Cuddlebuggery Survey Results: Part 1

18 March, 2014 Announcement, Musing Musers 65 comments

opinonsLast week I asked for opinions on blog reading habits from bloggers and non-bloggers alike. I was curious on how the two groups viewed our blog, its content and the blogging community in general. In fact, I went a little further and had a section exclusively for non-blogger readers. I know some them may not comment a lot and that’s totally fine, but I really wanted to know their thoughts. (If you are interested in blogger statistic specifically, Ashley from Nose Graze did a survey a while back on that. You can check out part 1 and part 2 on her blog.) Some mentioned they were interested in seeing the results, so feel free to check out all the info compiled below. Again, I want to stress that this in no way was created to inflict any kind of change on other bloggers. Blog how you love, peeps!

When I started writing this post I initially wanted to have all the data together. Unfortunately, the post ended up being way too long. Part 1 is for our non-blogger readers and part 2 will be the results from the bloggers.  Also, thank you to all those who participated. I know I speak from myself, Kat and Meg when I say we truly love all of our readers and your opinion is important to us. We love writing for this blog and we want to keep creating content you love to read.

Important things to remember:

  • The total number of people who participated in the survey is 373
  • Not everyone answered every question with the exception of the first question
  • Everything was completely anonymous
  • I constituted a “non-blogger” as someone who didn’t own a book blog or didn’t identify as a blogger for whatever reason


The first and most important thing I wanted to know was what percentage of our blog readers were bloggers and non-bloggers.

It’s entirely possible that some of our non-blogger readers decided not to participate and this may not be a completely accurate view of our readers, but it’s a pretty good idea. In any case, thank you to the 167 readers that participated! We were especially excited to hear your thoughts.


This didn’t really surprise me at all. We had a good idea that almost half of our non-blogger readers didn’t reside in the US. It’s why when we do a giveaway, we try to make it international OR offer an international option. Even though Canada is technically considered international, I separated it from international because most giveaways are either US or US/CA. Shipping to Canada is usually only $7-$10 difference from shipping First Class within the US. Now, if I were shipping the same book to Kat–let’s say a 300 page print ARC–I might end up spending $20+ for that ONE book. Shipping to Australia is the most expensive place you can ship to from the US.


How do our features stack up for our readers?

Now this did surprise me. I have seen countless bloggers claim their reviews get the least amount of page views and comments, so I think I had it in my mind that they weren’t exactly the most popular thing content wise. For us this varies. Some reviews get more or less page views/comments than others, but we are happy to see reviews come out on top. But it’s clear that the top three features are reviews, Buzz and HNT.

I was also surprised that giveaways didn’t come out higher. But this tells me that out non-blogger readers are legitimately readers of our content and not simply here for free stuff. That’s so amazing.

Not everyone answered this question (maybe you guys don’t dislike much from us?), but something tells me you guys aren’t too crazy about cover reveals. We can see how these can get dull and boring. We’ve decided from here on out that we will be very selective in the future for cover reveals and instead feature them in Hot New Titles. But I did think cover reveals with a giveaway would be a little appealing. Do you guys not like giveaways attached to cover reveals?


Is there anything on CB you’d like to see more or less of? (non-blogger)

For this section, you guys had the opportunity to really tell us what’s on your mind. Here are the most common or the ones that stand out:

Books that aren’t out yet.

I do miss the muser posts, but now I understand why there’s less of them. 🙂 On the question of whether ARC reviews are are helpful to me or not, I would like to expand a little more. I love getting early buzz for books. However, sometimes I forget about books that I wanted to read when they actually get published. Yes, I do put some titles on my calender (like Cress!), put if I put all the books I wanted to read on my calendar, there’d hardly be space for the life things I have to do :P. I guess I don’t really have any suggestions…I love the blogging community very much even though I’m not in it!

Okay, this is a good point. In the past, we reviewed whatever whenever we wanted, but we’ve learned this isn’t exactly beneficial all the time. Going forward, we’ll be posting ARC reviews the week of that book’s release. If you do see a super early review of a book, it’s because another review is planned for release week.

Buzz Worthy News

I know Kat and I have been total flakes when it’s come to Buzz lately, but it’s finally back. It’s moved to Friday mornings and will be written by Kat and Kate. Kat and I also do the YA Roundup on for Monday mornings, which is like a combination of Buzz and HNT.

I miss the book battles between Steph and Kat. Those were a lot of fun.

Oh, I miss these too! The only problem is that Kat and I usually agree on too many things and we haven’t been reading much of the same things. But hopefully between myself, Meg and Kat, we can bring these back.

I’d like to see more reviews.

You got it. We’ve brought on a few more reviewers, which will also free up more time for us to read and review more. So, more, more, more reviews coming your way!

How about more books with LGBT subject matter? I don’t know how much control over your review list you have, but it would still be nice to have more diversity.

Yes! This is something we are working on now!

More of Mal/Darkling fan fiction and Dear Debby posts

Haha! Well, I think the Mal/Darkling fan fiction thing was a one time post, but maybe we can incorporate that into another feature when we brainstorm. As for Dear Debby, we’d love to, but it’s hard to pick characters that most people can identify. But character suggestions are welcome!

Less rafflecopter giveaways

Really? How would you prefer giveaways? If anyone else feels this way, let us know in the comments.

I’m probably the only person that checked “giveaways” up there, but it’s because I really dislike the rafflecopter setup. I know your hands are probably tied here, but seeing as I don’t use Facebook or Twitter (which makes me super weird, I know), I feel like I have next to no chance of winning anything. I get various ARCs from a good friend at my local indie, so I don’t exactly have a right to complain, but you guys give away such great stuff here! Sadface. Okay, rant over. I do love you guys.

(Maybe this is what the last reader meant?) Okay, I’ll take the fault here on this one since I’m primarily in charge of how CB’s giveaways run. I’ve been thinking on this and have noticed that the extra entries are mostly not being used the way I thought they’d be. Some people have separate twitter accounts just to tweet the giveaways so they don’t have to do this from their real accounts. This virtually defeats the purpose of that entry and is unfair to everyone else. So from now on, if we are sponsoring a giveaway monetarily, there will only be one entry for everyone. No extra entries for following on twitter or Facebook or email. I figure if people want to follow because they love our content, it won’t be a giveaway that makes that choice. Plus, we like the idea of our more dedicated followers winning the books.

I loath the blog tours. I don’t trust reviews associated with them & don’t get why anyone other than desperate authors think it might be a good idea to saturate an RSS feed with a giant commercial.

I hear you. Blog tours can be really boring. It’s why we’ve recently decided to rarely accept them, and only for authors we know can offer interesting content. As for reviews on blog tour, I think I’ve done this once? At least, Gated (4 stars) and The Bone Season (3.5 stars) are the only books I can remember doing that for, and I don’t think Kat has ever done this. Usually, for blog tours that ask for reviews have a rule of nothing lower than 4 stars during the tour. I say this for full disclosure. However, I have dropped out of quite a few tours because I didn’t end up loving the book enough to endorse a 4 star review (In fact, one of these books belonged to a blogger friend). I just want you guys to know that any book on we review for a blog tour is just as honest as if we have purchased it ourselves. That being said, we are limiting blog tours to books we feel are extra special.

Some of your random posts lately feel like a last-ditch effort to keep the blog running. They’re boring and the humor doesn’t feel sincere. (I do really still love you guys though!)

I like Musing Musers/random articles when they’re interesting and thought-provoking, such as when they discuss common themes in ya and so on. I don’t like them when they are completely random and just feel like you’re using them as a filler post for reviews. So more of the former and less of the latter, please.

You’re absolutely right. I love how you know our voices well enough to peg that! Thank you for being honest with us. The last-ditch posting was due to a combination of blogging burnout and feeling the pressure to have something up on the blog. But quality over quantity, right? We feel like we have this issue under control now. 🙂

I’ve only been following for a couple of months and haven’t really gotten an opinion on this topic. I quite like the more personal posts mixed in with the book news. The provide some insight about the reviewers/creators/personalities behind the other posts.

I kind of want to get to know you guys better. I think you guys are really funny and that should somehow be incorporated into its own thing. More gifs please.

Huh. This was unexpected. We are fairly uninteresting people, but we have thought about doing some type of feature on random Real Life us. What would you guys want to know?

I may be in the minority, but I never watch videos on blogs. They take too long, and I’d rather read my information. Well, ok, if you consider the John and Hank Green videos to be on a blog, then I have watched them before, but they are very short and extremely fast-paced and that works for me. I surprise myself by saying this, but I really like GIFs. Or illustrating images in general in reviews. I also like when you take moments to analyze the blogging community. How it orders itself, etiquette, bad behavior, good behavior. Oh, and I’m always interested in mentions of authors behaving badly. Very educational.

Honestly, I dislike vlogging for the blog. We tried it out hoping it would be something fun and interesting, but it’s a lot of work to come up with a concept, execute it over Google +, and then edit it. Plus, I feel personally I’m better at expressing myself in written form vs. talking. I’m actually a quiet person in real life unless I’ve been drinking (hey, there’s something personal for you!). I know Meg has no interest in being on camera, but Kat will likely still do some occasionally.

We’ve stopped mentioning author behavior on small scales. However, if it’s something that really rocked the community, it’ll probably be mentioned in Buzz.

More of your updates and reviews on Goodreads. More info about you guys, and how you came together (sorry if that’s already there) No challenge question to be your friend on Goodreads! ;p

We’ve been terrible about this! We’ll work on being more present on Goodreads. We’ve briefly mentioned how we came together and other random facts, but we could do a real post on that. It’s probably a good idea considering it’s the number one question people ask me when I go to bookish events.

Musing Musers

You won’t believe how many draft muser posts we have saved and yet never posted. O_O I’m not sure why we’ve not been posting them, but we have plans for more!

hahaha “Your blog is rubbish!” Honestly, if anyone picked that, why would they come here? I wish you guys would either (1) focus on books that are coming out soon, not more than 3 months out or (2) do a refresher review before the book gets released, like a week or so. Otherwise, frankly, I forget about the books. That’s why I mostly read stuff that’s long since been released, because I forget all the cool books that get reviewed. I love your funny posts and your snarky posts. I pretty much love all your off topic stuff. I wish you’d do more serious stuff, too, though. I liked those posts about how to protect yourself online and some of the other community stuff you’ve done. I thought a lot how cool a newish post would be. Like, if a controversial type story happens (the buzz story about the pitfalls of common core literature standards was one that really meant something to me), you guys could cover it in a separate story instead of just Buzz. Like an investigation and commentary, but more in depth than a simple Buzz paragraph. Those types of stories tend to generate a lot of hits, too. The posts with the most comments on Buzz were the ones that had a story that people like to discuss. Anyways, that’s all I’ve got.

Two. Two people selected that. LOL. Yup, we plan on doing refresher reviews if someone else review it early. As for the rest of your comment, yes. Yes to everything. I actually think Kat has written a few more serious posts on YA literature. So it’s definitely in the works.


General Questions About the Blogging Community

This one makes me happy! I know I have a habit of being long-winded with some of my reviews and I’ve always wondered if people were all tl;dr with them. Maybe some of you do, and that’s fine, but it looks like majority don’t care either way.

Hmm… I guess this goes back to liking reviews of ARCs, but preferring them close to release date.

Interesting! Now, I’m wondering if it’s the same for other blogger’s readers.

For this question, I gave people the option to choose “other” and enter their own answer. If the text looks cut off on your browser, hover your curser over the text to see the complete thought. But it looks like the majority follow by email. Dedication!

The reason why I added this question was because I’ve noticed giveaways that only feature swag aren’t very popular. I personally dislike swag mostly because I usually have no idea what to do with it. Looks like almost half of you may share this feeling. VALIDATION.

We were thinking about doing a little readalong feature with another blogger. Good to know that some would be interested in joining in.

Now this is pretty surprising. For some reason I thought memes mostly interested bloggers. We don’t really do memes, but I was curious about this.

True Facts: Before I had a blog, way before CB, I did not have a twitter. I just reviewed books on GR and followed maybe 3 blogs (and I use “follow” very loosely). In fact, I still don’t have my own personal twitter account. But anyway, I had this theory that some of our readers didn’t follow on twitter, but I’m surprised to see majority do. Twitter is where we do a lot of our conversational chit chat and we love talking to everyone, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. It’s a great place to really get to know readers.

This is one of the questions I was most eager to see results from. I’m glad that a good portion feels that as a community we generally try to be inclusive of everyone, but I supposed this would also depend on individual blogs and their readership. If a blog’s readership is mainly other bloggers, it makes sense to play to your strengths.

So this question may have confused a few people, but I was trying to find out how those who aren’t bloggers feel about their role, if they felt they had one at all, in our reading community. Based on the results, this varied greatly depending on how people utilize blogs. Some just are here for recommendations or just enjoy reading blogs or aren’t here for the community per say. Others might be interested in more?

When I think of the reading community in general, that includes bloggers, lurkers, GR reviewers, publishing peeps, librarians, etc. I know the blogging community can feel very niche, but I do think our readers play a part, even if indirectly. It’s easy to chat amongst other bloggers and we usually know what works for them in terms of content. But what about everyone else? I wanted to know how the blogging community was viewed by others so I asked this question:

Is there anything in the blogging community you’d like to see more or less of?

There are a few comments that I’d like to address directly because they were somewhat referencing our blog or I wan to highlight it in some way.

Guest reviewer of the month? (Some sort of competition, for non-bloggers only) It’s obvious you guys put a lot of time and dedication into your blogging/reviews, and I just wanted to say thank you!

This is a brilliant idea. Short answer: yes. Long answer: We are working on bringing this idea into thought. As soon as we saw your suggestion, we knew it was something we’d want to do. So yes, this will be a new feature! Thank YOU for the idea. I hope you’ll consider signing up for this!

Less complicated giveaways. I would love to enter, and I understand why they are so complicated, yet it does not make me want to enter. I know that’s odd, but yeah. If most giveaways were just something like “follow X author or tweet/facebook the giveaway to enter,” I’d be 100% game.

I’m really curious about this. Giveaways has come up a lot in this survey. If any other readers or if the original commenter can elaborate on this anonymously in the comments section, it would be much appreciated.

Not sure how relevant this is, but I would like to see a stronger connection between BookTube and book blogs. I would also like to see improved inclusion of international audiences—for instance in regards to giveaways (yes, I realise shipping costs play a big role); or in regards to Twitter Q&As, live chats, etc., as these are usually difficult to join for me due to time zone differences.

This is an interesting comment because I’ve chatted with another blogger about the strange division between bloggers and booktubers. I don’t chat with many booktubers except maybe one. I just think this might be because bloggers are a lot more chatty on social media and booktubers are more on Youtube? I have no idea. But it would be fun to do something cool, maybe a some type of feature, with booktubers. We’d totally be game for that.

Time zones are so tricky, but you’re right, we need to remember our international peeps more.

I really like discussion points where you lay out things happening in the book world that we might not know about. I really miss the BuzzWorthy news feature – so great. The Covers Reveals is kind of boring. But overall I love this blog and think you guys do a fantastic job!

Thank you! Buzz is back!

I like to see early reviews, but no more than a month or 2 in advance. Any more than that kind of takes the excitement out of it for me. I also really dislike book tours/blitz. I skip right over them. I think the Insurgent and “Who Is Marcus Finch?” blog tours definitely ruined blog tours for me. I mean, I didn’t like them before, but those sealed the deal for me. Very annoying.

I think almost everyone was tired of the Insurgent and Indigo Spell promotion, or as I like to call it SPAM. Even some of the bloggers who participated ended up regretting participating. So I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all learned a lot from those experiences. The last thing any blogger wants to do is tick off their readers.


you got it

Here’s more responses we received:

  • I would love to see more reviews of already published books. At times it feels as if you’re all having this merry little party with your shiny new ARCs whilst the rest of us are left out in the rain scrabbling over the little titbits you deem to throw our way.
  • I’m kind of ambivalent on memes. On the one hand I like that they give bloggers something to write about maybe if they don’t have a lot of content to fill their site. But most often the topics don’t interest me. Then again, when they do interest me it’s a fun conversation starter so I go back and forth 🙂 My favorite thing about blogs though are the unique features. I read most of my reviews on goodreads, and I follow bloggers there, so I can see all the reviews of people I know or whose opinion I’m curious about all in one shot. I first started following Cuddlebuggery because it was different – there were reviews but even then they were framed in a unique way with the book battles and that dear someone thing that totally mocked the characters. It’s all book stuff but with a fun twist that makes it more interesting to read. So, I’d definitely like to see more features on blogs. But I also know that’s probably the most difficult thing to come up with so I understand.
  • Bloggers seem cliquish and don’t tend to interact with non blog readers.
  • Drama & blog tours.
  • Reviews of ARCs closer to the release date, possible some more international giveaways and notes if a book is in fact avalible internationally.
  • Sometimes, to me, it feels like if you’re not a blogger, you’re not anyone. Like, why does your opinion about a book matter if you don’t have a website that a bazillion people follow? Now, I’ve never wanted to be a book blogger (except for the free reads, but those come with a responsibility, too) and I greatly appreciate all the hard work and effort my favorite bloggers put into their work, but sometimes it feels like they don’t care as much about commentary that comes from just plain readers (i.e. non-bloggers). I would just like to emphasize that one of the reasons I love cuddlebuggery SO MUCH is that you guys have NEVER made me feel that way. I always feel welcome here (and on other forums where you guys belong), but there are very few blogs that I can say that about. You guys are awesome and I truly hope that your blog stays around for a while.
  • Less of complaining about “authors behaving badly” – I don’t think anyone but bloggers care about that. Unless they are roasting kittens over a pile of burning bibles… then I might avoid reading work by that author.
  • I love articles exploring ya in general (such as on slut-shaming, or racism, or sexism, etc). I feel like I really learn from them, so the more the better.
  • There are often lots of “discussion” topics throughout the blogosphere on blogging habits – how they comment, how they interact to build followers etc, which can get boring when you see them endlessly and when you are not a blogger. If I am following a blog, it’s because I like what they write, so I think it would be lovely to see more personal posts. Also I am sick of Waiting on Wednesdays. (just a personal opinion! 🙂 )
  • The reviews of ARC’s are only helpful when they are very vague. Since the book hasn’t come out I’d rather see things like “This book is so great! You guys are really in for a surprise!” Instead of details that could potentially be spoilers. This keeps my interest and the mystery of a new book!
  • This is not specifically about Cuddlebuggery, one of my favorite blogs, but I would like to see more variety in bloggers reading interests. Too often everyone seems to cover the same few books all at the same time. Spread your wings girls, it’s a bigger world out there.
  • Less Twitter-links and FB-ditto (you are the ONLY blog I follow o FB and that’s not gonna change. I like your humour.). Maybe less “inner circle jokes”. I don’t keep track of book bloggers and I feel a bit lost when they’re referred to constantly (a little is okay, of course!). Those aren’t biggies though. The only thing that sometimes ticks me off a little is the ARC-hype. I cannot get these books. I will get excited and then realize I have to wait a year for it and that’s when I stick it in the HUGE TBR-pile and prompty forget about it. I think authors might actually LOSE readers from ARC-reviews rather than the opposite. Thank you for asking! Have a great weekend. 🙂


Conclusion of Part 1

This was really illuminating for us and we feel we have a great idea of what our readers who aren’t bloggers like. I want to remind bloggers that have read this survey that a lot of the responses were from readers who may or may not read a lot of different blogs. So these responses are in no way an entire representation of the non-bloggers in our community. If you’re curious about how others view your blog, non-bloggers and bloggers, why not consider asking them via your own survey tailored to your site?

As for us, we’ve learned a lot and plan of implementing a few things:

  • Simpler and fairer giveaways with one entry per entrant
  • Bring back Buzz Worthy News (done)
  • Decrease the amount of blog tours and cover reveals we do
  • Review ARCs the week of publication or post “refresher” reviews if the ARC is reviewed early
  • Interact more with you guys on Goodreads
  • Create a guest reviewer feature for our non-blogger readers for those who may be interested in being more interactive
  • Review more books and feature more books with diversity
  • Better discussion posts


Feel free to comment on anything anonymously in the comments. You don’t have to fill in the “name” or “email” boxes.

Check back tomorrow for part 2: the bloggers!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker, fangirl and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.

65 Responses to “Cuddlebuggery Survey Results: Part 1”

  1. Jaime

    Definitely eye-opening! Thank you for taking the time to first run the survey and second compile all the information. 😀 We in no way have as many followers as you guys do, but I hope to take and use some of this feedback when creating content for Fic Fare!

    Looking forward to the blogger information too!

    jaime @ Fic Fare

  2. Julie S.

    Woot, look at these great survey responses! I really enjoyed reading this. As a fellow blogger, I feel a lot of this feedback will apply across all blogs, not just CB, so it is really great to see reader input. Looking forward to part 2.
    Julie S. recently posted…Astral Tide reviewMy Profile

  3. Kelley (Oh, the Books!)

    Whoa whoa whoa, this is EXPANSIVE, and it’s only part 1! You ROCK for putting this together. The high percentage of folks liking Reviews the most also surprises me, for the same reasons it surprised you! But I have to say, that this goes to show how unique and entertaining the reviews are here on Cuddlebuggery — you guys do a fantastic job of keeping us engaged!

    I’m also pretty surprised by the number of people who either subscribe by email or just visit their favorite blogs every day. If I don’t have an RSS reader keeping me on track, I’m bound to miss out on a ton of stuff. I want to say I’m surprised by the number of people who say they like memes, but considering how many people participate in them, I suppose it makes sense!

    Now, the split on who the blogging community caters to is VERY interesting. Especially when you look at how closely those numbers line up with the next chart, about whether or not people feel as if they are part of the community.It’s so strange to me that so many of us feel like the community caters to everyone, yet the same amount of people feel like they’re on the OUTSIDE! This makes me sad, I have to say.

    I can’t WAIT to see part two of these results! (Also, what IS that magnificent plugin you’re using for your charts? You don’t understand how badly I NEED THIS.)
    Kelley (Oh, the Books!) recently posted…Dirty Little Secrets: Author EventsMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      I think we definitely have a spike in page views when we post discussion posts, but I think our reviews do pretty good in that department too. They don’t get a lot of comments sometimes, but readers are reading.

      I rarely use my RSS. I mainly rely on twitter for finding interesting posts or I check up on my favorite blogs regularly. I admire bloggers that have time to blog and comment on a bunch of blogs. I don’t know how they do it!

      I was VERY surprised at the memes one. I thought many who weren’t bloggers might find them uninteresting. Personally, I don’t read many meme posts except for some of the Top Ten Tuesday ones. Those usually produce really great posts that I enjoy reading.

      Yeah, that’s interesting, isn’t it? Most say they thought the community did or at least try to, but in the end they don’t feel like they are a part of the community. To be fair, some may not want to and are happy with just lurking and reading content.

      Okay, so this will give you an idea of how long it took me to format this post: I use Gravity forms for the actual survey. Then I exported each question to a csv file and uploaded it BACK to the blog into the WordPress Visualizer plugin. Gravity Forms is great, but they really don’t have an option to share the survey results. I only realized this after I set up the survey. Here, I had all these neat graphs on the backend, but no way to share it.

      • Kelley (Oh, the Books!)

        Yeah, I’m sure you have a point about many readers just wanting to lurk. I do that too, for a lot of blogs (even though I follow dozens on Feedly!). I love your dedication with the charts and graphs! I’m definitely the same way, and so of course now I’m going to look into this Visualizer plugin. Now that you’re done it this way and realized it could have been easier, do you have plans to change it next time? It’s really difficult to find a plugin/product that fits all of your needs, isn’t it? (I have this issue at my job; we’ve been looking for a few “solutions” for years now, and none of them are perfect, so we’re still stuck in the dark ages. :/)

        • Steph Sinclair

          It’s so hard to find a plugin that does ALL THE THINGS. One day I’ll know enough to create my own.

          Next time I might try to find a plugin that will do both the survey and results, but I don’t know if I’ll find one that has the awesome interactive graphs. I could have just screencapped the survey results, but I’m such a perfectionist. I’ll do extra work to have things Just Right.

          • Kelley (Oh, the Books!)

            Yeah, I’m like that too. 🙂 And at least if you’re able to export the survey results as a csv instead of having to enter all the data manually — that’s definitely better than nothing!

  4. Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    So much great information here, and I appreciate you guys taking the time to share all of it. I wish that I had been a book blog-reader before I became a blogger, but I started doing both simultaneously. As a result, I have no idea what non-blogger readers want in a blog, so this post is very helpful.

    I might have to rethink the way I do giveaways. I’d been considering that anyway, because I also want to reward “legitimate” readers, rather than people who just drive by for the giveaways. At the same time, as a small and new-ish blogger, it’s so tempting to have a variety of follow options for a giveaway, because it WORKS, at least on a superficial level. I’ve had a few regular readers tell me that they discovered my blog due to a giveaway, but I assume that’s a rarity. The tradeoff is the feeling that I feel like I’m pimping out my blog, so I’ve lately only been giving away the few physical ARCs that I receive.

    I’m sitting here thinking (in a somewhat serious way) that I should start burying notices of a giveaway in random posts, as a way to help steer them to regular readers.
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday # 45: My Spring TBRMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      That’s one of the reasons why we kept the twitter and subscriber options for giveaways. They really do work, especially in the beginning to help get your blog out there and noticed. I think if I were starting out all over again, I would still use those options to grow a blog. What I’ve also seen some bloggers do is twitter exclusive giveaways where they way to enter is to RT and follow.

      For us now, I don’t know how effective the tweeting option is anymore and I haven’t seen a significant spike in subscriptions for giveaways. I feel like we have a great group of readers here that would willingly share a giveaway and stick around for other content, so gaining more readers isn’t a huge focus for us anymore.

      I think your idea is great! I’ve done that before where I’ll review a book a few days after posting a giveaway and link back to it. Or sometimes I link to the giveaway/interview/guest post/cover reveal on my review of the book on GR too.

      • Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

        Ah, damn. Just typed up a reply, forgot to check the “I’m not a spammer,” and I lost everything. Short story: I implemented the changes for my latest giveaway, i.e. no follow or tweeting options, in an effort to target the giveaway to my regular posts.

        Thanks again for the post. (My original comment was spectacularly awesome.)

  5. Caro

    Great survey, you guys. Really liked reading the results of this.

    I agree with some things and surprised by others.

    I don’t live in the U.S., so only a few times I can actually participate in giveaways, yet I still love them. I think they are a fun way to get people involved and excited about a book. I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff? LOL. So I found it odd how people were not that keen to them.

    Also, I agree with simplifying the giveaways. I have a Twitter and FB, but I only like to tweet about them, not on my personal FB account. That’s a personal preference, nothing personal on you guys. So, yeah, to see that you have more chances the more you tweet and share a post, it’s kind annoying (and really common in giveaways). I get, I really, really do. But I just wish it was an only entry thing and be done with it.

    Anyway, great post. Very enlightening, and I’m actually interested in reading the second part.

    • Steph Sinclair

      I guess it’s the way giveaways are handled that might be turning some away instead of them not being interested at all. I used to enter giveaways when I wasn’t a blogger and I remember not using some of the options because I felt they were overkill. I also really disliked (and still do) when bloggers make certain options mandatory. That’s one reason why we’ve made everything optional.

  6. Jess Haines

    Thanks for posting the results of the survey. This is fascinating to me as an author. I personally don’t blog terribly often (mostly because I forget or get caught up in writing books, not because I don’t like to), but I do blog tours for my releases. The thoughts about ARCs are also illuminating. Lots of food for thought here.

    Oh, and since I’m late to the survey party, I do enjoy most of your posts. You guys have been consistently funny and entertaining, your reviews are thoughtful and often hilarious, and I really appreciate that you’re not super drama-oriented. Your taste in GIFs are great–I totally hijacked a few to use with friends and on a couple of my own blog posts. Since I’m an email subscriber, I’ve even forwarded a few of your posts I really liked to friends who don’t follow blogs.

    Please carry on with the hilarity! Looking forward to part 2 of the survey results, too.

    Jess Haines recently posted…My Characters In GIFs: Shiarra WaynestMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      There are some blog tours we’ve done in the past where you can see just how much effort the author put into it. Then you have others where you can tell they were haphazardly put together. The unfortunate part is that as a blogger, sometimes we don’t know what the blog tour post will look like until a few days before the post goes up, or in some cases, the day before or the day of. It’s one of the reasons why we try not to ask for guest posts from authors. 90% of the time they are boring and not tailored well for our individual blog.

      There was one guest post we had recently that was so well done, but didn’t seem to receive as much notice. I could tell the author actually went through and read parts of the blog to try and tailor a post that was specifically for us and our readers. So I checked out his other guest posts on the tour and they were all brilliantly done. It was the first time I actually went through a read a bunch of blog tour posts. LOL.

      I know authors are terribly busy writing books and other things in addition to having a life, but it’s really appreciated when the author tries to give fresh and interesting content, let’s us know ahead of time what direction their going with it, and gives us enough time to format things in a presentable manner.

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying our posts!

      • Jess Haines

        Was the post you’re referring to the one by the guy who wrote the graphic novels about Greek gods? I really liked that one. Then again, I’m a sucker for all things to do with Greece, so… lol.

        I do try to write something new and entertaining whenever I provide a guest post, but I’ve been questioning effort vs. result the last couple of tours. When I began doing guest posts to coincide with the release of my first book (early 2010), it was new and exciting to me. I wrote stuff like “How to Choose Your Supernatural BFF” and “Vampires: Hot or Not?” Then it looked like people started loving posts where I had my characters snarking at each other, so I started doing those as a staple of my tours. I could be wrong, but on the last one it felt like some of the bloggers and readers weren’t as interested in the posts as they used to be. Which, you know, maybe they sucked–but maybe there’s just a general fatigue around guest posts/blog tours.

        The types of blog tour posts that drive me crazy/get auto-deleted–and I imagine I’m not alone here–are the ones where the author only gives cover art, the back cover copy, and maybe some special image for the blog tour. Or maybe a snippet of the book that, taken out of context, doesn’t really entice me to read on. No actual/original content. Or, at best, a paragraph or two about Random Subject That Probably Has Something to Do With The Book But, Really, Wut?

        I cringe to think of how many blogs that I subscribe to by email where I will just delete it when I see “guest post by / blog tour for (author I never heard of)” in the subject line. Guess it’s both good and bad to know I’m not the only one guilty of that! Your post makes me wonder if maybe that’s part of the problem I was running into during my own tours. And that maybe it’s time to rethink my strategy. Heh.

        Anyway, thank you again. Sorry for the off-topic ramble.


        • Steph Sinclair

          Yes! That was such a great guest post. I was initially hesitant when I accepted the blog tour offer because I hadn’t ever done one for a graphic novel, but I was so impressed. I actually have another graphic novel tour coming up and it’s so much fun! I don’t know how well it’ll be received, but I know I’ll enjoy participating.

          Ha! Your guests posts sound hilarious! It’s such a gamble sometimes knowing how things will be received. Whenever we host a tour, I want it to get great reception from our readers because I know how hard authors work on them.

          OMG, I hate those blog tours. I did a few of them from a “big” publisher, but I have been declining them lately for that reason. They aren’t very good content-wise. One paragraph, a book cover and synopsis is not enough for a guest post. It’s just not. I feel so bad declining, but I don’t want to put anything up that is subpar to what people expect. If I wouldn’t read it, I don’t put it up.

          I enjoy your comments! It’s very interesting to hear how authors view tours because we usually don’t have much contact with the author after the tour. I’m always curious if they are satisfied with everything.

          • Jess Haines

            I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I LOVED that post. I’ve been kicking around the idea of picking his work up even though I can’t even bring myself to read the lone graphic novel I do own (Joss Whedon’s “Fray”) that I’ve had sitting on my bookshelf for 3+ years. So, hey, sometimes those posts do their job. *g*

            When I did those posts, I wrote stuff I thought others might want to read instead of one long ad to sell my book, ya know? I’m selling ME. If they like what I write in the post, think it’s funny or learn something from it or whatever, maybe they’ll like my book I’m pitching along with the post. That’s my take on it, anyway.

            Not disparaging the hard work an author can put into their tours, but I was a reader before I was an author. As a reader, I’m more inclined to buy an author’s book that I might otherwise have overlooked if their guest post is funny, engaging, thought-provoking, etc. It feels bland and stale when there’s nothing more about the book or the author than the cover copy and back cover blurb. Maybe because it’s the sort of thing that could have been covered in a post like ATUF does when they show off new covers for upcoming books (ex.: or books that just released/will release soon (ex.: If it’s just the one book by itself with nothing else to recommend it, not even the blogger’s opinion about it, that makes the post feel too much like an ad and not enough like an actual post.

            As a mid-list author, I KNOW it takes guts and time and effort and hard work and planning and might add a few white hairs to your head to coordinate and schedule everything that goes into a blog tour. If the blogger doesn’t know you, sometimes just selling them on reading/reviewing your book feels like an uphill battle, too. Then you have to prep the posts on top of all that. Once the post has gone live, you won’t really know how it went over until you see your sales figures for the month/quarter/whatever. It’s tough. But nobody likes spam, and I guess the long and short of it is that those posts can start to feel like that’s all they are when authors focus too much on the sales aspect and not enough on the engagement aspect.

            As an author, you really have to consider what you’re bringing to the blogger/reader, and what sets you apart from other authors in your genre so that you’ll get noticed in the sea of bookish stuff out there.

            It might make me sound jaded and cynical about guest posts. I both am and not. I just don’t think it works when you’re being too blatant about your advertising agenda. Cover reveals? Sure, when it’s part of a regularly scheduled post of that nature along with other books of like kind. Reviews? Awesome, let the blogger be your mouthpiece, and godspeed. Guest posts? Balance that shiz out, yo. Let readers know there is a book available, sure, but mainly concentrate on writing something entertaining or informative. If you succeed at that, naturally they will seek out more of what you have to say.

            As a reader, I would probably be more excited about a guest post if I felt like it was going to tell me more about what I might find in the books. The writing style, the type of humor, research that went into it, that sort of thing. And while I like to write them, like I mentioned above, it is a LOT of WORK. Figuring out whether they are worth the time and effort is a challenge and something I’m still wavering on myself.

            To look at it from another perspective, John Scalzi wrote a compelling post about why one should never write for free: and the follow-up:

            While I agree that writers *should* be paid for their work, I think that back when I first started doing those guest posts (2010, 2011, and maybe even into 2012) it wasn’t such a bad idea for a relative no name like myself to use as an avenue to reach new readers. I still don’t think it’s a cardinal sin because… well… we’re (I’m) not all John Scalzi and we (I) don’t all have tons of money to throw at a publicist or marketing and we (I) will utilize any avenue possible (within reason) to reach new readers. I believe I’ve garnered a number of my most loyal readers from writing those posts, and I don’t regret them in the least. The pay I figure I earned from them was book sales based on my articles. Even if I couldn’t directly measure those sales, that WAS exposure I felt I needed to get a jump-start on my career. Now I’m making enough in royalties to attend conferences and such, so it could be that I don’t need to rely so heavily on the guest posts (writing for free) like I used to.

            Anyway. I’m hardly the expert on the subject, but I’m happy to answer any questions about it and give my take on it. At length. As you’ve seen. *g*


          • kara-karina

            Sorry, Steph, for piping in! I wanted to reply to Jess’s last comment but there is no reply button to it. I am one of the readers who got interested in her books because of those funny snarky character posts 🙂

            Thank you for an amazing survey, guys! I am learning a lot from it, and at the same time I’m proud that a lot of things I’m already doing the way the readers want them done.
            P.S. I only did a few of those meaningless blog tours in the beginning, – and never again. They are a waste of space. Individual content is everything. I do one guest post/interview a month, and they are pretty much always tailor made 🙂

  7. Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy)

    ” Shipping to Australia is the most expensive place you can ship to from the US.”

    They have to pay guards to protect it from the wildlife, y’see

    “Going forward, we’ll be posting ARC reviews the week of that book’s release.”

    That’s our policy – though we’ve been amazed by authors and publishers who get snippy at us for it. What, you want buzz about your book 3 months before it comes out? do you think anyone will remember?! I also share the loathing of blog tours as a reviewer – honestly, I have had more grief from authors other negative reviews in a tour than anything else. I presume there’s an expectation of a positive review in a tour? I think that also creates the sense that the tour isn’t sincere

    (I also think making Kat, Steph AND Meg read Fallen will produce a book battle…)

    “What would you guys want to know?”
    How many crocodiles Kat has to wrestle.
    On average, how many shots does Steph have to take wrangling goodreads
    How would you bribe me to stop trying to force Fallen on you?
    Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy) recently posted…Helmut Saves the World by Matt SheehanMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      I live for your comments. LIVE, I say!

      They get snippy at you guys for that??? How strange! It’s probably because they enjoy when bloggers are all posting the same thing because it means their product is getting a ton of exposure. I refuse to buy into that game. Advertisements belong on the sidebar and not in our posts.

      I’ve stopped signing up for tours that are asking for positive reviews a long time ago. Almost every time I’ve done that, I ended up really disliking the book. Anyway, I think I’m too critical of a reviewer for those kinds of tours. Even in my positive reviews, I have a habit of analyzing and blasting things I didn’t like. I don’t want tour hosts yelling at me. No thank you.

      I tried to read Fallen for you. Then I tried to carve out my eyeball, so thanks for that. All of us reading Fallen would produce a weeping session.

      I drink an entire bottle of vodka before journeying onto GR. It’s the only way.

  8. Brianna (The Book Vixen)

    Very interesting comments about Rafflecopter. I will think about this when I work on the next giveaway I host.

    Even your comment Steph, brings up a good point. One I hadn’t realized.
    Some people have separate twitter accounts just to tweet the giveaways so they don’t have to do this from their real accounts.

    When verifying entries, I’ve noticed some people tweet from private Twitter accounts, which also defeats the purpose.

    Thanks for sharing the results from your survey. I look forward to the next part of results.
    Brianna (The Book Vixen) recently posted…Book Review: Reaper’s Vow by Sarah McCartyMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      I noticed the separate account thing more recently and it made me a little sad. It’s not technically against the rules, but does skirt the line. It just leads me to believe that it may not be as effective as I’d hoped. Not to mention, those people frequently win over others. So, we’ll try something different to see if makes a difference.

  9. Kate Copeseeley

    I think it was interesting to see what percentages my opinions were in. One of the things that I continue to admire about you guys is that you’re not stagnant. You don’t just tell yourselves, “Hey, this is the way this has always worked, so let’s just keep doing it.”
    You work hard at your blog (some would say to not insignificant person cost) and you care about your community.

    It’s nice, as a reader, to have a voice. It’s nice to see some of my comments up there, to see that you give a crap. That caring and intention make you a beacon in this community (IMO) and my first stop when I check out book blogs. Seriously love you guys.

    (I’ll stop gushing now. hehe)
    Kate Copeseeley recently posted…George, Mary Sues, and Epic FantasyMy Profile

  10. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Wow these results are really interesting, but at the same time I expected some of them like whether or not you follow bloggers on Twitter, but it’s cool to see that many still follow their favorite blogs via email. I kind of do EVERYTHING, I follow them by email to read their posts but I use BlogLovin’ to organize all the blogs I follow’s posts and just comment on their blogs using that lol. Thanks for sharing! <33 I love this survey 😀
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Tuney Tuesday: Ignorance by ParamoreMy Profile

  11. Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog

    Mind = blown.

    Some truths I must reveal: I hate participating in blog tours and memes. Both because they feel like content-fillers, as your CB readers have so aptly pointed out (can’t sneak anything by them I guess!). The only time I do participate is when I truly endorse a book.

    I’ve long abandoned required entries in Rafflecopter, but I guess I should scrap the twitter entries altogether. I’ll use your blog hop as a testing ground for this. 😉

    Thanks for compiling this, can’t wait for tomorrow’s post.
    Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog recently posted…ARC: The Here and Now by Ann BrasharesMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      In the beginning, I wanted to do memes but Kat was pretty adamant that she didn’t want us to do them. I’m pretty happy with that decision. She’s really great at generating fun and interesting content, so I usually bow to her on those issues and stick to the technical stuff. lol.

      I don’t think we’ve ever done *required* entires. I remember hating them before I started blogging and never wanted to do them. It turns a lot of people off from actually entering.

      Tomorrow’s post. Yes… I should probably start that…

  12. Natalie Aguirre

    This is so interesting. I’m surprised with the interest in reviews not because they aren’t good but because I see so few comments on the blogs I read reviews on.

    And also surprised about the blog tour and giveaway responses. I find the giveaways do increase commenting on a post by my followers. I hope you won’t stop doing the cover reveals and blog tours because they really help authors and get the word out about books, especially if they’re tied to a giveaway.

    I try to keep my giveaways to leaving comments and an extra point for following on Facebook or Twitter. It was interesting how many people wanted the giveaways simpler.

    Thanks for sharing this. Love your blog.
    Natalie Aguirre recently posted…KRISTI HELVIG INTERVIEW AND BURN OUT GIVEAWAYMy Profile

    • Steph Sinclair

      It’s possible people are reading the reviews from their feed readers or by way of email instead of visiting the blog. Reviews might not always generate a lot of conversation, but I haven’t noticed a dip in our page views on days where there is just a review.

      We won’t stop doing cover reveals and blog tours, but we’ll be more selective with them. Lately, I’ve noticed some get LESS page views that our actual reviews and that’s sometimes with a giveaway attached.

      I was really surprised at the giveaway comments. I thought Rafflecopter was pretty simple, but I can see how the Twitter and Facebook options might be discouraging if that person doesn’t have an account.

  13. Natalie M.

    Thanks for taking the time to post the results up! I actually don’t mind blog tours that much if it’s for an author I like. But I do like cover reveal posts when Kat makes up spoof covers. Those are really funny!

    And I love the guest reviewer suggestion! I don’t have a blog myself (I’m too lazy), but I do post reviews on Goodreads regularly. It would be great to be featured on Cuddlebuggery with none of the pressure to carry on. I understand how hard managing a blog is and I love and respect you all for doing it!

    • Steph Sinclair

      There are a few authors that we’ve worked with before that continuously generate great guest posts. Those I don’t mind at all and welcome. They are fun and interesting and the readers seem to really connect with them.

      The faux covers are so cool. Both Kat and now Meg do those and I’m so in awe of their creativity. That will definitely be staying when we do cover reveals!

      Awesome! When we get the logistics of this sorted out, I hope you’ll sign up!

  14. Expy

    Yay, I’ve been waiting for the results of this survey.

    “Now this did surprise me. I have seen countless bloggers claim their reviews get the least amount of page views and comments, so I think I had it in my mind that they weren’t exactly the most popular thing content wise.”

    Well, we have to keep in mind the difference of what people say in a survey and what they actually do. It could be that people want reviews, but they do not actually read the reviews most of the times. I say I want to eat more vegetables and fruits, but do I actually do it? Pitifully, no.

    Regarding giveaways, omg, the shipping cost. It’s okay to blog without giveaways. Book blogging should be fun, not make the bloggers broke. I think the readership of Cuddlebuggery would be fine if y’all never do another giveaway going forward.

    • Steph Sinclair

      True, or they could be reading via email or another feed reading service and not visiting the blog on those days. It could explain why some bloggers notice less activity on their blogs for those days.

      I’m sure our readers would be fine. Fortunately, we don’t pay for shipping out of pocket. The blog’s advertisement funds cover those costs and site upkeep. I know not everyone likes ads, but every cent of that money goes right back into the blog in some fashion.

      • Expy

        Emails and feed, yes. That is possible and the likelier explanation. Can’t believe I overlooked that.

        This morning, I came across this article on Time Magazine that coincidentally relates to the topic of pageviews, and it might interest you. “Chartbeat looked at deep user behavior across 2 billion visits across the web over the course of a month and found that most people who click don’t read. In fact, a stunning 55% spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page.” Link:

        This doesn’t surprise me because I follow an assload of blogs on Feedly. I don’t check all the posts. The posts I check on, only a few I actually read.

  15. Polenth

    It’s nice to see others feel the same way as I do about blog tours. They tend to be dull as nails, both on the hosting blogs, and the blog of the author in question (which turns into an endless list of where the tour is stopping next).

  16. Shannelle C.

    I think it’s great that you have such a nice following of non book bloggers who legitimately read what you write. I think my only readers are book bloggers, which I’m a little sad about because how do I get non-bloggers to react? And I would do a survey too, but I think no one would actually fill it out, haha.

    As much as I like your spin on cover reveals, they’re not my favorite thing at all, but I really do like Buzz. As for giveaways, I never did it, but if ever I would do it, I think I would allow the Twitter option for only a few times because I don’t have a huge following. I would also make sure that you have to be an old follower, and I’ll just take the note of the most recent follower on Bloglovin’, WP, and the email followers. I hate how you can’t get a name for RSS.

    As for all those posts when you were lazy or those posts that were just created for the sake of posting something, it’s really obvious when you’re not putting much effort into it. Really obvious.

    And oh, I guess I wasn’t following you guys before these Musers post. If so many want it back, then please put it back! Can’t wait to see what’s it about, if there’s such a big demand for it.
    Shannelle C. recently posted…Wishlist Wednesday: All Those Darn Cute Washi TapesMy Profile

  17. Annie

    I love this post and this survey. I think it’s so cool that you guys are really curious about what your readers want and are willing to make adjustments according to that without changing what Cuddlebuggery is. Because I love this blog and I really enjoy reading your posts even if I hardly comment. I love the humor and the insight into what’s going on in the book blogging community and the perspective you guys have on books. Basically just all around fun!
    Annie recently posted…Tattered Heart is now availableMy Profile

  18. Kelly

    This is just all so interesting.

    I think I was most surprised by the posting of ARC reviews. I guess if you’re only following a few book blogs, having ARC reviews posted closer to the release date would make sense. But as someone who follows a TON of blogs, if they were all posting their reviews close to release date, my feed would just be a stream of the same book review. This actually happened quite recently with The Winner’s Curse and Side Effects May Vary; it felt like every other blog I was following posted their review of those two books within a few days of each other; I got tired of them after a handful.

    Thanks so much for this! I’m really excited to see what part 2 looks like 🙂
    Kelly recently posted…Book Review: Tiger LilyMy Profile

  19. Alexa

    I missed out on the survey, but love reading all the results. Thought I’d throw in a few of my thoughts:

    I’m not a fan of elaborate Rafflecopter giveaways, either, mostly because a) I’m lazy and b) I never win anyway so I’m not going to take a bunch of extra time to enter. Following on Twitter or tweeting once is easy–I’ll do that–or an entry that involves a simple comment (something easy to think of and post in under a minute). But I won’t comment if the request requires a lot of brain power or creativity, or makes me jump through hoops to prove I’m interested in the book. My favorite ones are the ones that compose the tweet FOR you and all you have to do is c&p it into Twitter. It was really great reading your note about people with dedicated Twitters for giveaways, and that they often win–I think that contributes to the feeling of “why bother entering; I won’t win” because when you see something has 1K+ entries because some people are tweeting every single day and getting tons of entries, statistically the odds are against you, so why bother? I carefully cultivate my Twitter feed, so I will only tweet about a giveaway maybe once. Very excited about the switch to a single entry system.

    Re: reviews. I love long, super detailed, analytical reviews, and I like to read them AFTER I’ve read a book. When I’m full of Thoughts and Feelings, I want to read what other people thought and whether they saw the same things I did. 90% of the time when I read a review on Cuddlebuggery it’s for a book that’s already out. So I’ll echo what others have said, re: ARC reviews. They’re less fun/useful if they’re non-spoilery, but if they’re non-spoilery, I won’t read them until the book is out, anyway. And I love your reviews 🙂

  20. Sarah

    I’m a non-blogger so these results of my fellow non-bloggers were particularly interesting to me! I’m surprised swag giveaways aren’t that popular… those are my very FAVORITE kinds of giveaways because I can go out and buy a book featured in a giveaway anytime, but it’s hard for me to get swag because there aren’t many signing around here and I obviously don’t have contact with publishers. Nothing makes me happier than when I have a bookmark that matches my book!

    I like seeing some ARC reviews to put books on my radar, but when every blogger has an ARC of a book and is reviewing it a few months before it comes out (like The Winner’s Curse before it came out, or We Were Liars), it makes me feel left out because I can’t join in on the discussion.

  21. Katie

    So this is way late, but something that just occurred to me: Fewer blogs requiring for people to follow them on BlogLovin’. There are other ways to do this (GFC, email, etc) that are simpler than BlogLovin’. Maybe I’m only saying this because I don’t have a BlogLovin’ account, but it’d be really nice if BlogLovin’ wasn’t the only option (especially on giveaways).

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