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Groovy Lee
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Bulletin Board > 1 and 2 star ratings--How do you bounce back from that?

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message 1: by Groovy (last edited Jan 20, 2015 10:13PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Hello, everyone

I could really use some advice. You put everything you have into your stories. Your main goal as a writer is to entertain readers and hopefully not disappoint them; Especially those that entered a contest to win a copy of it once it's released. And when it's finally published, you wait anxiously for the responses.

You know everyone is not going to like it, but you hope it does well. My latest novel has just been released. And although I've received some good ratings, I also, as expected, received a few 2 and 1 star ratings. Which means I've disappointed some readers--Maybe a few of those that won a copy.

My question is: What have some of you done to build your confidence back up after you received a low rating? I mean I know there are those that aren't going to like everything you write. But when you see those 1 and 2 star ratings and your once 4 star rating is now down to 3, it really chips away at your confidence.

Also, did your book go on to do really well despite it? Thanks for any advice.


message 2: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) | 324 comments Groovy wrote: "Hello, everyone

I could really use some advice. You put everything you have into your stories. Your main goal as a writer is to entertain readers and hopefully not disappoint them; Especially thos..."


Why are you reading reviews? Why aren't you off writing somewhere? Reviews are for other readers and are supposed to help them select books. They are not for authors.

Reviews are not supposed to critique writers, or tell them what they are doing right or wrong - you have alpha and beta readers to do that. Reviews are not designed to boost your ego or insult you. They're a subjective opinion by a reader - nothing more. If they bother you - stop reading them.


message 3: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments Ratings and reviews have little bearing on me due to our difference here:

Groovy wrote: "Your main goal as a writer is to entertain readers and hopefully not disappoint them;..."

My main goals as a writer are to craft a story that entertains me and challenge myself to grow with every story. I'm not especially worried about whether readers are entertained or not. Why? I don't know who will read the stories and I can't pander to everyone that might possibly read it. Write for the love of writing, not in the hopes of becoming popular.


message 4: by Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ (last edited Jan 20, 2015 11:57PM) (new)

Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell (neniacampbell) Well, while writing I always tell myself my books are shit. I've always had low self-esteem, so loving my work has always been an issue. I love WRITING, but when I look at the finished product, all I can see is room for improvement, so I'm never happy with what I write.

Because of this, my first thought is: OH MY GOD EVERYONE IS GOING TO HATE MY BOOK. I watch the reviews come in through cracked fingers. When I get a one or two star review, I'm like, "Yeah, you're right. My book is shit. I'm sorry I foisted it upon you. I still like you, you wonderful, rational person." When I get anything higher than that, I'm like, "OH MY GOD YOU THOUGHT MY BOOK WASN'T SHIT?! YOU'RE DELUSIONAL BUT I LOVE YOU, YOU WONDERFUL DELUSIONAL PERSON."

/hyperbole

But yeah, I never expect anything when I publish my books. Once they're out there, in the big scary world, they're out of my jurisdiction. Some people are going to love it, some people are going to hate it, and the ratio always changes book to book. I don't really care, because mostly I'm just happy my books are being read and not mouldering away in cyberspace.


message 5: by Ken (last edited Jan 21, 2015 03:44AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Even though reviews are for readers, a writer can learn from them. If readers give you a low rating because they don't like your subject, your story, or a particular character, it's one thing; if the low rating is the result of bad spelling, grammar, typos, plot holes, or an awkward writing style, that's another. A writer should have already mastered the latter before publishing, but a writer can also learn how to improve his craft from the criticism, so it depends on what they criticize. And maybe you can use it to improve and do better next time.


message 6: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments If you write a romance or sci-fi and the reader wanted erotica or adventure odds are you'll get 1 or 2 stars,

No one writer is going to please every reader.


message 7: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 848 comments RFG I agree. A book won't please everyone who reads it and that is the same for Indie or trad published. Sometimes people simply don't like things, were expecting something else or even have an axe to grind.

Just shrug and move on. Don't reply, don't take the bait, if there is any.


message 8: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments A.L. wrote: "RFG I agree. A book won't please everyone who reads it and that is the same for Indie or trad published. Sometimes people simply don't like things, were expecting something else or even have an axe..."

I had someone 2 star a book because the cover is old-school sci-fi and though the blurb said sci-fi they probably thought it was erotica.

Compost happens.


message 9: by D.C. (new)

D.C. | 327 comments The other, very critical thing about bad reviews, is that they lend the good ones credibility. Go to Tripadvisor. Pull up a hotel. Odds are it's reviews are mixed. Read a bunch of them. After about ten reviews you will start to form an impression of the hotel, and you will know that they close the pool very early and one of the night managers is kind of cranky. One person will barely note it, and another will claim it ruined their vacation. If every single review claims the books is wonderful, readers won't get much of a sense.

Book reviews aren't that different. Unless every review is claiming that your book is the literary equivalent of an outdated fleabag, they are giving a well-rounded impression of your book.


message 10: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Groovy wrote: "Hello, everyone

I could really use some advice. You put everything you have into your stories. Your main goal as a writer is to entertain readers and hopefully not disappoint them; Especially thos..."


Reviews are just opinions. Not everyone is going to like everything ... not all books are for all readers, in other words. Ignore it.

Seriously, ignore it. Do not respond. Do not say diddly squat.

If you feel you must do *something,* find the GoodReads page for your favorite book, or for a book that you know is much loved (e.g., "To Kill a Mockingbird." Then, look to see how many 1- and 2-star reviews it has.

Then, be glad someone read your story. :-)


message 11: by Ross (new)

Ross Harrison (rossharrison) | 10 comments The problem is, people base their reviews and ratings on different things. While some people wouldn't dream of marking a book down based on a certain thing, others would happily do so.

I've complained often that I had someone remove a star from her rating of my book because she doesn't like fantasy elements in sci-fi (it's science-fantasy). Other reviewers wouldn't mark the book down based on a personal preference, rather than a failing of the book.

Even review bloggers have differing definitions for their ratings. Some will give a 3-star rating to a book they thought was 'good', while others will 3-star a book they thought was just bearable.

To be fair, I've been lucky enough that the 2-star ratings I've seen on mine are badly written nonsense, so no one will pay them any attention.


message 12: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 80 comments I'll confirm that, Shari. Thankfully I've been in and passed through the I rock/I suck stage. And like you, my lowest rated book is my biggest seller, with the exception that it's a thriller. My highest rated book is my lowest seller. All goes to show what difference ratings and reviews make when readers are selecting a book.


message 13: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Povey | 44 comments Additionally, unless you get a review saying your book is riddled with typos (even if it isn't), then the chances are the things the reviewer hated will be things other people liked. As a movie watcher, I used to read reviews by a certain critic. If he hated the movie, I went to see it...


message 14: by Tom (new)

Tom Fallwell Dwayne wrote: "Ratings and reviews have little bearing on me due to our difference here:

Groovy wrote: "Your main goal as a writer is to entertain readers and hopefully not disappoint them;..."

My main goals as..."


I agree with Dwayne. I write for myself. If someone else likes it, that is a bonus. If someone does not like it, well, I still do. :)


message 15: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) Low stars suck. But they add legitimacy to the higher ones.

The folks who rated the books low aren't your readers. They tried, it wasn't for them, move on.


message 16: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments Ken wrote: "...if the low rating is the result of bad spelling, grammar, typos, plot holes, or an awkward writing style, that's another. "

I partly agree. If I get a review that mentions mechanical problems in the story, I will check on it and fix it if they are right. Probably wouldn't worry about reviews that point out plot holes or a writing style they didn't care for, unless several people are saying the same thing.


message 17: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments Sharon wrote: "If you feel you must do *something,* find the GoodReads page for your favorite book, or for a book that you know is much loved (e.g., "To Kill a Mockingbird." Then, look to see how many 1- and 2-star reviews it has."

Good advice. I would add that sometimes people will even rate books by their favorite authors low because it didn't measure up, in their opinion, to that author's previous works. So, we may get a one or two star rating on this story, but maybe that same reader will find another story later that is more to their liking.


message 18: by Tom (new)

Tom Fallwell Dwayne wrote: "Sharon wrote: "If you feel you must do *something,* find the GoodReads page for your favorite book, or for a book that you know is much loved (e.g., "To Kill a Mockingbird." Then, look to see how m..."

That is very true. I remember reading the Chronicles of Amber, and I loved it. I was totally mesmerized by the entire series, except the last book. I would have rated that last book low, because it did not measure up to my expectations, which I had gathered from the other books in the series.

Does that mean it was a bad book. By no means. It meant I was disappointed, but others probably loved it. :)


message 19: by Pratik (new)

Pratik Deshpande | 31 comments one thing that i have noticed is that readability matters.

If the language is simple.. normal common people might hit it and find it "wow thats good"

If its highly literary language, then only the well read readers find it good, or below par.. others might even say.. "its didn't clicked me" etc.

So reviews generally depends on the demography of a particular area.

My well read friends find me good whereas as non readers find my work "wow"

So its always a perception that you create through your work.. And everything depends on how you create it.

Even a very good badly written (without typos, just narration not good) story might get good stars, because it entertained the reader. SO it all depends on how you as an author feels..

If You feel you van make a difference, then you surely will.. just giving your best is what matters.. even the best in the business have got negatives.. so just trust your instincts and write your heart out.. :)


message 20: by Brian (last edited Jan 21, 2015 08:25AM) (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) | 191 comments OP,

You have a lot of ratings that overall seem to indicate that the majority of your readers believe your books are basically average.

Writing fiction that entertains readers above the level of the average writer is difficult.

Really difficult.

If you want higher ratings, you probably need to work harder on improving your craft. Find a good critique group. Work with a good editor. Take a writing course. Whatever works for you.

Or you can accept that a decent number of your readers enjoy your work and move on.

Regardless of how good you get, you'll never be able to please everyone, but you can work to get better. That's what I plan on doing - keep trying to get better.


message 21: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments Tom wrote: "I remember reading the Chronicles of Amber, and I loved it. I was totally mesmerized by the entire series, except the last book. I would have rated that last book low, because it did not measure up to my expectations, which I had gathered from the other books in the series."

I had a similar experience with the Harry Potter series. I loved it more and more with each book, until the sixth. I still found it good, but not on par with the one before it. And then the seventh book. Yuck. It read like poorly done fan fiction and didn't feel part of the series.

Also, back in high school and for a few years after I was a huge Stephen King fan. Then I read "It". I know some people love it, but the ending was terrible and I have not been able to read Stephen King since. I still think "Misery" and "The Shining" are great, but I just don't want to waste time on another long novel that will disappoint me in the end.

So, yeah, even if someone gives one's work one or two stars doesn't necessarily mean they would hate everything you do.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Pratik wrote: "one thing that i have noticed is that readability matters.

If the language is simple.. normal common people might hit it and find it "wow thats good"

If its highly literary language, then only th..."


"Regardless of how good you get, you'll never be able to please everyone"
That is certainly true. I intend to follow the rest of your advice too.
I have read that if your book makes the reader laugh and cry, you've done a good job. I'm not sure about that, but I'm going to check out my latest writing. I can't imagine crying while reading anything by Bill Bryson.


message 23: by Victoria (last edited Jan 21, 2015 08:54AM) (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 2852 comments By all means take any comments about the bad points of your writing in to consideration if doing so will help you improve as a writer, but don't focuss too much on reviews and ratings as a rule.

As already mentioned, you'll never please everyone; even best sellers like The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series have had bad reviews.

So, just take what positive critisism the review contains (if any) and use it to help you improve as a writer, and make your nex book better. Then shrug it off and move on. Maybe give yourself a treat of some sort to cheer yourself up, if it will help you put the low rating out of your mind.


message 24: by Jim (last edited Jan 21, 2015 09:04AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1046 comments Readers who occasionally rate and review a book, and then post it on a literary website, wish to share their personal opinion with other readers. It is not a personal message to the author.

Since most readers are now aware that many reveiws are routinely solicited, swapped, and purchased by authors, their credibility and impact on actual sales is miniscule at best.

Focus instead upon the effective marketing tools emphasized in most books, classes, and seminars on the subject: Personal appearances at literary festivals, book clubs, public libraries, and book stores; a professionally designed website; granting interviews with established literary publications and blogs; uniquely designed push cards, business cards, and thank-you cards; and active participation in discussion threads of literary websites.

An author's time would be better spent striving to continuously improve his/her technical writing and narration skills rather than fretting over ratings and reviews.


message 25: by Ana (new)

Ana Antunes (anaantunes) That's great advice, Shari, that I would also like to be sharing along... no pun intended. Unfortunately not all readers will understand you, you just have to find your niche. And keep moving that pen.
That's all!


message 26: by Tom (new)

Tom Fallwell Shari wrote: "My .02? If your ratings are consistently low, take another look at your book and do some brainstorming. Many new authors publish before their books are ready, a mistake I readily admit to with my f..."

Can I get an amen? Amen! :)


message 27: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Zigler (toriz) | 2852 comments Shari wrote: "My .02? If your ratings are consistently low, take another look at your book and do some brainstorming. Many new authors publish before their books are ready, a mistake I readily admit to with my f..."

I completely agree about making sure not to publish before your book is completely ready; poor editing and too many typos have spoiled books for me in the past, and not just with self-published books either.

I just want to point out though, that it is possible to get a book written and edited properly in a short amount of time. Although, this is easier if you have a lot of writing time available. But, whether it takes a month or a decade to write a book, it shouldn't be rushed and published before it's ready.

A properly edited and well-written book won't guarantee no low ratings or bad reviews, but it will certainly increase your chances of getting better reviews and higher ratings.


message 28: by Groovy (last edited Jan 21, 2015 01:33PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer. You have given me such a plethora of wisdom to live by from here forward. And every last one of you gave me such good advice. It's so good when authors support one another on these forums. From now on:

I will not care about the ratings. Get to your next book.

I will continue to work on my craft to improve it. (I have a problem with my tenses I'm often told)

Don't write to entertain readers and become popular, but for me.

If readers like me, good. If not, I still love it.

I will continue to believe in myself. I love writing so much, I couldn't give up even if I tried. So keep writing. Even if I my level as an author is average.

Those that gave me low ratings aren't my readers. Your fan base is out there. It just takes time for them to find you.

Get through the I rock/I suck stage. Just be glad that your book was read and some did appreciate it.

Even the great authors got low ratings.

But I would like to add that some readers look at my covers and think erotica, when all they have to do is read the types of books I write and they wouldn't waste their time and give out 1 and 2 star reviews because they read the wrong type of romance. Also, David is right, I'm having the same experience. Even though my ratings are low on my latest release, it's selling very well on Amazon. It hasn't been out barely a week and I can pay a couple of bills :)

And from now on I'm not going to worry about disappointing readers. I tried, you didn't like it, so move on. There are those out there that do like me.

Did I get it?

Thanks to all of you wonderful authors. I hope all of your books soar and continue to soar. I honestly feel so much better and empowered as an author.


message 29: by Tom (new)

Tom Fallwell Groovy wrote: "Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer. You have given me such a plethora of wisdom to live by from here forward. And every last one of you gave me such good advice. It's so good when a..."

Sounds like a plan. :)


message 30: by Dwayne (new)

Dwayne Fry | 349 comments Groovy wrote: "Did I get it?"

You got it!

Groovy wrote: "I hope all of your books soar and continue to soar."

I hope yours do, too!


message 31: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 443 comments Groovy, I believe you've got it.

Have fun


message 32: by David (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 80 comments Great! Now you can enjoy it even more :~)


message 33: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Mae (jackiemae) | 17 comments Tom wrote: "Shari wrote: "My .02? If your ratings are consistently low, take another look at your book and do some brainstorming. Many new authors publish before their books are ready, a mistake I readily admi..."

We have all been there. With my first book I was in much too much of a hurry. Now I am much smarter. I have an editor, compiler, graphic artist, etc. I take my time now and my readers appreciate that. I'm sure you will get there. I'm still learning. We are each on the same path, just at different points.

There will always be someone that doesn't like your work. I'm okay with that and you should be too.


message 34: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 340 comments D.C. wrote: "The other, very critical thing about bad reviews, is that they lend the good ones credibility. Go to Tripadvisor. Pull up a hotel. Odds are it's reviews are mixed. Read a bunch of them. After about..."

You are so right D. C.! All glowing reviews, most especially on a relatively unknown author, looks questionable - or at least like the book hasn't gotten many readers yet to give it a good sampling.

There are many things that can lead to some mediocre or negative reviews. Some of them may be in your control, some aren't. But for those things that are not I don't think authors should take it too much to heart when they get some negative or mediocre reviews.

Because readers who read a lot know tastes differ! I promise we do know that!

And negative reviews aren't always as negative as it may appear.

If someone posts something like, "yuck, hated this!"
all that tells me is that person didn't like it. Unless it's a person whose tastes is known to me it doesn't tell me anything as far as if I might like it or not.

If a negative review goes into more depth explaining why they didn't like a book people may see their reasons for not liking it aren't things that would bother them, they may actually be things they LIKE.

And, IMO, new/indie authors get too invested in wanting a 4-5 star rating average. I know a high average has some marketing implications, however I don't know any book consumer who decides to buy a book because of an overall rating. Typically the rating isn't even the thing that first catches our interest to learn more about the book. And, again IMO, most books are not 5 star books, or maybe even 4 star books, and that is OK! On GR 3 stars means "I Liked It". This is average. Nothing at all wrong with an average story that engaged me enough to while away some time with it.

Look at some of the most popular books, and read some of their negative reviews, that might help you feel better :D


message 35: by Alexandra (last edited Jan 21, 2015 05:12PM) (new)

Alexandra | 340 comments Also, you mentioned some readers being disappointed because they had expected erotica. You hadn't really asked for advice here, so forgive me if I am overstepping. But I wanted to say a couple of things, in case it's helpful.

I am not a Romance reader, although in my younger years I did read my share of "wholesome romance" type books. So, I'm not really your target audience, and please take what I say with that in mind.

But I know there is a market for that! I have friends and family who like romance books, but don't want them to contain explicit sex, and many don't want unmarried sex portrayed or suggested. The problem here is knowing a book is "clean". Mild or more explicit sex scenes are very common these days.

I read the blurb for your latest book and I saw nothing there to suggest to me that it was a "wholesome" (for lack of a better word) romance. In this case I think you may be not attracting the readers who would appreciate this type of romance, and not advising those who would not in the blurb somehow.

I also, and again just my opinion, think the blurb is a bit too long, and would do better if shorted to one or two paragraphs.

Feel free to ignore this if not helpful :D


message 36: by Groovy (last edited Jan 22, 2015 08:28PM) (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments Auntie J wrote: "Also, you mentioned some readers being disappointed because they had expected erotica. You hadn't really asked for advice here, so forgive me if I am overstepping. But I wanted to say a couple of ..."

Thanks so much, everyone. I really appreciate this.

Auntie J., that's a good idea. I never thought to write "wholesome" on the blurb. I'm going to correct that on all of them :)


message 37: by Theresa (new)

Theresa (theresa99) | 466 comments Groovy wrote: "Thanks to all of you for taking the time to answer. You have given me such a plethora of wisdom to live by from here forward. And every last one of you gave me such good advice. It's so good when a..."

Hi Groovy. I think we all go through some self doubt when we have our first bad review. I have faced that myself recently. It is amazing how differently two readers can see the same thing. Everyone is unique. :)


message 38: by Pete (new)

Pete Morin | 38 comments If you’re going to leave me a bad review, do me a favor and make is as snarky as possible.

Let us rejoice in our diversity of tastes, I say!


message 39: by Janna (new)

Janna Morrow (JANNA_MORROW) | 52 comments I agree with the majority of thoughts posted. I write to the best of my ability and if the majority of readers are disappointed, I try to learn from the experience. You simply cannot please everyone in life. Each person is individual in desires, experiences, likes or dislikes. Don't throw in the towel! Keep writing. It is one way to get better. I was given praise for my work "Dreams May Come" but so far I am waiting on real reviews. I hope teens like it, but if they do not, I will try again.


message 40: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 155 comments If you're going to read reviews, I'd recommend two things.

1) Take everything with a grain of salt. As has been said, every reader is different and no matter what you write there is no way to please everyone. If the reviewer brings up a legitimate issue, take the criticism and learn from it.

2) Get a friend, beta reader, etc. that you can vent to about the bad reviews that get under your skin and provide no useful feedback. Or, that totally missed the point of your book and therefore gave it a negative review. Does it change things? Nope. But it will at least let you get it off your chest without confronting the reviewer (which is a really bad idea).


message 41: by David (new)

David Meredith | 105 comments I think the key is to realize that reviews are only meaningful in aggregate. Just look at Harry Potter and Hunger Games here on Goodreads. They have THOUSANDS of one star reviews, but they are also wildly popular (both averaging well over 4 stars). There's always someone who is going to hate something everyone else likes and it isn't necessarily an indictment of your writing prowess. Also it is useful to note that sometimes 1-star reviews are actually helpful. For example, in the case of my book The Reflections of Queen Snow White I got a one-star review on Amazon where the reviewer went on a rant about how "inappropriate" the sexual content of the book was. In the 24 hour period after it went up I actually had my biggest single sales day.


message 42: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1046 comments Reviews are merely opinions and are, therefore, subjective.

Actual sales are the only reliable and objective measurement of the commercial success of a book. If the quarterly sales report and accompanying royalty checks keep coming, that is all the validation of the general reading population's evaluation of the author's work that really counts.


message 43: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 340 comments Groovy wrote: "Auntie J wrote: "Also, you mentioned some readers being disappointed because they had expected erotica. You hadn't really asked for advice here, so forgive me if I am overstepping. But I wanted to..."

Most welcome!


message 44: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2165 comments Don't read into them too much or don't read into them at all really. There's no reason to get upset over them as not everyone will like your book. Best thing to is take it as you would a 4 or 5 and move on.


message 45: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 1 comments You guys:) I love all my author brothers and sisters.

You have honestly helped me to look at myself as an author, and the ratings system, in a whole different prospective. If it weren't for the priceless wisdom I've received here, I'd be sitting with my head low and wondering if I should dare to even call myself an author and disappoint readers with another book.( I know, pathetic) But not anymore!!!

I hope other authors whose confidence has been broken by these low reviews and need support, will read this thread and be put back on the right track from all the wisdom that's given here.

Someone here said that as long as you keep getting those royalty checks, that's enough validation. Amen!

I'm on my second suspense novel and can't wait for it to be published next year. Again, thank you.


message 46: by Theresa (new)

Theresa (theresa99) | 466 comments Groovy wrote: "You guys:) I love all my author brothers and sisters.

You have honestly helped me to look at myself as an author, and the ratings system, in a whole different prospective. If it weren't for the pr..."


You have put so much into perspective and learned so much. I am glad I found this thread and read so much good advice and watched others go through the same journey I am.


message 47: by Ernesto (new)

Ernesto Giacomo (esangiacomo) | 5 comments Hey Groovy! Also, remember that if a new author suddenly gets only 5 star reviews, it seems awfully suspicious. A set of mixed reviews might be more of a prompt for a reader see your work for themselves.

BTW I understand (check this out) http://wp.me/p47Pp4-bm


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