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Old 11-24-2008, 11:57 PM   #51
Cyia
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There's a second component to the "Beware" of this forum, and that's "Background check". If you're a new company then the BC portion becomes espeically important.

There are TONS of threads here for totally legit entities. I check this forum out to find out which agents people have gotten responses from and which ones they've been dodged by, or which ones turned out to be frauds. Established companies are discussed here as well as upstarts. The presence of a publisher or agency here isn't a denouncement, it's a topic.

When you publicly go on a writer's board that has the reputation of looking out for the writers' interests and advertise a new company, you have to expect scrutiny and questions. If you have answers YAY you.

So far you seem to have done what you can to answer with the information available to you - though (and I hope you don't take this the wrong way) maybe you shouldn't be the one putting feelers out if you don't have the pertinent information on the business side. Good intentions are a great start, but they dont equate to actual statistics.

The automatic gut check response to criticism isn't going to help your position, neither is skewing that crit. further than it went. I know this company is yours and you're protective, but you have to understand that no one is rooting for you to fail. You're going to have criticisms in this business (starting the second you send out the first rejection notice if not sooner) and dealing with simple questions isn't the hardest form you'll face.

No one's rooting for you to fail here (I think it needed repeating); quite the opposite. I hope your business takes off for you and anyone who signs with you, but it's best to get those bumps ironed out now.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:03 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
One point I should make clear is this: an author who publishes with SP retains the rights to their work - we don't own it, they do.
If you don't own any rights to a work, you have no right to publish it. What did you mean to say?
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:03 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
Yes, a background check is being made now
When would you have wanted us to make one?

Quote:
Going by the example of this thread, I'm sure that fair-minded people would agree that all the questions I've been posed could and would have been answered by me in the original thread on 'Writers Wanted', given the chance...which I wasn't.
All threads discussing new (and established) publishers either begin or end up in this forum. Why should your company be different?
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:06 AM   #54
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I certainly would not be concerned about a publisher or agent just because their name is listed in a thread here. Most of the time a thread is started with just a question: "have you guys heard about so and so..." for example.

I come here to research publishers & agents to see what experiences people have had with them, and many of the results are positive. People are going to read the thread to determine if a particular publisher/agent is a scam or if they are just not right for them.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:06 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aka eraser View Post
Steve, I explained to you in my reply to your PM that extended dialogues are frowned upon in that forum which is why I closed that thread and ported it over here.

You aren't helping your cause by constantly playing the victim card.
Well, I don't know what else I can do, Eraser - if I leave the thread, then the assumption will doubtless be 'Well, he was a scam artist after all...'; and I continue to defend myself & SP (when I feel we've been wronged), then apparently people think that I'm protesting too much & have something to hide. I cannot win whatever I do, it seems...

Anyone reading this thread can see that I've tried to answer all the questions that have been asked, even though some maintain that I haven't & am solely 'playing the victim card'. And seeing as there's been no evidence offered to prove that SP's personnel or myself are disreputable people, then it's obvious that I am going to cry 'foul' until someone actually listens and/or admits that there is no evidence at all.

SP should have been given the benefit of the doubt due to any company with no suspicious antecedents. It beggars belief that we should be treated this way and yet told to be quiet when I protest.

Check the thread, people: All questions that I could answer, I've done so; all justified faults laid at SP's door have been admitted; I would like some fairness in return.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:14 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
Well, I don't know what else I can do, Eraser - if I leave the thread, then the assumption will doubtless be 'Well, he was a scam artist after all...';
First you claim that the mention of PA means people will believe your company is a scam. Then you claim that a SP thread being in this forum means people will believe your company is a scam. Finally, if you leave this thread, people will believe your company is a scam.

Believe me when I say that you'd need to do a little more than this to achieve scam status.

Quote:
SP should have been given the benefit of the doubt due to any company with no suspicious antecedents.
And what does "benefit of the doubt" mean?

Does it mean that SP should not have a thread in the Bewares and Background Check forum?

Quote:
It beggars belief that we should be treated this way and yet told to be quiet when I protest.
You're being treated the same way a lot of startup POD publishers without distribution or prior experience in the industry are treated.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:26 AM   #57
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Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread, and most importantly, the mention of PA should never have been considered, given that most writers who come here know very well what such a comparison implies.

God knows, I'm not asking for special treatment for SP at all, and it amazes me that so few can see that this has been handled incorrectly. Would everyone prefer it if I just lost my temper, swore at all & sundry and got banned? I have participated in this thread for nigh on seven hours, been generally polite to all & endeavoured to answer questions. Yet apparently even this behaviour is wrong, in the view of some people.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:31 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread, and most importantly, the mention of PA should never have been considered, given that most writers who come here know very well what such a comparison implies.

God knows, I'm not asking for special treatment for SP at all, and it amazes me that so few can see that this has been handled incorrectly. Would everyone prefer it if I just lost my temper, swore at all & sundry and got banned? I have participated in this thread for nigh on seven hours, been generally polite to all & endeavoured to answer questions. Yet apparently even this behaviour is wrong, in the view of some people.

Actually from what I've seen my few days here, that WOULD be special treatment. Leaving the original thread (which admittedly I thought originated in this forum) open without making the company available for discussion would have been an implication that the site endorsed the company sight unseen.

They open new companies to discussion so that anyone with valid questions or information can post, and this is the correct forum for questions and information.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:36 AM   #59
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Well, in this case, benefit of the doubt means that the initial thread should not have been locked, should not have been moved when all questions could have been answered politely by me in the original thread
Why shouldn't it have been moved? As I said before, threads discussing new (and established) publishers either begin or end up in this forum. Why should your company be different?

Quote:
and most importantly, the mention of PA should never have been considered, given that most writers who come here know very well what such a comparison implies.
Would it imply that SP is a POD press with no advance and no distribution, which will expect authors to do the bulk of the marketing and sales and will give them two free copies of their books?

Quote:
Would everyone prefer it if I just lost my temper, swore at all & sundry and got banned?
I really hope that you don't get banned. I think it's very informative for writers to see how the representatives of publishers conduct themselves. Your posts on this thread have been most instructive and will help writers decide whether your company will treat them professionally.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:41 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
Actually from what I've seen my few days here, that WOULD be special treatment. Leaving the original thread (which admittedly I thought originated in this forum) open without making the company available for discussion would have been an implication that the site endorsed the company sight unseen.

They open new companies to discussion so that anyone with valid questions or information can post, and this is the correct forum for questions and information.
So the moderator's behaviour was correct, in your opinion? Don't misunderstand me, I've no wish to argue with you (or indeed, anyone else here) but I fail to see how the mod's behaviour was objective; is it the norm for unknown companies to have threads locked, and comparisons made with the infamous PA's methodology?

I appreciate that the publishing business is beset by rip-off merchants, but if the overall mindset here is 'judge first, weigh evidence later' then I'm obviously wasting my time speaking up for SP. Enjoy the thread, all, thank you to those who have supported me today. I'll be back to refute any evidence which claims to show any wrong-doing whatsoever...by that I mean, I won't be back, because there is no evidence.

Scrutinisation is one thing, and is completely fair. Justifiable criticism is also fair, even welcomed. But I've seen far too little of either today.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:48 AM   #61
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I've now written to Eraser to express my regret for what has happened today.
Throughout our exchanges he was polite and helpful, and I've no wish for this to seem like a 'forum war'.

I'm sorry that I had to disgree with many of you who took part in the thread, but obviously, I felt frustrated and rather bemused.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:48 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveS View Post
So the moderator's behaviour was correct, in your opinion? Don't misunderstand me, I've no wish to argue with you (or indeed, anyone else here) but I fail to see how the mod's behaviour was objective;
You continually fail to answer the question of why, when threads discussing publishers are kept in this forum, SP should receive different treatment.

If anyone's behavior is not objective, it's yours.

Quote:
I appreciate that the publishing business is beset by rip-off merchants
Oh, it's not just rip-off merchants, Steve. There are too many amateur publishers who mean well but who have no experience with the industry and no idea how to distribute or sell books.

Quote:
I'll be back to refute any evidence which claims to show any wrong-doing whatsoever...by that I mean, I won't be back, because there is no evidence.
There's quite a bit of evidence for gormlessness. But if you're leaving, best of luck with your company.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:50 AM   #63
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There's quite a bit of evidence for gormlessness.
I have to say, that comment made me laugh a great deal - thanks, because it's been a stressful day
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:53 AM   #64
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Your posts have made me laugh more than once today, Steve. Just returning the favor.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:53 AM   #65
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SteveS:
Authors automatically come here to the Background Check thread if they're seeking any info -- turnaround times, submission requirements, royalty rates, reputation, genre preferences -- on a particular publisher. Therefore, discussions of specific publishers get moved to this thread if they are started elsewhere. This is to make life easier for the authors for whom this board exists to serve.

Every publisher gets discussed here: yours, Tor, Random House, Alyson, Ellora's Cave, Mundania. It's not an indictment.

The experts who kindly donate their time here bring up the issues that newbies might not know to ask about. Every publisher gets vetted for the same aspects: what experience does the press's staff have in editing, etc? What kind of distribution (and thus sales) do they have in place? How long have they been in business? What is the quality of the books they publish? How open and honest are they about their business model and about what authors can realistically expect with them? What would the pros and cons be of an author going with this publisher?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions. No publisher is perfect. No publisher is right for every author.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:54 AM   #66
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Thank you for that clarification, Unimportant

And also, thanks to Eraser for providing a link from the locked thread to this one
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:00 AM   #67
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So the moderator's behaviour was correct, in your opinion? Don't misunderstand me, I've no wish to argue with you (or indeed, anyone else here) but I fail to see how the mod's behaviour was objective; is it the norm for unknown companies to have threads locked, and comparisons made with the infamous PA's methodology?



When the mod in question posts saying that the discussion you wanted isn't usually carried out in the forum in which you originally posted, then yes. It's correct. It sounds like he had to lock the thread so that it wouldn't turn into a discussion. B&BC is the forum for discussion
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:02 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
SteveS:
Authors automatically come here to the Background Check thread if they're seeking any info -- turnaround times, submission requirements, royalty rates, reputation, genre preferences -- on a particular publisher. Therefore, discussions of specific publishers get moved to this thread if they are started elsewhere. This is to make life easier for the authors for whom this board exists to serve.

Every publisher gets discussed here: yours, Tor, Random House, Alyson, Ellora's Cave, Mundania. It's not an indictment.

The experts who kindly donate their time here bring up the issues that newbies might not know to ask about. Every publisher gets vetted for the same aspects: what experience does the press's staff have in editing, etc? What kind of distribution (and thus sales) do they have in place? How long have they been in business? What is the quality of the books they publish? How open and honest are they about their business model and about what authors can realistically expect with them? What would the pros and cons be of an author going with this publisher?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions. No publisher is perfect. No publisher is right for every author.
I'd also like to add that the WAY the publisher reacts when asked these questions is very important as well. If the publisher huffs and puffs and begins to rant about the conspiracy of the big houses to keep the little guy down or about how WB is "obviously" out to get small presses or that daring to ask questions is something a writer just shouldn't do - that says a lot about that publisher and how they will deal with their authors.

For example; many small publishers duck around the distribution question by saying either here and/or on their website that they're "distributed by Ingram's and Baker & Taylor". Well, it takes only a few minutes HERE to find out that they're not technically distributors in the sense of helping get your book INTO the stores; they're just warehousers. But many author mills will attempt to point to this as a distraction from the fact that they will depend on the author to buy and resell copies and get righteously upset if they're questioned on this point in a public forum like this one where they can't just walk away. Or they can and delete all their posts or play the conspiracy game; how they respond says a LOT about the publisher.

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Old 11-25-2008, 02:05 AM   #69
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how they respond says a LOT about the publisher.
Damn, in that case, everyone now thinks that I'm nuts as well as naive
Hopefully they won't think I'm a criminal though
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:19 AM   #70
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Not nuts, just inexperienced - like you said - and eager to get your company off the ground. Think of the questions like weights keeping you from flying all the way up in the clouds.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:21 AM   #71
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Not nuts, just inexperienced - like you said - and eager to get your company off the ground. Think of the questions like weights keeping you from flying all the way up in the clouds.
Thanks

I think I need to learn to walk before I consider flying though
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:33 AM   #72
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Well, my partner has asked me to post the following, in order to (hopefully) clear a few things up. I welcome any questions & comments you may have, and I'll respond to them tomorrow. 'Night, all
--------------------------------------------

My honest opinion, is that most authors are rightly wary of the shark-infested waters of publishing. Luckily, on our home forum (MWC) everyone knows us, and hopefully understands the spirit in which our venture is intended. Just for everyone's benefit I will explain our intentions:

1. We want to get new writers published and distributed as widely as possible - although it is fair to say that we will fair better in the UK as we are British-based. Breaking into US bookstores will be a little more tricky (and perhaps impossible for us).

2. The group of us who are involved all participate voluntarily. Being a member of Salvatore is a bit like being a moderator on this site. We do it for love (including Steve and I).

3. Yes, we currently use Lulu but that is set to change early in 2009 and all our titles will be shifted direct to the printers (no middleman).

We have several companies interested in sponsoring us and I will hopefully have funding by the end of January. This will enable us to promote our books more widely and really get behind them.

4. Of course we want to make a profit, but our goal will always be to provide a free service to writers. We only get our money back if we sell the books. To this end, we take 50% of the gross profit (the money paid to us after the printers' fees and retailers' fees are taken out). But (and this is a big BUT) WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK. That means the author can dump us at anytime and take his/her manuscript elsewhere if he or she is not happy.

5. The website is in embryo at the moment and some of the narrative may be vague or confusing to some. We will clarify some of the points that have been raised at a future date. In the meantime, I can say that although we do have a contract written out it still needs to be sanctioned by our sponsor.

6. The real business launches at the back end of January. Until then we are spreading the word to gauge reaction and so there are no nasty surprises waiting for us when we do. I guess there are a lot of scared people out there - I'm one of them. No, I don't trust manyof these so-called writer's/publishers/editors or whatever. I have been burned too. This is why Steve and I launched this idea. We're equally tired of it, but equally determined to make a difference.

7. We are not a flashy company. We are a group of volunteers prepared to give our free time to help others (and of course, ourselves). Our aim is to build something of worth. Something that may one day be seen as a true help to other writers. What we do have is enthusiasm and determination. We also have contacts. Indeed my next-door neighbour runs a printing company - guess where we're going to get our offset-printing deal from should we need a couple of thousand books? In the meantime, we are right to stick with print on demand to keep costs down.

8. What's in it for us? Well first we want to have fun. Yes, fun! Why not? We can't promise to make anybody rich, but we can share the thrill of Joe Public buying and reading your work. It's happening right now. Ask Andrew Fairhurst, the sci-fi author, how many copies he has sold to complete strangers...Hopefully, one day we will have a strong business that can stand on its own two feet and reward both the writers and the people who give their time to make this work. That's the goal.

9. So Salvatore will sell the author a batch of books at a discounted rate... what does that mean? I don't want to delude anybody into thinking you won't have to 'work' to get the ball rolling and get your book noticed. We can only do so much but we will be asking our authors to give their wholehearted efforts if they want to go beyond being 'just another POD book'. I sold 80 copies of my own book last week but not one copy through the internet. I had to 'work' to get those sales. I think the phrase is 'shoe leather.' Both our authors and ourselves will have to get off our backsides and sell. If that scares you off, then Salvatore really isn't right for you.

10. So why should you choose us? Well, for the same reasons Steve and I set this up. We wanted to be given a chance. Neither of us expected a huge publishing house to hand us a million-dollar book contract. All we wanted was for someone to support our work, help us polish it, and promote it. We were never interested in becoming millionaires, but to see the effort we've expended come to fruition. We ended up going it alone simply because there was no one out there to lend us the support we wanted, not unless we coughed up large sums of money. Personally, I don't mind if people decide to give us a wide berth - if no one wants to use us, then it demonstrates that we are wrong and there is no need for a business like ours. No problem. But people close to me are telling me otherwise.

11. Finally, the short story anthologies. These are designed with one thing in mind. To allow you guys to get your short stories into print. I'm sorry that we cannot pay for your work at present, but we do this in the spirit of fun and so far as group of friends... yes, friends. Our anthologies are open to all. If you are new to writing and you need help to bring your work up to scratch then we will advise you if you work needs some alteration (note that I used the word advise. We are all still learning ourselves, of course. Some may call this 'vanity publishing.' Stick what label you like to it. It's fun and I believe it's worthwhile. Of course, not all our publications will go to charity but in the first day A Writer's Christmas raised 50.00 for a children's charity. Not bad eh?

Anyway, thank you for reading

Guy Cousins
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:04 AM   #73
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Steve wrote:
Quote:
But (and this is a big BUT) WE WILL NOT BE ASKING THE AUTHOR FOR THE RIGHTS TO THE BOOK.
The problem is, you CANNOT publish a writer's work without securing certain rights. What you might be trying to say is you will not retain copyright, which is altogether different than securing the rights to publish and distribute in North America.

I've been following this most of the day and, while I applaud your enthusiasm, your cluelessness is going to get you into hot water. "Publisher" is not an entry-level profession. Go forth and intern at a large house, hire on as an editor, something, before you try to start one of your own.

My .02,

Scott
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:19 AM   #74
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What Memnon624 Said.

If you don't know stuff -- what rights to ask for, what's a fair royalty rate to pay, how to format a book for printing, whatever -- please go learn it before you take on authors. If you don't yet have editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, layout designers, cover artists, distributors, etc in place -- please get them before you take on authors.

Publishing is a business. Authors expect their publishers to operate as a business. Successful small (and micro, and nano) presses succeed because they specialise and they are able to reach their specialised market, not because their owners have good intentions and a desire to have fun.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:32 AM   #75
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Hi everyone, I finally managed to find a way on to this site and help Steve answer questions. Thank you for all of your comments, at least we've moved on from being another Publish America to 'clueless'. It's a start. My biggest concern was that you guys might think we're a couple of con-men. If we've established we're just a couple of idiots, then that's progress in my view.
All joking aside, I really do appreciate the comments I've read here, and it has indeed given us food for thought.
Hi Memnon, I understand your point, and it is true to say that there are flaws in both our terminology and our approach. I can assure you, everything on this thread has been taken on board but we do have the luxury of another publisher helping us in our efforts. Indeed the original contract that we raised was written by said publisher. I appreciate your concerns and it is true to say we are writers first and foremost - not publishers. However, we do indeed have a business plan, finance, and expert guidance to help us.
I feel the main problem is we were too premature in shouting about this, and this has lead to questions that Steve could not answer. We won't be truly ready to launch for another 2 months. I think if you pay us a vist in three or four months time, you might be pleasantly surprised.... we might still be around!
At least we've got people talking I guess. What do they say about bad publicity?

Guy
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