DIXIE CASH, ER… RIDES AGAIN…

The saga continues. After a lot of angst and hand-wringing, Dixie Cash is going to attempt a comeback.

Here’s a little history. When the marketing department at our publisher, Avon, (an offshoot of Harper-Collins) decided that the public was no longer interested in Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin, my sister and I more-or-less threw in the towel. The books were getting harder and harder to write anyway and as long as they were being marketed as they were, they really didn’t have a chance to reach their true audience. They were getting to be an exercise in futility.

Our editor at Avon wanted us to come up with new characters and take Dixie Cash in a new direction. We made a stab at that, but after seven books, we were sort of  wedded to Debbie Sue and Ed and their zaniness. After all, we knew them better than we knew our kids.

Our agent believed Debbie Sue and Edwina were not dead. She wanted us to take them to a new publishing house, but at the time, my sister was changing jobs (her *real* job) and neither of our heads was in the right place to give it our all. Still, we made a stab at that, too. We came up with a couple of ideas we thought were good ones, but our agent believed they weren’t “strong “enough.

Through that whole process, I’m asking myself, what was so *strong* about the books we had already written? “Strong” is one of those words you hear bandied about by the New York crowd a lot. I never have known exactly what it means. “Funny” seemed like the word we should have been looking for, since laughter was what we had always wanted.

We have always believed the books should have been marketed at mass market paperbacks, as SINCE YOU’RE LEAVING ANYWAY, TAKE OUT THE TRASH was. TRASH hit the USA Today list and stayed on Walmart’s shelves for a month. And here’s an irony for you. At about the time we were going into contract on a second book, I attended a writers’ conference and sat in a lecture given by a well-known and highly respected New York agent who talked about what a mistake it is to take an author into hardback before a broad fan base had been established.

So what happened? A couple of weeks later, lo and behold, Avon decided to publish MY HEART MAY BE BROKEN, BUT MY HAIR STILL LOOKS GREAT and I GAVE YOU MY HEART, BUT YOU SOLD IT ONLINE, in hardback. My sister and I squalled like mashed cats. We whined to our agent , but she was giddy from the dollar signs swimming in her head. The books went on the market at somewhere around $25. What my sister and I wanted and hoped for were mass market paperbacks in the neighborhood of $5. Volume, you see.

But it was not to be. It goes without saying, the sales on the 2 hardbacks tanked. Avon came out a year later with the same 2 books in trade paperback, but it was too late. The bloom was off the rose.

Unfortunately, Avon didn’t, and still doesn’t,  really have a paperback line in which the Dixie books fit. Avon is, after all, a romance house and the Dixie books aren’t romances. Avon tried to market them in trade paperback as Southern humor, which they love for some reason. But they don’t fit that category either.  And the trade paperback books still had to be sold for $15.

For the most part, the only place they were for sale was in book stores. I don’t know about you, but I know very few people who travel to book stores to buy books. The people I know buy them where they can get them the cheapest, which isn’t book stores. So the Dixie books in trade paperback never did show up regularly in a venue where the largest number of people could even see them, much less buy them. Occasionally, one would show up in Sam’s or Costco or even Target, but that wasn’t a regular thing. They *never* showed up in Walmart stores or in grocery stores. Consequently, the marketing department determined readers must be tired of Debbie Sue and Ed.

I’ve written before about what happens when you sell a book in New York. It can be like finding a pot of gold, i.e., Harry Potter or he “Twilight” series. Or it can be like slipping and falling into a water slide head first.

For a struggling  author, you see, unless you’re Nora Roberts or John Grisham, every day brings a surprise if not a shock. One of the surprises came in the form of a lengthy conference call with a Hollywood producer who pitched a sit-com idea to one of the networks, using Debbie Sue and Edwina as characters. We crossed our fingers on that one, but it was a huge long shot. Beyond that, Avon flew Pam and me all over the South, to book signings, book fairs and festivals, which only went to show that those events don’t do much for sales in the final analysis. We did entertain a lot of people and we had a lot of fun.

So now we’re at it again. Pam and I decided to go ahead and write one of the stories we proposed that our agent rejected. And we’re going to self-publish it. We *do* believe it’s *strong.* It doesn’t have a name yet, but we’ve started. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Because this time, we’re on our own. And if we screw it up, we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves. Yikes!

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68 Comments

Filed under Books and Publishing, Writing

68 responses to “DIXIE CASH, ER… RIDES AGAIN…

  1. Good luck. I’ll be looking forward to it.

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  2. GREAT NEWS!! I have read every Dixie Cash book and loved them… This may be the best “thing” that could have happened to you, gals…I know that it is for all of us Dixie Cash fans…Good luck …

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  3. You have made me quite happy with that news, but even better, I have a teenage daughter who absolutely LOVES Ed and Debbie Sue, and has gotten her friends to read the books. I’ll have to let her know so that she can jump around in glee! We really thought the last book as the very end, so took a long time before devouring it; savoring every last scene.

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  4. Peggy

    Oh, Happy Day! As I have expressed before, Dixie Cash is all the rage at my library and she is greatly missed. I met Pam in Austin at the TLA conference (along with 500 other librarians..so I’m sure she remembers me…ha). After the panel of authors were through discussing their work and inspirations, we (the audience) got to meet them. Pam’s line was longer, louder and filled with laughter. She took time to personally visit with each one of us, not just a handshake and a smile. I think she was probably the last author to leave the room. Now that is STRONG. Laughter is something we all want and need. Welcome back Edwina and Debbie Sue!!

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  5. I believe you ladies will be pleasantly surprised at the success of your new venture. I agree with Peggy above, we need laughter. I love Debbie Sue and Edwina and their zany friends and incidents. I say keep them coming!

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    • Thanks, Caroline…Well, there’s no end to the zaniness we can create with these two characters. The problem, as you know, is getting the books “found” in the vast sea of books. I think Amazon has more than 2 million titles on their site now.

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      • Peggy

        Sunny side up Anna! Amazon also provides author suggestions. I believe Dixie Cash is also in the company of Janet Evanovich, MaryKay Andrews and LuAnn McLane.Sounds like a nice group to be with.

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  6. I have never seen/read the Dixie Cash books, but I would like to, and will search them out. I love books that make you laugh out loud. The authors that I follow on Twitter and Facebook network together to give shout outs to each other and advertise each others upcoming books. Barbara Freethy might have some advice on self-publishing. Good Luck! and I look forward to your next book!

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    • Hi, mtcarrie and thanks for posting. Are you a Barbara Freethy fan? I know Barbara. She’s a good author. We used to write for the same publisher. I’m so happy for her success in self-publishing. Her career, like mine, was up and down before that….The Dixie Cash books are borderline slapstick comedy on the blue-collar side. Sort of like a Texas version of Lucy and Ethel. As far as I know, they are all still for sale in all venues in the online book stores, although I doubt if you could find them in bricks and mortar stores now. My sister and I would love to get the copyrights back so we could re-issue them.
      Anna J

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  7. Dixie Monk

    Sooooooooo happy to hear you are “ridin again” !!! I found my first Dixie Cash book at the half price book store in College Station. Naturally, since my name is Dixie I was interested. It was laugh out loud funny and I was on the hunt for more and you are right, they were hard to find. I have them all and gladly shared with my friends. We can’t wait to hear what Debbie Sue and Edwina get into this time!!! Don’t give up, we will read as long as you will write!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Sharon Shriner

    Some self published authors need a little help in the story department and some do not. You do not and will do just great. The fact that we get to keep enjoying you both is……yeah us !! Over the years just reading author’s stories on the publishing end is just crazy and no reason. When I hear people complain about authors going from paperback to hardback I always explain the authors have no say on the matter. Anyway. as usual I will keep touching base and look forward to a new title. Good luck !

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    • Hi, Sharon…Thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading the books. Legacy publishing is a crazy business. I used to say that for authors, it was sort of like the casino business. But electronic reading and self-publishing authors are going to change it. If the big publishers do not re-invent themselves, I don’t see how they’ll survive the reading and digital publishing revolution that’s going on.
      Anna J

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  9. Carrie

    Yea!!! So excited you’re putting out another book. I’ve read them all and can’t wait for the new one!! I actually grew up in Midland, Tx….which you speak of close to your ficitonal Salt Lick…..fun to read these books because they actually ring true to how some people I KNOW… are!!! Great fiction! Fabulous entertainment!! Some of the “Edwinaisms” I swear my own Daddy has uttered!

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    • Hi, Carrie…..Thanks for stopping by and posting. And thanks for supporting Dixie Cash. My sister and I are both excited about doing another Dixie Book. As for the Edwinaisms, as you say, you’ve heard many of them. Most of them are common Texas slang my sister and I heard growing up in a rural West Texas environment. However, we *have* made up a few new ones. LOL … Need I say, my sister is quick with a funny quip. My own sense of humor is dry, so much of the sarcasm comes from me. …. If you have time, stop by the Dixie Cash page on FaceBook and *like* us.
      Anna J

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  10. kourtney

    Hey ladies . I’m a 27 yr old hair stylist from Indiana . I live for the witty charm and friendship of these two girls. It all falls so closely into home being a stylist we are all a little crazy. I have been passing my books of yours around the shop quicker than I can read them. Your books have strength and I love them. It never takes me more than two days to read one. Which makes me mad when I’m done. I never want the stories to end. I will buy all of your books even if I have to to to a bookstore that’s out of the way to buy them. Every book I read I always think this would he a great show . Whatever happens screw those yankees. Your worth it!

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  11. Sharon

    I am very happy you are writing another Debbie Sue/Edwina book. You were suggested on a forum and I bought your first book, then quickly bought the others and loved every one of them. The humor is so welcome, my personal favorite is Edwina in Chapter 29 of My Heart May be Broken, But My Hair Still Looks Great. I laughed so hard, I had tears running down my face and trouble catching my breath. Whenever I need a good laugh I go back and read that chapter. You are one of the few authors whose books I choose to keep. I will be watching for news of the new book and thank you. I hope it’s a huge success.

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  12. Debbie Burnett

    I have read every Dixey Cash book…I love them

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  13. Pat Zwicker

    I have been so disappointed that I couldn’t find any more books by “Dixie Cash”. I have all of your books, and while I donate most of my books or give them to friends, I save your books to reread. They are the best! So happy to
    find that you are working on a new book. I really miss Debbie Sue and Edwina. Your situation just proves that publishers don’t always know what readers want. May your new venture be a huge success.

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    • Hi, Pat….Publishers are driven by the bottom line and their marketing departments. Dixie Cash is a classic story of a failure in marketing. If they had continued to publish the books as mass market paperbacks, this story would have had a different ending. If our agent had directed us to another publishing house, it might have had a different ending. But neither of those things, among others, happened. …. So we have to fall back on one of my granny’s old sayings: “If wishes were horses, beggars could ride.”

      Anyway, we’re at it again. My sister is back in Texas after a 2-year interruption in Tulsa, and maybe we’ll get it done this time.

      Thanks for your note and thanks for being a fan. Don’t give up on us. We’re not finished yet. 🙂

      Anna J

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  14. Pamela Sue & Edwina are a hoot! I’ve read all your books about these two and can hardly wait for the new book. You have captured both gal’s personality to a tee!!! Love them and will look forward to their next adventure and what trouble they are going to get into !!! Keep on writing about these two friends- they are real characters.

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  15. Deborah

    I love your books! I’ve listened to them on audible. Makes my trips fun! Can’t wait for the next one.

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  16. Linda

    Hi Ladies, I am so excited to hear that Debbie Sue and Edwina are coming back! There adventures are such fun. I buy all all my books on my kindle and now I am able to take my entire library with me wherever I am! I can’t wait to read their new adventures, I keep hoping that Debbie Sue and Buddy will have baby in the near future.

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  17. I have been wondering where you’ve been! And just for the record, I have ALL your books, and bought all of them in bookstores. I’ve missed reading about Debbie Sue and Edwina so much, and I know this post is over a year old, but I am hoping and praying that you will have something out ASAP. I’ve looked and looked and looked online for something coming out by Dixie Cash and have been repeatedly disappointed. Please know you have a loyal fan base and we have really missed you and the adventures of Debbie Sue and Edwina so much! Hope to hear some positive news soon!
    Sending lots of love from Tennessee,
    Viki Blondin

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  18. Wendy

    These are my favorite books. I feel like Debbie Sue and Edwinda are my girlfriends and I love hanging out with them. I tell everyone – if they want something to read that is like a night out with the girls then read these books. Every friend that I got to read one ended up reading them all. I have missed my girls and really want them to have another adventure!! Thank you for the enjoyable Saturday afternoons sipping on a margarita, reading and LAUGHING out loud at my friends Debbie Sue and Edwina.

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    • Hi, Wendy…It’s the oddest thing. So many people tell us they feel like Debbie Sue and Edwina are their friends. My sister and I wrote them to be just ordinary country folks. A little zany, but ordinary nevertheless. Thanks so much for your support. We’ll have another book out soon.

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      • Wendy

        I am so excited to hear you are writing another book!!! I can hardly wait to get a margarita and sit on the porch with Edwina and Debbie Sue!!

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  19. Lynda

    Hey Ya’ll, I am so happy to hear you are writing again, I can’t tell you how many times I have checked to see if you have a new book out. I have purchased all your books several times, paperbacks, hard backs because I couldn’t wait to read it, and duplicates for my iPad. I have ordered them for friends who are homebound or depressed and need a lift, I just love your books and I always get a laugh from them. You keep writing and we will keep reading!

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  20. Please don’t give up! I was only recently introduced to your books and I couldn’t read them fast enough. I just couldn’t put the books down once I started reading. The characters are funny and quirky and such a nice escape from reality. I have shared the books with family and friends and you have several more dedicated fans here in SoCal.
    Everything happens for a reason, so don’t let a rocky start stop you. You gave your characters the moxie to see things through no matter what, so I know you have it within yourselves to do the same. Good luck and I hope to be reading the next adventures of Debbie and Edwina soon!

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    • Believe it or not, Kathy, we’re working on one, but I can’t give you a release date yet. Momentarily, I’m working on getting OUR RED HOT ROMANCE IS LEAVING ME BLUE released as an audio book. We hope that will happen in August or September. ….. Thanks for being a DC fan and thanks for your note and the kind words.

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  21. Sharron Franklin

    Thanks for many entertaining hours of laughter. I have read every one of your Laugh Out Loud books. I work in a beauty shop in Grand Prairie,Tx and we cannot wait til you have more.We have bought , lost and wore out many books sharing them among the stylist and clients. I have bought three sets that have yet been returned, my next set stays with me. Last week my daughter was in a burger place reading Take Out the Trash and laughed so much she had to leave, she was getting some strange looks. She s ready for more.
    I look forward to your next book (books).
    PS I lived in Haskell for many years.Not too many people know where it is.

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    • Well, I know where Haskell is, Sharron. LOL. I haven’t been there often as an adult, but when I was a kid some member of my family was there all the time for this or that. …. Thanks so much for reading the DC books and laughing. We laughed when we wrote them, so it’s nice to know people laugh with us. …. I’m currently working on getting OUR RED HOT ROMANCE IS LEAVING ME BLUE published as an audio book. Hopefully we’ll have it available sometime in August or September.

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  22. Beth Collins

    I really enjoy your books. I discovered them about 3 years ago and I read all that was available in no time flat. Anytime I go to the library or a book store Dixie Cash is the first author I search for, hoping I run across one I haven’t read or a new release. I can only imagine how funny and entertaining a sitcom would be with Debbie Sue and Edwina! I would definately tune in. Whatever endeavor y’all choose I know it will be a sucsess. I wish y’all the best and look forward to the next chapter!

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    • Hi, Beth,
      Believe it or not, we once talked to a Hollywood producer about a sit-com. However, nothing came of it. Books to movies or TV is a real long shot. We are working away on another DC book, which will be #8. Have you stopped by by Dixie Cash page on Facebook? I’ve been posting about releasing an audio book of OUR RED HOT ROMANCE IS LEAVING ME BLUE.

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  23. Barb

    I work at a public library and you have a following here. We just love the Dixie Cash series. When someone wants something funny, we suggest Janet Evanovich and Dixie Cash. We’re so happy to hear you’re working on another. Keep up the good work, we love you in Phillips, WI

    Barb & Nancy

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    • Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. And thank you for being a fan of Dixie Cash. It’s hard not to love Debbie Sue and Edwina and their bumbling hijinks. 🙂 I don’t know if you’ve stopped by Dixie’s FB page, but I’ve been posting about a release in audio of OUR RED HOT ROMANCE IS LEAVING ME BLUE. Does your library lend audio books?

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  24. Gretchen Goodson

    I just love Debbie Sue and Edwina. I also have been watching for a new book on these funny gals. I am so glad to know OUR RED HOT ROMANCE IS LEAVING ME BLUE is arriving soon. I like the idea of an audio. Sounds like fun. In my mind I know how both Debbie Sue and Edwina would sound.

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  25. Kim Hale

    Just signed up for your emails! Glad you two are working on another adventure for Debbie Sue and Edwina! I have really enjoyed your books and will buy the next one when it is released!

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  26. Tina

    It’s great to hear you are working on another book. I can’t wait.
    I’ve read all of Debbie Sue and Edwina’s adventures. They always make me laugh. Keep ’em coming ladies. You have plenty of readers out there.

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  27. Cheryll Kregear

    I’m glad to here this. I really enjoyed Debbie Sue and Edwina books. It is nice to have different books not all romance. Good luck with the self publishing. I’ll be looking for the book.

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  28. I am soooooo happy that Edwina and Debbie Sue are going on another adventure, cause we’re ready to go along. you two are so talented, don’t give up! wish you all the best–Love Jane

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  29. Hello Dixie Cash

    I absolutely love your books. Any update on we can expect a new book

    Anxious Fan, Erica

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  30. Anne

    Ladies, do keep writing! I loved your series, sometimes laughing so hard I nearly fell off the chair and/or woke the cat! The books are just delightful and so funny!

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  31. Margaret Mathis

    I have been waiting sooooooo long for a new book from Dixie Cash. Please hurry. Debbie Sue and Edwina are strong women and so are the books. I can’t wait

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  32. Betty Anschel

    I love your books! Good luck with the new one.

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  33. Love Debbie and especially Ed. I’ve read them all and look forward to more

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  34. Jenna

    Very excited to hear this! I have been searching for more books from Dixie Cash. I can’t seem to even find books similar to yours to hold me over until your next book. Your books are great reads without too much of the junk. It seems all the books are either too racy, too dark, or too heavy on mystery. Yours are just right for helping to lighten the heavy load of everyday life!

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    • Thanks for your note. You aren’t going to believe this, Jenna, but I just now figured out how to get to these posts on WordPress. WordPress has changed its site and run off and left me. People tell me WordPress is sooo easy to use. Well, I don’t find anything on the Internet *easy*. LOL ….. Anyway, I’m planning on releasing the next Dixie Cash book in the next 2 or 3 months. I’m winding it up now. Stay tuned and keep up with it on Facebook https:”https://www.facebook.com/Dixie-Cash-342620327656/?fref=ts”>

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  35. Cindy Glover, Grayson, Georgia

    I just discovered your DC books a month ago (all on Amazon – each in the $3.50-$7.00 range – paperbacks), and have read them all! I slowed down on the last one when I realized there weren’t any more :(. PLEASE publish your next one lickedy-split! Thank you!

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  36. Margaret Mathis

    Still waiting for more new Debbie Sue and Edwina books.

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  37. Sally Way

    I just discovered the Debbie Sue series of 7 books. I have them all and am now starting #4. I can’t put them down! They are so funny and the characters are such a hoot. This is some of the most enjoyable reading I have had in years. If you like Stephanie Plum you will LOVE these books. Please Please ladies, keep these girls and all their antics coming our way. I love these books and hope there will be many more to come!!!

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  38. Margaret

    I want to know, when can we expect the next book?

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