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III. Goodreads Readers > Question for Reviewers regarding Author Feedback

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message 1: by Tammy (last edited Mar 06, 2016 04:11PM) (new)

Tammy Bailey (tammylbailey) | 13 comments Hello,

I'm a debut author and have received two excellent reviews from Reading Alley for my book, Lord Bachelor, in the last few days. My question is, as a reviewer, do you prefer not to receive a response from the author? I always feel compelled to thank a reviewer for their time, but I've also read to never respond whether you receive a positive or negative review. I'd just like to get a consensus on what reviewers prefer.

Thanks,

Tammy L. Bailey


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1038 comments Tammy wrote: "Hello,

I'm a debut author and have received two excellent reviews from Reading Alley for my book, Lord Bachelor, in the last few days. My question is, as a reviewer, do you prefer not to receive ..."


Tammy,

Very few readers ever post a consumer review. Those that do routinely post reviews do so to share their subjective, personal opinion of a book with other readers, not as a personal message to the author.

Most literary websites and periodicals recommend that authors not contact a reviewer.


message 3: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Bailey (tammylbailey) | 13 comments Hi Jim,

Thanks for your response.


message 4: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Hi Tammy. Congrats on the great reviews. I know some recommend you don't get in touch but as a reviewer, I have to say when an author has gotten in touch with me re: my review, it's always been a positive experience (even if my review wasn't).


message 5: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Lovil (jd_lovil) | 47 comments It is always nice to get positive feedback from the Author, but it may be one of those days that Amazon decides that it signifies a "prior relationship' between Author and Reviewer, so be careful how much contact you decide to make.


message 6: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Bailey (tammylbailey) | 13 comments Thanks, Sandy.

There seems to be a fine line between being grateful and intrusive. That's good that your experience has been positive, though.


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) | 324 comments I do reviews to share my opinion of a book with other readers. I do NOT appreciate an author contacting me. I didn't write the review for the author, and I've had the misfortune of running into authors who, because they didn't like a review, turned to threats and stalking. I not only do not respond to author contact, I report it. I'm sure you heard this advice numerous times - I would suggest you follow it. You can always "like" a review, but contacting a reviewer is unprofessional and rarely appreciated.


message 8: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Bailey (tammylbailey) | 13 comments Christine wrote: "I do reviews to share my opinion of a book with other readers. I do NOT appreciate an author contacting me. I didn't write the review for the author, and I've had the misfortune of running into aut..."

Thanks Christine for sharing your experience. I've read horrible stories about authors engaging with reviewers.


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan I dont mind when an author thanks me for a review. It lets me know they appreciate my time.


message 10: by Alexandra (last edited Mar 06, 2016 06:21PM) (new)

Alexandra | 340 comments Tammy wrote: "Hello,

I'm a debut author and have received two excellent reviews from Reading Alley for my book, Lord Bachelor, in the last few days. My question is, as a reviewer, do you prefer not to receive ..."


As a reader I'll mention that really this is a very new phenomenon, with the explosion of idie authors coupled with easy access to respond to consumer reviews.

Consumer reviews aren't posted for the author. They're not written for the author. The author is not the intended audience.

Not too long ago it would have really been completely unheard of, and until fairly recently it never hit my radar that an author might actually read a review I posted - and frankly it's in the best interest of my fellow book consumers if I don't take that into consideration, as it can hinder sharing honest opinion for some. My personal preference - I'd rather the author not read my review (and with the books I tend to read that's likely the case 99% of the time).

But personally I don't mind it really IF I've posted a positive review, and in particular if it's an author I've had some interaction with on GR.

If it's a tepid review, or negative, no matter how nice an author is in response it can be uncomfortable.

And I've seen many, many GRers here say they don't like it.

So probably best to err on the side of caution and not comment, unless perhaps it's a GRer you have interacted with and they've posted a positive review. But really even then, even a simple "thank you" can look like perhaps, just maybe, there was something nefarious going on - like sometimes occurs - and may make readers of the review wonder if it's truly unbiased. Just a thought.

And I'd suggest making sure that particular reader doesn't mind an author replying - otherwise doing so might just turn off a reader who enjoyed your book but doesn't like authors to comment on their reviews of their books.

If you feel compelled, perhaps post a general blog post thanking your readers who've taken the time to post reviews - something general to show them they're appreciated.


message 11: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 70 comments I once had an author comment on my review of her book. We connected and have been in touch ever since. If you feel a particular reviewer really "gets" you, there's nothing wrong with a short note of appreciation, IMO. We write reviews and never know if anyone ever reads them, except for an occasional thumbs up, so it's good to get validation once in a while.


message 12: by Zippergirl (new)

Zippergirl When I've seen that an author responds with a "thank you for your time" to each review on Amazon I get the impression that they are desperate and lurking. Not the image a writer wants to promote.


message 13: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer | 321 comments As a reader, I wouldn't mind an author contacting me about my review. Good or bad, if they want to thank me or bitch at me, it's fine.

As an author, I "like" all my reviews, good or bad. I figure, my like is a little "thank you" for taking the time. I know reviews are written for readers, but I also know, as an unknown author, that each review is a good thing for me. I can't help "liking" good things.


message 14: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Bailey (tammylbailey) | 13 comments Thanks for all the feedback. This was very insightful.


message 15: by Grace (new)

Grace Crandall | 108 comments I 'like' the reviews for my book (or, on Amazon, click the 'find helpful' button on the best ones). I think that's a nice way to thank the reviewer without bursting into their personal life shouting, "YOU READ MY BOOK I LOVE YOU!!!" (As it is extremely tempting to do) since it boosts their status as a reviewer and yours as an author, without any room for offense :)


message 16: by Mary (new)

Mary Buras-Conway (maryeconway) | 176 comments Grace wrote: "I 'like' the reviews for my book (or, on Amazon, click the 'find helpful' button on the best ones). I think that's a nice way to thank the reviewer without bursting into their personal life shoutin..."

Loved your comment "You read my book I love you!!" It took everything in me not to gush when there is a comment or rating on mine.


message 17: by Stjepan (new)

Stjepan Cobets | 53 comments Denise wrote: "As a reader, I wouldn't mind an author contacting me about my review. Good or bad, if they want to thank me or bitch at me, it's fine.

As an author, I "like" all my reviews, good or bad. I figure..."


I agree completely with you Denis.


Karen *constant listener* yes a blind book listener, just love accessibility functions (foreverandrew) I do reviews just because the book deserves it, I also do BETA and ARC reviews, I am 100% honest, if I don't like your book I tell just you and why it didn't suit me, if it's good I review that part and send other feedback to the author....if I flove IT I like to shout from the rooftops! Sometimes they are essays and other times it takes just a few words! I believe honesty is the best policy! Oh and you can contact me no probs!


message 19: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Bailey (tammylbailey) | 13 comments Karen *constant reader* wrote: "I do reviews just because the book deserves it, I also do BETA and ARC reviews, I am 100% honest, if I don't like your book I tell just you and why it didn't suit me, if it's good I review that par..."

Thanks Karen,

I recently received a review that authors DREAM of receiving. I know there will be someone who will write the opposite review. What one person loved about a book will be what another person loathes. We hope for the first and brace for the second.


message 20: by James (last edited Mar 13, 2016 09:52AM) (new)

James (jameshalat) | 88 comments Tammy wrote: "Hello, My question is, as a reviewer, do you prefer not to receive ..."

Interesting thread. As an author, I make a point of thanking reviewers for taking the time to post what I consider to be thoughtful reviews. I don't comment on the actual content of reviews, good or bad. I sometimes offer a free book for an honest review to someone who gets something positive from another one of my books. They don't have to respond to my offer, but nothing wrong with offering. I see no point in asking reviewers who don't like my writing to read another book.

This approach has worked well for me. To those who say that reviews are only for readers, I can only say that a few of my readers have indicated they want to encourage me so I write more of what they like to read, in addition to wanting to share with other readers. There are no sweeping rules. Readers are not lemmings that follow one another off a cliff. They are, of course, individuals, each with his or her own motives and intentions.


message 21: by Doug (new)

Doug Oudin | 168 comments I do appreciate reviews, and so I comment with a thank you on the review, but do not attempt to contact the reviewer directly.
I do follow the advice of so many and did not comment on the lone poor review.


message 22: by Christine (last edited Mar 13, 2016 01:09PM) (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) | 324 comments James wrote: "...As an author, I make a point of thanking reviewers for taking the time to post what I consider to be thoughtful reviews...I see no point in asking reviewers who don't like my writing to read another book...Readers are not lemmings that follow one another off a cliff. They are, of course, individuals, each with his or her own motives and intentions. "

Obviously you are a new author and have decided to make your reviews an important part of your promotion. For you, reviews are nothing more than a tool. You thank and reward readers for "thoughtful" (we all know that means good) reviews.

I notice you never reward the "bad" reviews or talk about "honest" reviews. I review every book I read and do so for the benefit of other readers, not to be part of some promotional machine, designed to promote book sales.

As an author, I hit the "like" button on every review regardless of whether the reader liked my work or not. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to read and review honestly. I would never contact a reviewer, and I would never want an author to contact me for any reason - I never write the review for the author. I have been contacted by other readers who appreciated my reviews - but I did write the reviews for them.

Your profile lists 4 reviews and 3 are for your own books. I don't think you can speak from a reader/reviewer's point of view.

Readers love to read. The small percentage of readers who take the time to write reviews do so to share their opinion of a book with other readers. Any other motives or intentions can only be self-serving, and therefore in opposition to the concept of "honest" reviews. It's not about being blind followers. It's about being honest - giving an opinion with no strings attached.

You give your readers a reason to write a dishonest, or at the very minimum, biased review - the chance to receive your other books free for writing a good review.


message 23: by Sandy (last edited Mar 13, 2016 12:54PM) (new)

Sandy Hi Christine. I'll leave the bulk of your comment for James but as a reviewer, I have to take issue with the idea any book I receive from an author automatically garners a biased review at minimum.
I make it very clear to the author my review will be an honest, unbiased opinion designed to inform other readers. My responsibility is to them, not the author. Please don't sell us short!


message 24: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) | 324 comments Sandy wrote: "Hi Christine. I'll leave the bulk of your comment for James but as a reviewer, I have to take issue with the idea any book I receive from an author automatically garners a biased review at minimum...."

My apologies - I have reworded the comment - I never meant to imply that an author offering a free book for review automatically results in a biased review. I'm in full agreement that reviews need to be honest and for readers. Receiving a free book in exchange for an honest review is a common practice among reviewers and certainly does not imply any coercion.

In this case this author has reversed the practice. He gives free copies of his other books for publishing a good review of one of his books - that was my issue. I have trouble not feeling this will bias the reviewer because a good review = free books.

I hope that explains my issue better.


message 25: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Gotcha! Thanks, Christine.


message 26: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) Karen *constant reader* wrote: "I do reviews just because the book deserves it, I also do BETA and ARC reviews, I am 100% honest, if I don't like your book I tell just you and why it didn't suit me, if it's good I review that par..."

Karen, you would know. Do you have a strong opinion on 'read by author' versus 'read by professional'? Are you happy when the author reads their book to you?

I know it will depend on the author, and a lot of details, but I'm curious what you think.


message 27: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Kennedy | 65 comments What an interesting topic with such varied opinions and ideas! I would like to thank Tammy for opening this discussion.

I never knew that such a small number of readers actually wrote reviews until I (self) published my book. I don't have many reviews but they are all good. I haven't done a thing. I haven't "liked" them or responded at all. After reading this thread, it makes me wonder if that could potentially be offensive to a reviewer? I wonder if they expect to be thanked ("liked") for a favorable review? It's a catch-22, for sure.

I can't help but to feel that the review section is none of the author's business as far as participation. Maybe I'm wrong.


message 28: by Mary (new)

Mary Buras-Conway (maryeconway) | 176 comments James wrote: "Christine wrote: "James wrote: "...As an author, I make a point of thanking reviewers for taking the time to post what I consider to be thoughtful reviews...I see no point in asking reviewers who d..."

Dear James. I have not been involved in this discussion, but I had to step in and say this. I am sorry you were put on the defensive. I believe we-all of us-have the right to conduct our business as we see fit.
And for full disclosure, I asked for anyone who was interested in doing reviews for my book. When I was contacted I said that I had some paperbacks left over from a promotion that I did and if that would be an acceptable medium. This was done for no other reason than it saved me time and money. I do not believe that I am buying a prejudicial review.
So do what and how you need to do things James. I didn't feel you were wrong. No one has the right to tell someone else how they personally feel about their own writing.


message 29: by James (last edited Mar 13, 2016 06:59PM) (new)

James (jameshalat) | 88 comments Mary wrote: "James wrote: "Christine wrote: "James wrote: "...As an author, I make a point of thanking reviewers for taking the time to post what I consider to be thoughtful reviews...I see no point in asking r..."

Mary, thank you for the kind words. I agree with what you say. With my post, I was simply trying to give the benefit of my experience to the original poster, Tammy, to help her with her question. I was going to post a long reply to Christine's post, but I changed my mind. She has her opinions. They are very far from my own experiences, and that is all that I need to say. Thanks again.


message 30: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) James wrote: "She has her opinions...."

Opinions honestly held and civilly expressed is how I expected conversations would go on Goodreads. I don't think many of us are going to make converts out of people with different opinions; if I read something I wouldn't do, I usually just pass it by and don't comment.

The only thing I do mention is that review-for-review requests are against the terms of service because impartiality is impossible to maintain, and even the appearance of bias is bad for books, authors, reviews, business...

Some people won't read a book with a prologue. Others love them. I think it depends on the prologue, the book, what it is trying to achieve, and a whole host of things that mean I can't make a blanket statement. I like mine - it is 145 words. But I was surprised, when I was serializing it, how many people commented on that, and that about 50% of the readers on Wattpad and my blog were against - and the other half for. So I pleased myself.

Other than that - do what you want, think a bit ahead of time about the possible consequences, and realize you'll probably make mistakes but the world won't end. And whatever you do, do it well.

Sending out review copies is the standard - if you don't control the review (don't worry, Mary). Other reviews come from people who buy your book for some reason - and like it enough to leave a review (or hate it and leave a different kind of review).

Amazon prefers to have reviews labeled with the line, "I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion," if that was the case. If a person BUYS the book, they don't need that line.

That - and the content and tone of the review - should be enough for readers to decide whether they believe the review. Readers are very, very smart - and have excellent bs radar detectors.


message 31: by Zippergirl (new)

Zippergirl I know when I write a review that I am writing for both potential readers and those who have already the book, and are interested in other reactions and opinions. I am also aware that the author or cover designer or translator might read my review. Keeping all this in mind reminds me to be honest and kind. Though I'm grateful for free books, I never feel that I owe more than a small return in terms of the time it takes to formulate and post a review.

I haven't run into a book I've thoroughly disliked, for which I owe a review. As much as I would hate to leave a 1☆ review, it is only fair to other readers to offer a caveat emptor when necessary.


message 32: by James (new)

James (jameshalat) | 88 comments Alicia wrote: "James wrote: "She has her opinions...."

Opinions honestly held and civilly expressed is how I expected conversations would go on Goodreads. I don't think many of us are going to make converts out ..."


I agree with every one of your points, Alicia. I take my writing very seriously and my interest in reviews as an author is mainly in seeing how my words come off the page for readers. I have no interest in fluff reviews or churning reviews. In the end, I don't think they do authors or readers any good. Not that I don't see reviews as a promotional tool. I do. But only part of the equation. And I think reviews need to be honest and thoughtful to be effective for promotion.


message 33: by James (new)

James (jameshalat) | 88 comments DJ Zippergirl wrote: "I know when I write a review that I am writing for both potential readers and those who have already the book, and are interested in other reactions and opinions. I am also aware that the author or..."

I think you take a great approach toward reviews.


message 34: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) James wrote: "I take my writing very seriously and my interest in reviews as an author is mainly in seeing how my words come off the page for readers...."

Exactly. Reviews are for readers by readers, but we all know it's disingenuous to expect the authors not to read them if they want to.

It's just startling to many reviewers to have the mysterious entity known as 'the author' suddenly start talking back to them. So it's best to just peek at what's written, unless you know the person and send off a little personal private email that says ONLY 'thanks for the review.' So far that has happened a few times - PC is a new book, and many of my initial readers know me from somewhere.

As more readers you don't know read your books, some of them will leave a review, and you will have 'organic' growth. This is what we all hope for, because our friends and family are predisposed to like or hate our work, depending on their relationship with us and possibly not having as much as we'd like to do with the merits of the book. Hard to separate.

I think most reviews should come from readers who are not writers too. Not that I know how to achieve that, and I treasure some of the words I've gotten from other writers, but writers look at writing differently and the people I'm writing for don't write.

Does that make sense?


message 35: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) Christine wrote: "He gives free copies of his other books for publishing a good review of one of his books..."

I would call that paying for good reviews. Since paying for reviews is not allowed under the Amazon and GR terms of service, it should be reported.


message 36: by James (last edited Mar 13, 2016 10:43PM) (new)

James (jameshalat) | 88 comments Alicia wrote: "Christine wrote: "He gives free copies of his other books for publishing a good review of one of his books..."

I would call that paying for good reviews. Since paying for reviews is not allowed under the Amazon and GR terms of service, it should be reported. "


Alicia, Christine is talking about me. But here is what I wrote:
(Message 21 in this thread)
-------------------
As an author, I make a point of thanking reviewers for taking the time to post what I consider to be thoughtful reviews. I don't comment on the actual content of reviews, good or bad. I sometimes offer a free book for an honest review to someone who gets something positive from another one of my books. They don't have to respond to my offer, but nothing wrong with offering. I see no point in asking reviewers who don't like my writing to read another book. (emphasis added)
-------------------

In no way do I give free copies of my books to anyone as a reward for publishing a good review of another one of my books. Christine also says: "I notice you never reward the "bad" reviews or talk about "honest" reviews." When I clearly state that the free book is in exchange for an honest review. And I don't reward anyone for anything. These are nothing but baseless and irresponsible accusations made by Christine.

--------------------------------
Actual disclaimers included in reviews of my books on Amazon:
***Note: I received a free copy of this e-book in exchange for a fair and honest review *** (3 Star Review)

EDIT: Oh, I guess I'm supposed to mention that Mr. Halat gave me this book as a gift, not knowing me from Adam. Not in exchange for a review, I don't think, but believe me, if I were any more honest I'd be levitating... (5 Star Review)

I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. Only an honest one. (5 Star and 3 Star Review)

--------------------------------

I am including Amazon's guidelines against PAID reviews here for completeness:

"Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.

The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact. Reviews from the Amazon Vine program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary. Read more about promotional content." (emphasis added)


message 37: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) James wrote: "Alicia wrote: "Christine wrote: "He gives free copies of his other books for publishing a good review of one of his books..."

What you say is not the same as what she says. Nuance is everything. I offer free copies of PC to anyone who asks and is considering writing a review.

Why do I phrase it like that? Because though many people know the system - get a free book, post an honest review - not everyone understands this, and the last thing you want to do is write someone you gave a free book to as a potential reviewer (with 'potential' being all you can ask for), and demanding/requesting your review.

Nuance matters - and however you ask for it after you send the book, you have no way to enforce the contract with the reviewer.

At those I shrug.

And realize that some of them haven't read it. Some haven't finished. Some didn't like it. Some are too nice to say so. Some tried to leave a review and the review site gave them trouble...

The offer stands: if someone wants to review my book, they may have an eARC. More than that I cannot do.

It was even hard to poke two people months after THEY wrote me and said, literally, "I loved your book - I'll post a review." And then didn't! Both, when reminded extremely gently months later, said, "Thanks for reminding me." One posted, the other hasn't.

Aargh! They will get NO more reminders, because that's nagging.

At least I know they enjoyed it - because I have their unsolicited emails.

Many writers I know offer a free book to their followers when it comes out - that's one way to keep followers happy AND get some quick reviews. Like you, they only request an honest review.


message 38: by James (last edited Mar 13, 2016 10:56PM) (new)

James (jameshalat) | 88 comments Alicia wrote: "James wrote: "Alicia wrote: "Christine wrote: "He gives free copies of his other books for publishing a good review of one of his books..."

What you say is not the same as what she says. Nuance is..."


Thanks for the comments. I only ask for reviews in exchange for a free book, never after.

(Please note that I edited the post (Message 37) you are responding to for clarity and additional information before I saw your reply.)


message 39: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer | 321 comments DJ Zippergirl wrote: "I know when I write a review that I am writing for both potential readers and those who have already the book, and are interested in other reactions and opinions. I am also aware that the author or cover designer or translator might read my review. Keeping all this in mind reminds me to be honest and kind. Though I'm grateful for free books, I never feel that I owe more than a small return in terms of the time it takes to formulate and post a review. "

Ditto. When I review, I keep in mind that those involved in the book might come across my review. I try to keep my reviews professional by pointing out examples or rewriting a part so others will have a better understanding.

Since reading is my way of learning the craft of writing, I review as a reader and writer. I delve into plot, character, repetition, rhythm, voice, etc. Example: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1469328564?book_show_action=false . Maybe it's a bit much for other readers, but this is my way of giving my opinion. As such, I appreciate good and bad reviews of my books that do the same.


message 40: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Sefton I have never asked for reviews from anyone - not even family. That probably explains why I have so few...


message 41: by Jan (new)

Jan Hurst-Nicholson (janhurst-nicholson) | 256 comments You can't go wrong by saying nothing :)


message 42: by Joselyn (new)

Joselyn  Moreno Burke (joselynraquel) | 27 comments For me being reader and reviewer, knowing the author it always a good thing, I have a lots of friends and acquaintances thanks to that and usually we help each other as much as we can.

so I think it depends on each person if you want to make contact or not.


message 43: by Groovy (last edited Mar 31, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments I took this advice from another thread of this same subject. Unless you're personable with the reviewer, and communicate through emails, say nothing. I made the mistake of thanking a reviewer, and I think he/she did not appreciate it, and I may have turned them off from reading anymore of my work--Sorry.

So, from now on, I will "like" their review, which I just found out is okay to do on this thread.

Let the reviewer establish the relationship between you. That's how I met the nice ones I can say "thank you" to; the ones that want to stay in contact with you don't mind you sending them a reply.

I wish you all the best, Tammy.


message 44: by A.R. (new)

A.R. Simmons (arsimmons) | 63 comments I've sent numerous review requests, and almost all the responses were courteous and constructive. The ones that were not—well, I just figured that they were what you run into in life. I've only thanked a reviewer for considering a book of mine. I have not (nor will I) argue with a negative review. If a book doesn't work for a reader, it just doesn't.
I agree with the idea expressed above. "Silence is golden."


message 45: by Noorilhuda (last edited Apr 08, 2016 05:37AM) (new)

Noorilhuda | 87 comments Always send a thank you note - but only if you requested the review. For readers generally picking your book of their own accord, if you mail them they may think you are stalking them - especially on GR! so curb the enthusiasm.


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