The Sell More Books Show: Book Marketing, Digital Publishing and Kindle News, Tools and Advice

Jim and Bryan wrapped up 2014 by recapping the top tips and news stories of the year. The top three tips revolved around sales tracking, changing your social media mindset, and a multitude of ideas related to email lists. The top news stories of the year included the concept of the authorpreneur, the EU's Value Added Tax laws, Hachette vs. Amazon, Author Earnings, and Kindle Unlimited. Jim and Bryan closed by making some big predictions for 2015. The Question of the Week: What are your predictions for 2015?

Direct download: SMBS39_fini.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:54am EST

Jim and Bryan's ho-ho-holiday episode of SMBS touched upon the popular podcast Serial, the big boost adults buying YA gave the industry, Macmillan's deal with Amazon, Konrath dropping out of KU, and what trad pubs learned in 2014. They also touched upon social media tips, the path to a bestseller, and mistakes that hold indie authors back. The Question of the Week: What book do you want for Christmas and why?

Direct download: SMBS38_fini.mp3
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Jim and Bryan welcomed March to a Bestseller 2 Contest Winner Tara Ross onto the show to chat about Facebook's 2015 changes that will affect indie authors. Before that, they discussed digital tools like MightyBell, New Year's resolutions for writers, and launching pieces of meat into space. The temporary trio also talked about being an indie midlister, reasons for quitting self-publishing, how the indie tide is turning, traditional publishers using lower price points, and Facebook's upcoming monthly fee for promotional posts. The Question of the Week: How will Facebook's changes impact your promotional strategy?

Direct download: SMBS37_fini.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am EST

Without sound effects or background noise, Jim and Bryan discussed stories related to Hachette's direct experiment and the recent Zoe Suggs ghostwriting controversy. Before they got to that, Bryan offered free review copies of his Ted Saves the World audiobook and Jim discussed the new deal for a ticket to Author Marketing Live's virtual event. This week's tips included authorpreneur action steps from Joanna Penn, the keys to a great book launch page, and how you can create a bestselling outline. In the news, we talked about sales rank metrics, the new pulp movement for indies, an individual author subscription idea, BookBub's new Author Follows feature, the controversy behind the book Girl Online, and Hachette's direct selling efforts on Twitter. This week's two-part Question of the Week: If you found out a book you just bought was ghostwritten, how would you react? If you were Jim, what would be some ways you'd have a good time during the show while also providing value to Sell More Books Show listeners?

Direct download: SMBS36_fini.mp3
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With big news and tips galore, Jim and Bryan discussed the new VAT laws and recent discontent with Kindle Unlimited. Before they got to it, however, Jim announced the Author Marketing Podcast and Bryan discussed his Thunderclap and free run for Ted Saves the World. Their trio of tips included stories on hustling, cover design, and avoiding distractions. Other news stories revolved around Kindle Scout, Sterling and Stone's lessons learned in 2014 and Jane Friedman's view ahead to 2015. This week's Question of the Week: What have your results been like for Kindle Unlimited? Do you plan to join KDP Select or opt-out of it?

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In our special Thanksgiving episode, we discussed a trio of tips on choosing your target audience, taking advantage of Cyber Monday, and getting your book featured on WattPad. Bryan also talked about his recent success on Kobo. The news stories for episode 34 included Lindsay Buroker's new pen name launch, HarperCollins' new airplane partnership, researching your way to self-publishing success, the hill many authors may have to climb, and Steve Scott's third quarter earnings. We also expressed our thanks for you wonderful listeners out there. Our two part Question of the Week: Do you think exponential sales growth is over for indie authors? What's your favorite Thanksgiving food?

Direct download: SMBS34_fini.mp3
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Jim and Bryan made it one-third of the way to 100 with this week's news-packed episode. After discussing some of Bryan's Amazon tech support issues and sharing their code for the WriteOn service (7TLTK92H), the hosts with the most talked tips with pointers on pitching festivals, connecting with reviewers and a checklist for successful authors. The news included stories on happiness for indie authors, Amazon purchase of dot-book domains, women's dominance of self-publishing, the Ethical Author Code, and Hachette's deal with Amazon. Our Question of the Week: Who won the Amazon/Hachette deal and why?

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Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts joined Jim and Bryan to discuss the results of last week's March to a Bestseller 2 event. The gang discussed over 100 writing tips from Galleycat, the author success traits that are more important than talent and lessons learned from MTAB2. In the news this week were stories based on Kindle Unlimited earnings, the Indie Author Power Pack's push for the bestseller list, the importance of your book launch, the Nook Press push for print on demand and traditional publishing's view on contracts with indies. The sound is a little off in this episode, so please bear with us until we get back to normal next week! This week's Question of the Week: What role do book launches play in your marketing? Have you ever had a successful book launch? If so, how'd you do it? Music: Inspirational, Promo Presentation Music by Marcus Neely (Creative Commons)
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In this week's episode, Jim and Bryan discussed a trio of tips on where you should focus your marketing, the Awesome Indies Project and using an ACX alternative. The news stories included an audiobook subscription service, product placement in novels, temporary library cards at the airport, self-publishing services contracts and the health of the publishing industry. We also chatted about the launch of Author Marketing Institute and this week's March to a Bestseller event. Check out the event on Friday, November 7th at http://bit.ly/marchtab2  Music: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes from Daddy_G's Memory Music, Creative Commons License. Question of the Week: Have you ever paid a company to self-publish for you? If so, were you happy with your experience and why?

Direct download: SMBS31_fini.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53am EST

In the landmark 30th episode of the Sell More Books Show, Jim and Bryan geared up for the impending March to a Bestseller 2 event, which will be held on Friday, November 7th. Check out the lineup and the two-dozen prizes you can win at http://bit.ly/marchtab2
 
The tips of the week included how to get into Costco and specialty stores, ways to increase your writing speed, and planning ahead for holiday publicity opportunities. Jim and Bryan also chatted about the Dear Author lawsuit, the Guardian reviewer stalking piece, five marketing mistakes most beginning fiction writers make, why Amazon is doing the world a favor, and several new features for the iBooks platform. Jim also offered up a 60-minute consultation as one of the giveaways for March to a Bestseller.
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Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am EST

Our most jam-packed show yet! After discussing the journey into ACX, Jim and Bryan talked social media cheat sheets, social media sins to avoid, and sharing your backstory. There was so much news this week that we left Kindle Scout and the Amazon/Simon&Schuster deal out of the top five. The top five stories included news on a WattPad success story, publishing advances, Kobo vs. Amazon, the Kindle Unlimited Author Earnings report, and Barbara Freethy's print deal. The Question of the Week: How do you decide how to spend your time as an author?

Direct download: SMBS29_fini.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am EST

As part of Bryan's birthday show, the guys discussed tips on promoting a standalone novel, growing website traffic and creating content events. Jim and Bryan announced their big Friday, November 7th multi-author event: March to a Bestseller 2. The event will feature at least 16 books on writing and marketing for just 99 cents with real-time Q&A with the authors. You can join the event at bit.ly/marchtab2 
 
The news included stories on Paulo Coelho's indie author mindset, how to write a successful series, Amazon's physical store in Manhattan, print book statistics and how to change your author business. Jim and Bryan went in-depth on why authors shouldn't wait for permission to move forward in their careers. This week's Question of the Week: What would you do if you stopped asking for permission in your author career? How would your books, marketing, and life change? 
Direct download: SMBS28_fini.mp3
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Jim and Bryan discussed how the publishing world is adapting to the digital landscape in the latest episode. We examined how the Washington Post is continuing to trash self-published books, HarperCollins is raising royalty rates for authors who sell direct and how Amazon is testing out its own WattPad clone, WriteOn. Our trio of tips included the AuthorRise analytics tool, using a Book Marketing Canvas and programming Buffer to do your social media. Other stories included the new InkCase for iPhone5 and Rachel Aaron's theories on the Amazon algorithm. This week's Question of the Week: How do you connect with your early adopters?

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Bryan, the bright-eyed optimist, and Jim, the grizzled veteran, went toe-to-toe on Amazon keyword SEO in the latest installment of the show. They also discussed tips on early readers and creating better infographics. The five news stories focused on ideas for content creation, how to disrupt the dinosaurs of retail, improving the self-publishing industry, BookBub's expansion into the U.K. and advice from bestselling author Bella Andre. Bryan also discussed the success of his first finished novel, and how his 5-6 unfinished novels helped to pave the way for "overnight" success. This week's Question of the Week is: Have you used keywords to improve your on-page Amazon SEO? If so, have you noticed an increase in sales or free downloads?

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Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am EST

It's been 25 weeks since Jim and Bryan decided to give podcasting a go. We kept things rolling along with tips about Pinterest, changing your social media perspective and advanced email list building. After touching briefly on Nook's continued tailspin, Jim and Bryan chatted about KDP Select, giving up blogging, iBooks and Smashwords, Amazon's new crowdsourcing program and Amazon and Apple's family sharing plans. Our Question of the Week: Do you use Pinterest for your marketing? If so, what kind of results have you had?

Direct download: SMBS25_fini.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am EST

As Jim and Bryan neared the quarter century mark, they talked at length about Amazon's recent announcement of the KDP Select All-Stars program. Before they got to that, Jim chatted more about live events and the two of them took on a trio of tips about Gmail productivity, editing, and videos for book club questions. The top five news included stories on Apple's U2 free album promotion, J.A. Konrath's 15 tips to increase sales, Joanna Penn's three-year author-entrepreneur anniversary, the decline of Nook and Amazon's new $2.7 million KDP Select All-Stars program. This week's Question of the Week: Will the new All-Stars program get you to go exclusive on KDP Select? Why or why not?

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We had a very special edition of the Sell More Books Show this week featuring many of the speakers from Jim's Author Marketing Live event. J. Thorn, Andrea Vahl, Hunter Boyle, Derek Murphy, Vinny O'Hare, Deborah Carney, Julia Kline, Steve Scott, Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant all stopped by to take one tip and news story each! Our guests lent their expert opinions to a trio of tips on a Twitter ePub reader, an author site checklist and a Google Chrome plug-in for building your brand. We also touched on author productivity, Espresso Book Machines at Barnes & Noble stores, Google's disbanding of the Authorship program, Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Kids Book Creator. Whether you attended Author Marketing Live or not, take this opportunity to hear the speakers in action!

Direct download: SMBS_23_Final.mp3
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With Jim's Author Marketing Live event just a few days away, we talked about what it takes to run a live event. Bryan and Jim chatted about this week's tips: cliffhanger pricing, incorporating video into your platform and when to use KDP Select. The news stories included a publishing company that successfully dropped Amazon, the condensing of non-fiction classics, how audiobook listeners consume content, the recent Guardian $6,000 self-publishing story and David Gaughran's marketing tips for beginners. We discussed the importance of getting reviews in depth, which formed the Question of the Week: How do you get reviews on your books?

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Bryan pushed through his sore throat to chat about this week's news with Jim on our 21st show. Before we got to our exclusive story about Amazon's KDP advertising program, we discussed tips on keywords, nonfiction primers for fiction books and a marketing plan that takes an hour a day. We also chatted about responses to last week's preorder question. Other stories included Kindle Unlimited going international, the total number of books on Amazon, Sports Illustrated's writing evaluation methods, the success of the New Adult genre and the growth of tablets compared to e-readers. Our Question of the Week: How do you read? Do you use an e-reader, phone, tablet, paperback, audio or something else and why?

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To celebrate hitting the big 2-0, Jim and Bryan talked in depth about KDP's new pre-order feature. Before that, they discussed last week's marketing question, a Goodreads giveaway tip, the Fancy Hands virtual assistant service and the KDP Sales Rank calculator. Other news items included the success of Paulo Coelho's social media platform, Amazon's advertising program, the most influential publishing professionals and the first month results of Kindle Unlimited. This week's Question of the Week: Will you use KDP's pre-order feature? Why or why not?

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Bryan and Jim reunited in this week's Sell More Books Show. After discussing last week's episode (which featured author Hugh Howey), the dynamic duo talked reading, Ted Saves the World's recent launch, critique groups, email lists and the storytelling app Episode. While Amazon's Readers Unite campaign was the top story, we also talked same-day book delivery services, Big 5 e-profits, subscription services and selling direct. This week's Question of the Week: What's the #1 thing you've done to market your books in the last 30 days?

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In part two of the show, Bryan and author Hugh Howey went into this week's news. Stories included reports of an Amazon mobile credit card reader, Dean Wesley Smith's writing in public project, how to improve your craft as a writer, J.A. Konrath's ideal Authors Guild and Amazon's latest press release on book pricing in the Hachette negotiations. Hugh also presented this week's Question of the Week: How many hours a week do you put into reading? Do you consider it part of your job as an author or is it a passion project? How has that reading impacted your writing?

Direct download: Hugh_Howey_Interview_Part_2_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:31am EST

 

In the longest Sell More Books Show to date, Bryan co-hosted the show this week with best-selling indie author Hugh Howey while Jim was fly fishing in Montana. Before we got into the Tip of the Week, Hugh talked about marketing as an introvert and how YouTube videos help him to connect with readers. The tips included tactics related to release strategy, BookBub and Kindle Unlimited. Bryan and Hugh went into depth discussing what's next for Hugh Howey and Data Guy's Author Earnings project. 

Direct download: Hugh_Howey_Interview_Part_1_Final.mp3
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We went deeper into discussions about the subscription model this week on episode #17 of the podcast. Jim and Bryan also talked about a recent Apple acquisition, the Horror Writers Assocation's decision to include indies and Author Earnings' latest report on Nook. Other topics included creating your social media marketing plan, segmenting your email list and selling your first standalone novel. Our biggest news may have been our guest co-host for next week's show: Hugh Howey! Hugh will sub in for Jim on episode #18. Our Hugh-skewing question of the week: What do you think of Author Earnings? Comment on our website or give us a call at (206) 338-0092. 

Direct download: SMBS_17_Sound.mp3
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This episode was jam-packed with news, including the biggest story of the week: Amazon's release of the Kindle Unlimited service. The latest Author Earnings report, Steve Scott's massive second quarter, Facebook's new "Buy It Now" button and Apple's conditional $450 million settlement also made the news. Jim and Bryan chatted about sharable content, 15-minute marketing techniques and using Amazon's customer forums to host Q&As. We also unveiled our new voicemail feature allowing listeners to call into the show. You can leave a voice message at 206-338-0092 and we might play your message on the show. 

Direct download: episode16cut.mp3
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After a tiny chat about exercising while writing, we discussed awards, titles and prices during a jam-packed show. The tips of the week included focused emails to your subscribers, hunting down the best blogs in your genre and Twitter's new pinning feature. Our news stories involved Konrath and Eisler vs. the Authors Guild, the importance of awards for indies, Amazon's new KDP pricing feature, the recent U.K. author earnings study and what you need to do to become the CEO of your own author company. Jim also had some Yoda-like wisdom about how to motivate yourself to work hard on your business. In our Question of the Week we asked: Have you ever applied for an indie author award, and if so, why did you do it?

Direct download: episode15cut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41am EST

We discussed multiple angles of the indie movement on this week's show, including going direct, crowdfunding and the path toward becoming mainstream. Some themes that came up multiple times were coming up with your own marketing ideas and giving your fans a choice over what you give them. We also discussed iBooks tips, trading for blurbs, turning your blog into a book, the new Reading Rainbow, making the first book in a series free and Digital Book Day. Jim also took you behind the scenes of the Sell More Books Show and presented a question of the week: If you had the option of asking your readers what your next book or series should be about, would you use it? Why or why not?

Direct download: episode14.mp3
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For Jim's return, we discussed how the big five publishers are using libraries to sell books and analytics to to tell an incomplete story.  Our tips included using author groups, Booktrack and Marketing Grader to strengthen your platform. We also talked about France's "Anti-Amazon Law," the traditional publishing version of Hugh Howey and the new indie authors involved in Amazon's Kindle Worlds. Jim and Bryan finished off the program answering last week's question and posing a new question on libraries selling books.

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While Jim spent all day recording videos for a college course, Bryan and guest co-host Shelley Hitz from TrainingAuthors.com stepped in to deliver this week's news. There was a big focus this episode on forging a personal connection with your readers whether it be through encouraging fans to email you, using social media or contacting librarians to get your books in the stacks. Other topics included using Microsoft Word to create book covers, Google Alerts, the news analysts are missing about the publishing industry, getting featured on BookBub and the myth that authors have missed the indie publishing boat. We also debuted a new feature: The Question of the Week. How do you connect personally with your readers? Let us know via email or through the comments on our website. 

Direct download: thesmbs12.mp3
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We discussed several internal obstacles to becoming a successful indie author this week, including a lack of focus and a belief in the myth that you need to become an overnight success. Jim also talked about his new book and Bryan shared some results from his Facebook events. Other topics included mailing lists, the image creation tool Canva, the shame people feel when reading certain genres, diversity in publishing and self-publishing numbers in the U.K. 
 
What You'll Learn: 
  • The pros and cons of using contests to build your email lists 
  • How to promote future content to gain email subscribers
  • How to use Canva to develop your author platform
  • The frequency with which you should email your subscribers 
  • Why Kindles make it easier to sell certain genres
  • How indie publishing is providing new opportunities for minority authors 
  • Seven habits to avoid to become a successful indie author
  • How much the self-publishing industry is growing in the U.K.
  • Why the need to sell books quickly is a myth
Direct download: show11smbs11_fini.mp3
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We reached the double digits this week as we focused on ways authors and publishing platforms are making it easier to reach readers. The Audible and Apple were two examples of companies who have succeeded in removing barriers from entry to reading. Other subjects this week included Flipboard, Craigslist, Amazon categories, indie author fangirls, hard work and the success of author HM Ward. 

Direct download: SMBS_Episode_10.mp3
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We got very classy this week with our guest co-host, thriller and non-fiction author Joanna Penn. The three of us chatted about karma, selling direct and the full-time writing success of hundreds of indie authors. Other topics included box sets, walking podcasts, author crowdfunding, contests, the Amazon-Hachette conflict and apps for authors. Big thanks to Joanna for teaching us how to say Hachette correctly!

What You'll Learn: 

  • How a new service lets you trade promotion for karma
  • How a little organization goes a long way with box sets
  • What some authors are doing to directly connect with readers
  • How you can give away part of your royalties for funding
  • What Joanna, Jim and Bryan think about Kirkus Reviews
  • What happens when the Passive Guy gets active
  • How romance writers are directly reaching their audience
  • The kind of money some non-superstar indie authors are making

Links: 

Direct download: show9.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EST

We addressed the Amazon-Hachette situation again this week with a good old fashioned rant. We also talked about KDP Select Countdown Deals, building your mailing list with Noise Trade and creating an attractive book page with Bublish. Other topics included selling local, the new Ask the Author feature on Goodreads, whether or not indie publishing is a good business model and a study on authors making living on indie publishing. 

What You'll Learn: 

  • How Bryan hit the top 25 in the Amazon Kindle store
  • How to use a rolling KDP Select Countdown Deal
  • What some authors are using to build their email lists
  • How to create a book bubble and how it could help you
  • The top Kindle ebook reading city in the U.S. 
  • Why Jim agrees with J.A. Konrath on the Amazon-Hachette matter
  • What makes indie authorship a good business model
  • How many authors are earning a living through Kindle  
Direct download: SMBS_8.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32pm EST

On the new, tech-savvy episode of the Sell More Books Show, we talked about how technology is changing the self-publishing industry, from War and Peace on smartphones to George RR Martin writing on an MS-DOS computer. Other stories included our tip of the week, a controversy at a New Orleans writing conference, a change in the print-on-demand business model and Hugh Howey's latest Author Earnings report. We also shared Chris Well's awesome sounders for our top five news. 

Direct download: show7.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EST

This week we talked in depth about Amazon monopolies and a large study on different author marketing methods. Other stories included our tip of the week, Sony bowing out of the ebooks business, similarities between high-earning authors and the number of indies topping the bestseller charts. Jim challenged listeners to get the show a top 5 news bumper and Hugh Howey as a guest.

What You'll Learn

  • How to use Smashwords for pre-sales
  • How to track your promotional campaigns on amazon 
  • How to use short stories to gain new readers
  • What Sony could have done to compete with Amazon
  • How Amazon is throwing its weight around with publishers
  • What six-figure authors have in common
  • How many indies make up the bestseller lists on Amazon
  • Why indie authors should be encouraged from new tracking numbers
  • Author Steve Scott's 16 methods for promoting his latest series
Direct download: show6a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:26am EST

 

We welcomed Amazon Top 5 Horror Author J. Thorn as our first ever guest for this week's show. We talked at length about giving value today, whether its through social media accounts, promotional methods and book discovery services. Other topics included our new Top Tip of the Week segment, ISBN numbers, venture capitalists, BookBub, writing rules to live by and the new #AmazonCart service. 

Direct download: SMBS_Ep_5_5614.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EST

On our final show of April, we discussed how a publishing contract compares with self-publishing and why selling direct is something to strive for. This week's topics included reality competition shows for writers, the level playing field for self-publishers, the recent layoffs at Kobo, the scenarios in which a publishing contract make sense and selling directly to your readers. 

Direct download: SMBS_Episode_4.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EST

On this episode, we talked about the importance of authenticity in your writing and your social media. This week's topics included American and German ebook reading statistics, book subscription services, social media post length and James Patterson's writing tips. Jim made a big announcement: Author Marketing Live!

Direct download: SellMoreBooksEp3Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:30am EST

 

This week we discussed foreign translations and the top stories in self-publishing. This week's topics include indie books in libraries, the dominance of romance authors, tablets, working hard and KDP's new sales dashboard. Also, Jim destroys Bryan in a nerd-off. 

Direct download: Show2Attempt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42pm EST

For our inaugural show, we talked a bit about ourselves before launching into the latest news of the week. This week's topics include indie bookstores, instant paperbacks, Amazon keywords, ACX in the U.K. and the Self-Publishing Podcast's new Kickstarter project. 

Direct download: show1Attempt3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47pm EST

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