Thursday, 29 September 2011

Why YA? (Isn't that a Rush song?)

At some point, I've really got to stop with the blog-titles-that-are-really-cheesy-jokes thing.


Anyway, I've realised I've hit a little bit of a problem with my self-promotion (okay, I've also hit the big problem of being naff at it, but that's a different blog post) for 'Heaven Can Wait'. I've billed the book as YA fantasy - which it is, at least in the sense that it's about being a young man in love, and it's got ghosts and magic and monsters in it - but while I have read a fair amount of YA fantasy, my bookshelves are mainly laden with high and epic fantasy, and some sci-fi, little if any of which could reasonably be described as YA.

This might not have been a problem in the pre-social-media age, but marketing these days, particularly for new writers, is focussed so much on engagement with potential readers that it presents a real issue. I just don't have enough knowledge of the genre (sub-genre?) to engage with these people.

Then there's the issue that for some people (I think), 'YA' is rather too strongly associated with Twilight, or they look at 'YA' and see 'children's book'. It may be that in branding the book as YA, I've shot myself in both feet - I can't engage with the YA market very well, and I'm turning off some people from the 'grown-up' market who probably would enjoy my book quite a lot.

The thing with all the YA I've read is that it's all been recommended to me by my mother (hence 'Heaven Can Wait' is dedicated to her). I won't do her the disservice of revealing her age to the whole internet, but let's just say she celebrated her ruby wedding anniversary in August. I know there's a big audience for YA among As who really can't claim to be very Y anymore (except at heart, right mum?), but I'm not sure that group do a lot of social networking.

As such, I'm contemplating rebranding the book as straight fantasy. I can talk fantasy until my ears bleed, it's more in line with the other stuff I write (by the by, check this out; the announcement of my next project), and this list of three would sound a lot better with a proper third item (sorry).

Obviously, it's not as simple as all that; for one thing, there isn't a lot of straight fantasy which is very like 'Heaven Can Wait'. Oddly, one of the closest touchstones I have for it is Scott Lynch's 'The Lies of Locke Lamora' (though the similarity is much stronger between 'Lies' and 'Some Kind of Angel', and my books are rather more child-friendly), a book I didn't actually enjoy that much.

Still, I think I can make it work, one way or the other. I'd appreciate your thoughts, though; how do you look at the 'YA' label, as against a straight-up 'fantasy' billing?

Monday, 26 September 2011

I'm not a cynic, I'm a hypocrite...

There's a difference. Hypocrites believe in something. (One of my all-time favourite jokes, by one of my favourite comedians).

The point is, after all my ranting about Amazon, the free-content model, and people having an over-inflated or misguided sense of what their books are worth, 'Heaven Can Wait' is now available from Amazon's Kindle store for $2.99/£1.71.

Given everything I've said, this is rather hypocritical. I stand by my arguments, at least in the basic principles, but the simple fact is that I'm really tight for cash at the moment. In a worst-case scenario, my budget after rent and bills for the next three months is about £20 a week. Enough to live on, but not much more. Certainly not enough to get in on the whole CreateSpace thing for hardcopies, which I remain convinced will be the best way for me to make money writing in the long run.

So, the book goes on Amazon for a 'thick' price, and I make a public apology for the temporary hypocrisy. I'm making no promises, but I expect to drop the price of 'Heaven Can Wait' once 'Some Kind of Angel' is available, and in the interim I'm hoping to launch a short story I've been filling odd hours with this last week. It's the first of a serial, and definitely will be going out at minimum prices (I'll probably bung it on Smashwords at $.49 and see if I can trick Amazon into price-matching it).

Thanks, by the way, to everyone who responded to my last blog post (if you haven't already, go read the comments. Some very important advice in there). 'Heaven Can Wait' went live on Saturday morning, and I've already sold 2 copies, almost without any announcement at all, which means it's at least twice as easy to sell on the Kindle Store as on Smashwords (and I suspect rather easier than that).

I think that's all I have to say at this point. I'm guest-blogging for Lyn Midnight later this week about screenwriting, comic writing and prose writing, and I'm working on something about rights-sale publishing (and this short story), but I'll leave it here for now.

Once again, here's the link to buy Heaven Can Wait at Amazon.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sometimes you go through the wringer...

Well, I've had an interesting last week-or-so. On Thursday there was a hell of a party. On Friday, there were at least two hells of a hangover. Then over the weekend I quit my band (amicably and by mutual agreement, for the best interests of the band, but it still takes some getting my head around).

As a result, I didn't write this blog post on Saturday, when I should have. I also didn't plug this interview that I did on Thursday nearly enough (apologies, Anne!). Which means the answer to this might be obvious:

Why aren't you buying my book?

Well, apart from my shameful lack of self-promotion over the last few days, anyway. I'm not actually being as petulant as that sounds, either. What I mean is, what would convince YOU to buy my book? I've sold 2 copies in the 17 days the book's been on sale, and I can't help thinking that even a brand new starting author should have managed a bit better than that.

Here are a few things I think have been holding me back thus far. I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me which, if any, of these would encourage you to buy.

1 - Availability on the Amazon Kindle store. I'm guessing this is the biggest thing holding me back. I launched on Smashwords first because the royalties are so much better there and I wanted to be able to see how much of a difference Amazon availability made. Obviously, I won't know until I get the book up onto the Kindle store, but I'm hoping I'll at least see some progress. I was hoping to do this late last week, but obviously circumstances intervened. I hope to find time before the end of the month, but that's beginning to look a little optimistic.

2 - Hardcopy. Kindle penetration isn't anything like as widespread in the UK as in the US, and I think a lot of people over here don't realise that you don't actually need a Kindle to read ebooks. Of the people who do know that, however, many aren't keen (and who can blame them?) to read a whole book off a computer screen. Certainly, I've had several people tell me they wouldn't read an ebook. Unfortunately, hardcopy is going to have to wait, at least until I can afford the entry price for CreateSpace's premium service. I've done some playing around with the royalty calculator and such, and I think I can put the book out for about £7/$11. Would you be interested in a dead tree (edition) at that price? Also, what's the going rate for a trade paperback in the states? Here they tend to be £8-9.

3 - Reviews. I haven't organised any yet, because I feel really awkward (and slightly terrified) approaching reviews. Sidebar: if you're a YA and/or fantasy reviewer and you'd like a copy, let me know. I'm painfully aware of all the places where my book is showing up as 'unrated' or '0 reviews', and it can't look terribly professional.

4 - Price. I remember reading a J.A. Konrath article that said that $1.99 seems to be an unpopular price point, though I remain unconvinced that price alone could put someone off a book. It happens to be my ideal price at Smashwords' royalty rates, but if it's holding people back I might go to $2.99 when I move to Amazon. Or I might move in the other direction. I've blogged long and hard against high prices for ebooks (and I have another in the works, I think), but I'm really tight for cash at the moment. Either way, do you think about price points when buying ebooks?

5 - Writing a different book. I know YA fantasy isn't everyone's thing. If you wouldn't buy a YA fantasy book regardless of any of the above, please disregard this message. I think as YA books go, 'Heaven Can Wait' reaches pretty far outside its core target audience, but it's still a story about a teenager in love, even if he does have to fight a bunch of ghosts and demons along the way. I will be writing other, less-YA-ish projects once I'm done with the Non-Agency, so there'll be something for you eventually. Bear with me!

Please, please, please, leave any advice you can. Balancing promoting my book with not failing my PhD is hard, I need all the help I can get!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I am not a brand, I am a free number! Wait...

Have you ever been persuaded to buy Axe/Lynx deodorant (for yourself or someone else) by one of those ridiculous adverts? You know, the ones where any woman who so much as catches a sniff of the smell goes absolutely rutting wild for the man wearing it?

Thought not. And yet, I have to admit, I buy Lynx deodorant (hey, I'm poor. If you think I should go up-market, buy my book). Not because I believe it will make the ladies unable to resist me - if I ever thought it might, the last eight rather pitiful years of my love life would have disabused me of the notion - but because when I think 'I need to buy some deodorant', Lynx is the first brand to spring to mind. Because the ads are so ridiculous, and they stick with you (and okay, the animated ones with the caveman biker riding the buffalo chopper were pretty funny).

What's this got to do with anything? Well, it's a very good way to advertise massive super-brands. It's a terrible way to advertise a book, particularly if you're a just-starting indie author. It's a matter of understanding what kind of advertising you're trying to do.

Big brand advertising works by raising brand consciousness so that a particular brand is the first thing to come to mind when you think 'I want a...'. There's nothing persuasive about it; the Lynx ads aren't really trying to convince you consciously that Lynx will make you more attractive. Apart from a few super-rare exceptions (J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson), that doesn't work for books.

When it comes to books, it's all about persuading a reader that your book is worth not just their money but also their time. You're asking for a big investment. You're probably also asking for a click-through process involving several clicks before any money changes hands; from your advert to your distributor and then through to checkout. At each step of the process you need to be upping the interest, because you're asking that little bit extra from your target.

Fortunately, you have at least one weapon that the people making Lynx adverts don't (sidebar: I once participated in a focus group that was part of the research for the next addition for the Lynx/Axe line, and the Unilever people seemed like pretty cool guys). You're selling a story, and human beings naturally want to know what happens next in stories. You're selling something with a bunch of mysteries in, and people want the answers.

Soooooo that's what you focus on. And here's the important part, the reason this lesson is important:

Brand-based advertising is basically spamming. It's shoving something in your target's face until they're so sick of it that they can't stop thinking of it when they go to the shops. Spamming will get you nowhere with trying to sell your book.

When you're advertising your book, you can't just keep linking to it (I'm looking at you, people whose book-plugging tweets go '[title] now on Kindle! [link] #then #a #string #of #hashtags'. DOING IT WRONG). You've got to get your target thinking 'What happens next?' or 'Where's this going?' - occasionally 'where's this come from?' works too, but there's a risk of confusion.

That means you need content in your adverts. Since my main networking is done on Twitter, I'm mainly thinking about Twitter, and I'm working on two main kinds of promotional tweet. The first is elevator pitches (and yes, more than one; if you can only make one elevator pitch about your book, it's too one-dimensional.) Here are a couple I'm using;

'Tom's fallen for the daughter of the man who killed him, and the Non-Agency will stop at nothing to keep them apart.'

'The Non-Agency can't convince Tom he's dead. But if he keeps resisting, they'll show him there are worse things than dying.'

I'm still working on the second one - I'm convinced I can get it a little bit shorter - but note that they stress two different sides to the book; the first is more romantic, the second more action-y. I'm currently looking for one that will stress the fantasy/magical aspect.

I've already done a post about writing blurbs and elevator pitches, so I won't say more about it now. The other part of my Twitter strategy focusses on the #novelines hashtag, created by Al Boudreau. This is where you take a line from your novel and post it up with the hastag and a link. In real terms, your chosen quote has to be less than 115 characters, and this is hard to achieve, but my writing style seems to suit it fairly well. I can't really explain how these lines work, and I'm still trying to figure out which work best, but here are a few I have tried or am going to try:

'“You mean, I’d get a chit from a priest that’s good for one murder?”'

'I begin my testimony, "In the small hours of the morning after my death..."'

'"Is there no-one you regret hurting?” If there was, I wasn’t about to talk about it with a man who oozed.'

My one definite piece of advice for playing with #novelines is to try to focus on the things that could only happen in your book - the things that make it unique. I've seen a few #novelines tweets along the lines of 'Her breath caught in her throat, her heart pounding. [link]', and no-one's going to buy that. That could be in any book, and something like it probably is in half of all books with female characters; the kind of situations that make for good stories tend to make for that kind of tension.

And that's it, really. I can't claim to be much of an expert (I've been published four days and sold 2 books, one to my mother. I consider this good going, but I'm sure if I had any real expertise I'd have done better), but that's my two cents.

Any advice on this or any other aspect of advertising? I meant to get on to other bits of my marketing strategy, but that can wait for another post, I think. Anyone want to confess to too much spamming/brand advertising? (once again, my book is on sale here ;D)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A New Sample Sunday Sample

I may have mentioned, but Heaven Can Wait is now on sale at Smashwords (UPDATE: now also available at Amazon). Here's the blurb:

When the Non-Agency tells Tom he's dead, he doesn't see much reason to believe them. But he is, and it's their job to convince him. When he falls for Mary, the still-living daughter of his murderer, Tom knows the Non-Agency will try to keep him from her. They'll stop at nothing to send him towards the light, and he's about to learn there are worse things than dying..

There's a sample of roughly the first three chapters available through Smashwords, but here's another:


“What are you?” asked a female voice.

I examined my surroundings. Mr. Everay’s house, it seemed, had a loft bedroom. It was furnished with the same wealth as his own chamber – not a servant’s room. In the middle of the room, facing me over the arm of an enormous armchair, was a girl.

She had copper hair and a round face with wide, interested eyes. She was wrapped in a quilt in the chair except for her right arm, bare to the shoulder, which was lying across her body. I found the curve of her shoulder irresistibly fascinating.

“What-?” I managed.

“You just came through the door,” she said, glaring at me.

“Through?” I looked back at the door.

“Without opening it. What are you?”

I pulled myself into a proper sitting position and stared at my hands, not wanting to admit what I was going to have to admit. I stood up and placed a hand on the door; it seemed solid enough.

“I’m a ghost,” I said, feeling a sudden chill in my fingers and toes.

“A ghost? A dead person?”

“I... guess so. I came through the door, didn’t I?”

“Could be a rogue magician.”

“Do I look like a magician?” I turned to face her, arms spread wide.

“I don’t know. I’ve never met one. You don’t look like a ghost.”

“You’ve seen ghosts?”

“Well, no. But I’d expect to be able to see through a ghost.” She pouted slightly. I suppose I was being a bit snippy, but death will do that to a man.

“I’ll get like that eventually. This is, uh, a new thing for me.”

“How new?”

“Last night.”

“You were the boy who broke in, then.” She nodded to herself with a smile.

“Wha? How did you-?”

“You’re a new ghost, and you’re running around my house where last night there was a break-in and Mortimer threw a boy in the river. I assumed you were younger, though.”

I opened my mouth to reply, but stopped at the sound of footsteps on the stairs. The girl put a finger to her lips, then cocked her head in a listening pose.

“Mary, dear?” The voice was Mr. Everay’s, but with a slight, squeaky overtone which was probably his attempt at politeness, “May I come in?”

“Not now, daddy, I’m not decent!” Mary clearly had a flair for performance; her voice shrilled in a perfect imitation of alarm as she spoke.

“Did the boy who was here go into your room?” Everay’s voice dropped sharply in pitch and I felt my pulse pick up as I watched Mary’s response.

She narrowed her eyes at me and treated me to a long, slow, malicious grin, before saying, “Boy, daddy? Whatever are you talking about?”

“There was a boy here causing trouble again,” Everay growled, “Mortimer said he came up this way and vanished into your room.”

“Vanished, daddy? Mort must have been seeing things. My door’s been locked since supper.” She was acting the part well, and gave a shrug. Unfortunately for me – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – the gesture revealed another half-inch of her shoulder, and still no clothing.

“And you haven’t seen anyone? Or heard anything?”

“I heard you running around, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with me. Are you angry, daddy?”

“Not with you, my sweet, don’t worry,” Everay’s voice went squeaky again, “I’ll give you a minute to get dressed.”

Mary and I stared at each other as Everay’s footsteps went back down the stairs.

I whispered, “Why help me?”

“You’re interesting. And I’m bored.”

I looked around the room again. There was plenty of comfort – the armchair, another extravagant four-poster bed, a leather divan – but there didn’t seem to be very much to do. Not that I had any idea how rich folk spent their time.

“He keeps you locked away like this?”

“Oh, I have a key. I’m not supposed to leave the house, but sometimes Mort will let me out while daddy’s not around.”

“I see how you would be bored.” It sounded like luxury to me.

Mary ignored my sarcasm with a smug, girlish grin. “It isn’t really too bad. Daddy does it because he loves me and he doesn’t want to lose me.”

I looked back at the door.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “Unless he’s really angry, we have a few minutes.”

“And if he is very angry?”

“He’ll get his spare key and come straight back. But I doubt you could have done anything to make him that angry.”

“I... uh, I tried to kill him.”

“That might do it, yes,” she frowned, then looked away.

“It was revenge,” I protested.

“I didn’t think it would be anything else.”

“I didn’t actually kill him.”

“Well, obviously. Do you have to kill him before you can leave this world? I read a book like that once.” She nodded to herself again.

“No. Well, sort of. It wasn’t my idea, but they said it would help.”

“’They’ told you. I assume ‘they’ have some authority in the matter?”

I shrugged. “They call themselves the Non-Agency, and apparently it’s their job to get ghosts to move along.”

“You only have their word for this.”

“True, but they did... well... they helped me talk to God.”

“You don’t sound very sure of that.”

“I don’t know what it was, but it scared the life out of me.”

“What life?”

“I think that was the idea. But it was certainly strange.”

“But you still only have their word it was God.”

“True. But what else do I have to go on? Something strange is clearly going on.”

“That I can agree with.” She tugged at the quilt, turning slightly in her chair to look at me straight-on. I managed to get my gaze back from her ever-barer shoulder to her face before it became too rude.

“Whatever’s going on, they know something about it. I’m trapped with them until I learn it.”

“You can’t be that trapped if they’re letting you run around killing people.”

“I don’t mean like a rat. Uh, more like... I just feel like I have to work with them for now. Don’t you feel trapped too?”

“It isn’t too bad.” She grinned, “besides, now I have you to keep me company.”

“You have me?”

“You’d better keep coming back. You owe me your life.”

“I have no life to owe.” Two could play that game.

She frowned and stuck out her lower lip for a moment. “So why were you running from daddy?”

I stared at her, speechless. What had I been so afraid of?

“You’re acting like you’re still alive,” she said with another of those little smarter-than-thou nods.

“I still feel alive.”

“You still look alive. If I hadn’t watched you come through the door, I wouldn’t believe you were a ghost.”

“I think it only happened because I wasn’t expecting the door to be there. The Non-Agency pulled a couple of tricks like that on me.”

“Must have been funny,” she smirked.

“Not really. I didn’t fall down some stairs that weren’t there.”

She laughed, her smirk slithering around into a neat little smile. Her lips, I noticed, were very full; it gave her smile a cute pout.

“It could be fun to see what happens if I kiss you,” she said. I blinked at her, worrying I might have spoken out loud. She carried on, “If you can walk through doors when you’re not thinking about them, I bet I could get you to fall through the floor.”

“Pretty cocky, aren’t you? I’ve kissed a lot of girls.”

“I’ve kissed a lot of boys.”

“Your father lets you-?”

“I don’t sneak out to go shoe-shopping, boy. Not usually, anyway.”

She shifted in her seat, and a little more shoulder emerged from the quilt she was cocooned in. Whatever she was wearing within there, it had a narrow, lacy shoulder-strap that I couldn’t take my eyes off. She laughed again.

“Can you do it on command? Walk through things, I mean?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t tried.”

“You’d better start trying, then.”


“Daddy will be back any moment, and if you’re here when he comes in, we’ll both be in trouble. You wouldn’t want to cause me any trouble, would you?” She gave what she probably thought was a simper; the result was a mix of exaggerated pout and wince.

I raised an eyebrow, “What if I can’t?”

“Then we’ll find out whether daddy really can hurt you. You can’t stay here.”

“Really?” I treated her bare shoulder to another lingering glance, waiting to make sure she noticed, “How disappointing.”

Her eyes went wide for a moment before she smirked again, “Behave. That’s no way to speak to a lady!”

“Ladies don’t sneak away from their fathers to kiss boys. Or lounge around half-naked.”

“I wasn’t exactly expecting a street brat to walk through the door. Staying indecent always buys me a little time from Daddy.”

A muffled thud from downstairs fell through the gap in the conversation. I said, “Which way’s the best for me to get out?”

“I have no idea.”

“We’re on the second floor! I can’t just walk through a wall.”

“If you can walk through walls, falling shouldn’t hurt.”

“Easy for you to say.”

I looked around, “Is there a window in here?”

“Not that you could climb out of.”

“I just want to see if I can see a way to climb down.”

“This isn’t a stunning display of bravery you’re putting on. Logically, you should be invulnerable.” She wasn’t being playful any more. Her tone was a little too close to her father’s when I had a knife to his throat, and I wondered if his eyes had been half as steely at the time.

“And if I’m not?”

“Then I’m sure daddy will be happy all the same. Besides, you couldn’t die falling from this room. It might hurt, but you’d be able to get away, even if you are alive.”

I couldn’t argue with that. I walked over to the wall by the door and put a hand on it, trying to focus on being dead.

“Hey, boy,” Mary said from behind me. I turned. She said, “What’s your name?”

“I... I’m not supposed to say. The Non-Agency said it’s a bad idea.”

“They won’t know.”

“They might, actually. They have some very clever tricks.” There was another bump from downstairs, followed by what might have been footsteps approaching.

“Oh,” she looked down, then back at me, “You will come back and see me again, right?”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to. It depends on the Non-Agency.”

She frowned, then stood, leaving her quilt on the chair. She was wearing a lacy slip which might have been real silk. She filled it well, but with a few extra curves here and there which told me how she spent her life of luxury. Still, I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

The sounds from below were definitely footsteps. Mary walked up to me where I stood by the wall. I started to lean forward towards her. She planted a hand in the middle of my chest and looked me in the eyes with another playful smirk, then shoved.

I was surprised – and disappointed – enough to forget about the wall. The ground outside was a different matter.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

And now for the hard part...

Let's start with the big news, shall we?

Now available at Smashwords. (Kindle store version coming soon)

That's the easy part. The hard part is getting people to buy and read the book, and that starts now (okay, technically it started about fourteen hours ago, but I did need to sleep...).

First things first: price. After all my talk about pricing, I settled on $1.99 (currently about £1.23). There are a few aspects to that decision, the biggest of which is that, quite frankly, right now I need whatever money I can lay hands on. My budget for the next two months is very tight, and any help I can give it is a good thing. On the other hand, I recently blogged in defence of the free-content webcomic business model, so I didn't want to bump my price up too high. I didn't feel comfortable with the $2.99 Amazon-enforced price point, either, partly because it feels like bending to Amazon's whim, but mainly because at 63,000 (ish) words, 'Heaven Can Wait' is rather shorter than the average $2.99 ebook.

So $1.99 it is. The best compromise between free-content principles and 'I need to eat!'

My marketing strategy is deliberately non-strategic. I haven't tried to organise any massive launch promotion (or even a simultaneous Smashwords and Kindle Store launch) because I think - even given my financial situation - there are more valuable things than a big initial burst of sales, and foremost among them is approachability. I don't want to appear to a reader as a slick marketing machine - that's not a role I'm going to play well. I want to appear as I am; a guy who's written a book he'd like you to read. I want to seem human, like I'm someone you could have a conversation with.

Why? Because I'm trying to build a relationship. I plan on writing two or more books a year for the remainder of my natural life-span, and that's a minimum of about ninety books. I'd very much like it if every reader who buys Heaven Can Wait goes on to buy all those other books as well (or at least many of them). That kind of conversion is possible with slick marketing, but I think it will be more rewarding if I can do it by reaching out to people, and responding when they reach out to me.

I'm going to do a more detailed blog post next week sometime about branding, advertising, marketing and connecting with people, so I won't say too much on the topic now, but it boils down to this; you can be, or look, too slick. Professionalism is a good thing to cultivate, but self-promotion is annoying. I've never done formal very well - I wear a certain amount of scruffiness in my soul, and with pride - and ultimately I don't want to use marketing tricks to artificially boost my performance.

That said, I'm not going to sit around and do nothing. I plan on creating as much social media content - engaging, fun content, but still content - as I can, on every network I can stomach. Today, for example, I'm going to do a big Goodreads blitz (I'm here, but I you may feel like waiting until I've actually produced some content). I've put together an author page on Facebook here - and super-massive thanks to all who helped me reach the 25-like threshhold in barely more than 30 hours (also, I apologise for my torrent of spam and begging to reach that goal - I hadn't realised it took most people much longer and I left it later to start than I should have >.>).

I'm also accepting any reasonable ideas, offers and exchange requests you might have for promotion. Would you like to interview me? A guest post exchange? Some wacky thing I've not thought of? Let me know!

I'd also like to know what, besides the obvious (good cover image and blurb - and I'm still accepting feedback on both of those), you look for when deciding whether to buy a book? Reviews? Reader quotes? Sales figures?

Right, now all that's out of the way, I've been holding this in all blog, and I need to get it out: EEEHEEHEEHEEHEE I'M PUBLISHED WAHOOOOOO!

Ahem. Okay, we're done here ;)