in my mind, I won’t likely buy it because I found it confusing and hard to follow. I’m so techno-stupid that I would be thrilled if I could just high-light something, right-click and select “transfer to blog” and then do any quick edits needed and then just click “post” and be done with it. Same with the promoting aspect. I get overwhelmed by all the steps and just give up. Haha! (Okay, maybe not so funny….)

    My final input would be the cost. This sounds like a big program that will be money well spent…but that doesn’t make my budget magically expand to accommodate the fee. So, while I’m sure the price will be more than fair, it will still be the final deciding point for me, whatever it is….at least until I become so wildly successful that price is no longer an issue. πŸ˜€

    Thanks Holly! Nice of you to let us give input, too!

    • Oh, thought of one more thing….it would be nice if once purchased I can access it from my pc AND my laptop. I like to work at my pc but also like to transfer files to my laptop for on the go work. (It’s nice to go sit outside and work sometimes….) So for me, it would have to be something that is loaded onto my computer and doesn’t require internet access to be able to write. Finding internet access to do the blog and promoting part is fine, but I’d want to be able to write without needing to be online. Does that make sense?

    • I think Sallie crawled inside my head and wrote up everything I had to say for me, so thank you, Sallie!

      Especially liked her “highlight” and send elsewhere feature, that’s about as techy as I get.

    • Sallie, thank you for describing some requirements really well.

      1. OneStep needs a smooth way of moving/copying files back and forth, between itself and your PC.
      2. Highlight, then right click and select-a-command,such as “transfer-to-blog” is a good feature, it should have it.
      3. Easy to learn…well, it has to be simple enough that learning to use it is a non-issue.
      4. The plan is to make the cost low, so that with very few exceptions, cost will not be the reason people don’t buy it.

    • I agree with her comments above. I am struggling with the technical side of keeping my blog working updated, with all plug-ins working properly. I have not been successful in growing my email list in spite of publishing blog posts related to my current novel, so I would be interested in software that helps with launching tasks.

  4. I don’t have enough tech or marketing savvy to really know what might need adding, but I can answer the first questions as yes, I would be intrigued by and possibly interested in this idea.

  5. I think this could be really interesting. Not having to duplicate work would be awesome (because I suck at remembering to blog anyways…). If it could be an automatic part of what I do regularly that would be aweseome.

  6. Sounds like a very good idea. I use Scrivener, but find myself using OneNote more and more. I love OneNote’s flexibility.

  7. I can’t wait to use those creative resources, so please volunteer me to be a guinea pig, too, if you need one. The more user-friendly it is, without the need for a lengthy tutorial, the more probable that I would buy the finished product at a “Scrivener-comparable” price.

    I’m not at the promo stage yet but love the concept of a one-stop shop in the vanguard of the readers-meet-writers / reader-power revolution. An exciting innovation. I wish it every success:)

  8. I’m very interested in this. I’m willing to pay a monthly fee for this too. I recognize how great it would be to be able to use this in depth and not have to dig out something that I thought I might want to share with readers at one point.

    Thanks for thinking of us!

    • I feel a need to chirp up here – there is no way I can commit to a monthly fee. I can save up for things or pay in limited installments (which I have done for some of Holly’s courses) but an indefinite time / ongoing monthly debit I won’t do since I never know how much ‘spare’ cash I will have. I’m sure I’m not the only one in the same situation.

      It is one of my pet hates about the way a lot of software seems to be going lately. That, and the emphasis on using their proprietry cloud storage and access. (I’m thinking mainly of gaming / art / office software here). For one, unless you use it intensively you’re not going to get ‘good value’ from it, and for another, having to be connected to the ‘net to use it just … grinds my teeth. I want to be able to use it when and where I want, not JUST where I can connect.

      You can all escape now πŸ™‚

      • I second that. Buy it once and use it, yes. Ongoing monthly fee….unless it’s so ridiculously low I can’t resist, I’m not likely to commit to that. Although, I suppose it could be a combination set-up, as in; buy the program and have it to use, but then have other features that are a monthly service: like the promo aspect. That way a person can opt in or out as needed.

      • If I were already on my new software, I’d do a checkbox on this post to save it and have it show up in in my Essential Comments category.

        There are a few thing’s I’ll commit to a monthly fee on, because they are critical to the business of being a writer.

        I HATE “our way or the highway” cloud storage. I like S3, and want to be able to have my big interactive stuff (like videos) in my S3 account. I like Dropbox, and want to be able to store my documents in MY Dropbox account.

        I want options, and I want to be in control of my own business.

        And I like being able to have everything backed up to my own hard drive.

        Dan has been working with me on developing this software, and when we teamed up, my first condition was, “If we go in separate directions at some point, I need to be able to take care of every part of all my sites on my own.”

        So that’s the philosophy under which every element of this is being built.

      • I like the concept of the software as a one-stop-shop CMS for writers who also are publishing online or otherwise have an online empire they are trying to maintain. Sounds intriguing! I also like the idea of having the ability to have it on a remote server somewhere in the cloud but also backed up to my own personal drive. But I agree with Ruth: nix on the monthly fee.

    • I recognize how great it would be to be able to use this in depth and not have to dig out something that I thought I might want to share with readers at one point.

      That was part of MY part of this, because I am so tired of having to dig through FOURTEEN YEARS of very regular posts and hundreds of pages to find the one thing I need.

    • I haven’t envied my programmer since I hired him. He’s awesome…but the poor guy is working with me.

      My approach to life is, “That’s the best there is? Okay, how can I make it better?”

      He has sheets of these annotated wireframes I made that he’s working from, and those wireframes come from years and years of me getting pissed off at existing software because it keeps getting in my way.

      I didn’t worry about whether what I wanted was possible or not. I just wanted it to not get in my way.

      So his job is to make the world’s impossible into my reality.

      Interestingly, he’s not only doing it, but he’s finding ways to improve on MY ideas.

      It’s cool as hell to watch.

  9. Wow, that sounds amazing! I’d love to be able to write both my books and my blogs in the same software, and then export different items to my website, or as ebooks.

    I’m most interested in planning and deadline setting and tracking, of the items you listed, as I think that would be helpful to keep everything on track. I have an editorial calendar plugin for my blog, which helps with scheduling blog posts, but something similar for breaking up novels or other big writing projects would be perfect.

    • yes it will.

      Can you elaborate what you envision as a good implementation?

      I feel like I am cliffhanging on this now. πŸ™‚

  10. Would love this! Organization in a thought provoking, progress inducing, project-based tool for writers. What could be better?

  11. I’m definitely interested! The deadline tracking, the process log, the early notes perhaps and maybe your thoughts/ideas regarding your covers πŸ™‚

    The thought of watching a project like a book come into being, the bits and pieces coming together following a procedure, is something I will look forward to πŸ™‚

  12. Yes, I would.

    I don’t currently blog or anything – to tell the truth, if I ever manage to get something finished in the next decade it’ll be a wonder!

    I’m currently trying to learn scrivener (which I can see the promise of *if* I ever get my head wrapped around it properly). At the moment through I seem to be using it as a database/bible/compendium for all the bits and pieces rather than actually writing in.

    This sounds like it would be very useful – especially if you can add your own ‘forms’ for things like settings/characters etc (because everyone has different things they want to keep track of, like which teddy bears the hero collects, or what colours the house doors are painted, or criminal records on everyone in the book).

    I would strongly put on the wishlist that info is saved separately as text/rtf though – fighting to extract or rescue something from a proprietry or all-in-one file can be one of those ‘ugh!’ nightmares.

  13. Anything that reduces the number of tasks done at different locations would be very helpful. If doing something once and having it show up in numerous places is possible and easy to learn, I’m all for it. Bring it on!

  14. PS–I keep my Fetch current, but haven’t used it in a coon’s age. Do I need to brush up?

    Would you offer a premium package that includes hosting and multi-sites (for those with pen names)?

    Okay, that was probably a bridge too far. πŸ™‚

      • If it’s open source, I will NOT be using it. For something this specific, I really want the software to be tightly controlled so that malefactors and harebrained aftermarket developers can’t get at it. Further, in this case, what is to be gained for the developers, Holly and Dan, if they just give away the program?

        • Tex, you already suggested a premium package that includes hosting and multi-sites. Hosting, management, and advanced features (say, multi-site, desktop app, and so on)are where I envision the money off something like this coming from.
          Holly’s always been in favor of writers owning rather than licensing software (with an exception here and there), so I doubt she’ll go with monthly licensing fees on this. I’m assuming in-app advertising is also out. (not that I disagree.) So, in terms of recurring income, I think that leaves hosting. (and I’m really, really rooting for recurring income.)
          The software is so specific, that I don’t really see a lot of competition from developers without direct access to a large writing community, whether it’s OS or not. With something this connected, I can envision some friction involved in running it on economy shared hosting.
          As far as “aftermarket” developers go, I don’t see them universally as a bad thing. More developers really would contribute to speed. Still, there’d be an “official” version, with a checksum. You wouldn’t have to go for outside elaborations.
          As far as malefactors… They’re there, either way. I can see that in an artistic group, the value of “more eyes” is probably less than it would be in other places.
          It’s not a deal breaker for me–YWriter isn’t OS, either–but there are tweaks I want that aren’t probably important enough for anyone else to mess with.
          It’s great to see you again! Shoulda said that, before. Welcome back!

          • Hi, KLynn–I knew I’d hear from you when I made that statement. πŸ™‚

            As I’m reading and re-reading, I’m getting (I think) a better understanding of this idea. I’ll let you knowledgeable types work out the technical details, and I’ll work with the outcome. Really. Though open source does scare me. I run Apple products, you know.

            Francis Ford Coppola (sp?) runs or used to run a site where artists of all sorts could claim virtual offices and use virtual meeting rooms and so forth. John Truby sells a database program keyed to his theory of story. Both are interesting, and both could be something for Holly and Dan (Hi, Holly and Dan!) to look at, to see what’s available and what’s involved. Truby’s software is locked down extremely tight. That can make it a PIA to use, but I completely agree with keeping software–specially such niche-ware–from running wild.

            Glad to see you, too!

  15. Well, since I’m the poster girl for Lost Stories, I’d be up for anything that would help me stay organized and facing forward.

    Would this be a WordPress replacement?

    For those of us who are not exactly tech-savvy, would the learning curse make our hair fall out?

    It sounds like a terrific idea!

    (This is a yes, by the way, I’d be interested.)

  16. Oh, yes please! I’m a beginner who occasionally listens too closely to my inner critic, and I’m usually trying (and often failing) to carve out a spot of writing time from busy family life: this sounds like just what I’ve been trying to find to keep me on track. I’ve looked at other products, but what you’re proposing seems to offer everything I want in one hit. Also, I sometimes struggle with amnesia when writing (lots of great ideas badly filed etc), so being able to keep everything together is enormously attractive.

  17. It sounds like it fills crucial gaps I’m finding in Scrivener. Thanks for remembering us, Dan. I know you would have thought of it eventually, Holly.

  18. I like the idea of doing it once. I spend a lot of time going from site to site checking on things. I’m trying to learn how to funnel my different social media sites into my website. I have so much to learn. It would be very helpful to have software that helps me organize what I need to do.

    I take help anywhere I can find it. You haven’t let me down yet.

  19. For various reasons I haven’t been writing for about a year, and one of those reasons is the discoverability thing – to put all the hard work into writing then to have to work again to market myself is an exhausting idea.

    Having your software would make it so much easier!

  20. Definitely interested!!! Would want to see HOW some of it works first before telling you if I’d use it – specifically the parts relating to the writing process itself. I have a method I use that works for me. So if I could accommodate that methodology, which is based upon the way my mind processes things naturally, then it would be a tremendous advantage for me to have everything in one place as you described. I’m a “plotter” by nature. Sometimes small bits and pieces of plot points come to me, while other times entire conversations/snippets pop into my head. So this would allow me to keep all of that organized better it sounds like (HOPEFULLY). Anyway, all that to say it’s definitely something I’d consider, but would want to see a demo of it first to know if it would work for my writing process, or is close enough that I would change things a bit for the advantage of using it. Good luck with it!

  21. This sounds phenomenal. The ability to do all of that from my desktop without interrupting my workflow. I am interested and I would use it all.

  22. For me, project management is essential, yet nothing I’ve used so far streamlines the tasks specific to books. I can use Basecamp to create a project with tasks yet to complete/completed, steps in the process, etc. Yet I compose in Scrivener on my Mac (manuscript, character sheets, reserach). Then I use extermal calendars and To Do lists to track progress, etc. Then I have to export to Word and use that with my publisher to track changes, etc. Oh, and I need to keep track of everything on both Android and iOS. My blog updating is another nightmare, plus social media. There’s no catch all, but at the very least, I wish a product existed that focused on novels.

  23. This sounds super intriguing! To be able to do everything from one place? Anything to keep me focused and more productive sounds like a winner. πŸ™‚

  24. This sounds like an amazing tool. I would totally be interested in it. I really think that I would use everything you have listed in the description.

  25. Count me in! I would be thrilled to have something that keeps it all organized for me. Especially since I’m coping with ADD, and organizing is one of my challenges.

  26. Yes, please, to all of the above. I would love to have my brainstorming/pre work available to blog whenever I’m ready.

  27. This would be lovely, and I would be interested. The thing that bugs me most is that, because I write besides everything else, I often lack the energy for anything but the story. This sounds as if it would make it easy to do the other stuff. Or, well, easier.

    Right now, I’d probably actually be less interested in stuff like reminders and deadlines, though I can see how useful that would be – but I likely wouldn’t use it. I guess I’d use stuff in character/conflict/twist/etc development like you teach in the courses, because it’s something that gets results. But that in itself might not convince me, because I’m really okay with doing it slightly more messily in Scrivener or even just Word. But the feature of being able to post stuff to blog, and post snippets and things like that with one click, taking away the tiresomeness of it, sounds heavenly. I’d want that and I’d buy such a software because of it.

    • Wouldn’t a simpler “Holly” version of Scrivener be wonderful?! I’m chugging along with it now via youtube tutorials, and I can’t say it’s helping me as much as it could be.

  28. Sounds very exciting! I would definitely be interested, for many of the reasons both you and Paula mentioned. The all-in-one is a big draw. Part of the reason why I don’t get a lot of blogging done is the whole “two many hands in one pot/head in too many places” feeling.

  29. Sounds interesting, Definitely interested.

    Have you considered something like Tiki-Wiki??? It is a completely free, customizable wiki that has all the features you are looking for, plus many others. It uses MariaDB/MySQL for its database. It is something I have been considering for some time. Now that I took early retirement, I have more time to set it up and see if it will fit my needs.

    I am also working on a database for writing, which will keep track of most of the “writing things” such as all works written, characters used, submissions, etc… This will need MariaDB (or MySQL) and LibreOffice (or Open Office) to run, again both free.

    All above software is available for Linux and Windows.

    As usual, If you need a guinea pig for testing, proofing, etc… as before, please let me know.

    Keep up the great work!!!

    • I like your comment. I got rid of windows almost a decade ago and am still using an old emachine with Linux as its OS. Sometimes it doesn’t get cut off for weeks and I haven’t had a virus in years. Unfortunately I’m not a programer, and still use the version I downloaded when I bought this box.
      I need a writers website of my own and hope Dan uses code that I can use on my computer.
      I also volunteer to be a guinea pig for testing.

  30. Cheers, Holly!
    This absolutely sounds like something I’d be interested in. What draws me most is the notion that I can knock out story development and blogging/promotion all at once. I’d much much much rather write than focus on my blog–so if I can do both at once, it’s a win-win for me.

    I also like the idea of the prompts/reminders/deadline-tracking, because I tend to be a bit all over the place, and I’m always looking for ways to keep myself on track with my work. In the same vein, I’m interested in the daily writing progress diary as well.

    Honestly, I can’t really see anything that I wouldn’t use, except the Twitter feature. But that’s only because I don’t have a Twitter, and that’s likely to change eventually.

    Thanks to you and Dan both for thinking of sharing this with us!

    • You’re welcome…but Dan’s the one who realized I might not be the only writer in the universe who was sick of the constant run-around.

      It’s the one-step thing that is driving me to get this.

      I’m tired of working in seven different places, and I’m tired of not being able to blog every day because I’m doing so many other things—all important—and I miss blogging about my current writing projects.

      I figured out a way to do all the story planning and development work, and blogging and tweeting and newsletter stuff simultaneously from one place, and Dan’s working on building it.

      I’m excited for myself, but if other people are interested, I want to figure out if there’s anything major that I’ve overlooked, or that other folks would want, so Dan can work on something for folks other than just me.

      • I think the most awesome part would be the helping to cut down the virtual “why did I walk into the kitchen” syndrome I experience sometimes when I shut down one app and move to another…

      • Hi Holly,
        Centralizing the work sounds amazing, no wonder my novel seems a bit all over the place at times, it’s because I am all over the place as well!
        I am currently diving into social media (my first Facebook,Twitter, wordpress website, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google plus (just an identity) and Gravitar (again as an ID)…. Unfortunately, I also work full time in my alter ego as a professional and I home-school three children, so do I need help….YES!
        I currently use Y-writer, which is just about perfect for organizing scenes,chapters, descriptions, relevance, action levels, and staging (draft, first through third edits). It is straightforward and written by an author/programmer. It takes all of the above and forms short or long synopsis and keeps track of character bio’s, POV, locations, items, etc. I tried Scrivener only because I can’t get the timeline feature to work on Y writer. I hated it because of the learning curve, and don’t know if I want to leave Y-writer at all unless I could easily learn something else. Ideally, I would like to be able to export y writer works into a program that worked everything else, s/as capturing quotes and sending them to social media. (ie: in the best of all worlds I would like easy import of Y-writer’s exported HTML). Y writer does not format for manuscripts, just exports RTF, HTML or text. It does create e-book format but I haven’t tried it out.
        My current project is a series with over 700 pages divided into a various novels, most in my first. What follows is everything the ultimate dream program would encompass IMHO>
        Ultimate Integrated Writer’s Assistant:
        – a collapsible timeline -like Aeon which I use currently- or able to connect/export to Aeon.
        – A better interface for plot building. I am a character driven novelist, and as commented by Tuff Gartin above, I have scenes that come to me and get put in random places when I begin writing. I would like to see what you could do with character arcs and connecting scene snippets…It would help me keep track of the arc of the series itself.
        – A way to privately store images which inspire a chapter or scene.
        -an easy linkup to incorporate a citation wizard within the novel (if using quotes etc). A request to use this quote (or image) query form letter to one-click send or an easy link to one from within program. If not, a way to at least list everything that might need permissions.
        -an “imagecdr” type link or program for posts to website/pinterest which auto creates hover captions or short link captions for photos to include attributions (which I prefer to add even when not required) and links to artist/photographer and cc contracts.
        -A place to easily link music that may have inspired a chapter, Sometimes going back to the music helps me remember where I was heading if I had to leave a scene incomplete)Also it’s fun to share with readers.
        -An integrated image editor or way to make picture quotes or an easy integrated link to a GIMP or Pic-monkey type site. Automatically returned once edited, so I don’t have to be saving and searching for stuff on the computer to upload.
        -Most social media linking widgets are either expensive and complicated, or tend to send in a default manner, everything goes, so I like the idea of picking and choosing, and would also like to be able to choose to post a link, a photo with caption or a quote on tumblr/twitter/facebook. (Maybe even google plus…)
        -A way to define what is sent to which Facebook site (author page, book page, maybe even profile for some)
        -Sending enabled for different authors, like the pen name question. My Elsbet character posts Wise Woman advise, I post about my book,and musings or tips on writing. My Maeva character posts about engendering magic in childrearing.(That’s how it will be when I have worked out the darn categorizing anyway)
        -A way to keep track of twitter followers and the messages you have and have not sent (I sometimes think I have tweeted a Thank you to someone but it never happened). Now I advance search one by one, would be nice if I could review follower list and know not only if I am following (which is easy only in mobile view) but a list of all interactions with each person (retweets, likes, tweets to and from, even other conversations in facebook etc..)ie: when I wonder..who is this person,and why do they seem familiar, I might be able to figure it out.)
        -A calendar of competitions, deadlines, date of judging, so when a competition is over I can post a short story or poem I submitted on my website.
        A database to store notes on publishers, editors, agents who I might like to send a query to, and any or all correspondences I may have shared with them.
        -A way to keep track of those who have offered to Beta read my work, or are doing so.
        -A listing of websites I have commented on, what I said, maybe easy links to those I particularly enjoy =like yours. πŸ™‚
        -Finally, a way to cross reference followers, see who is following on different sites.
        I apologize for my long selfish Dear Santa/Holly list, but you opened the floodgates by asking and these things and more are where my time is spent when I could be finishing that first novel, so I would LOVE a program to maximize my productivity.
        P.S> In response to your page post query “Are you my reader?” YES, for over two decades!

        • A lot of these are fantastic ideas that I think many authors would get a lot of use out of. Keeping up with social media can be so difficult and time consuming, so I really like the ideas for keeping track of what you have posted on which site, responses to your posts, etc.

          My other favorites ideas here are:
          -Integrating with Aeon Timeline
          -The database to keep notes on agents, editors, etc.
          -Being able to manage multiple pen names

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