Monday, May 14, 2007

A Real-Life Reviewer - Don't Shoot!!

Thanks for the invite. Yes, I'm a real-life reviewer. No, I don't get paid. Yes, I get free books. No, I don't promise sunshiny reviews for everything and no publisher has ever said a word to me about a not-great review. They're professionals; they know it's going to happen. No one can like every single book they read. Except, apparently, for Harriet. When I don't like a book, I don't rip it apart. I try to criticize constructively. (Thanks, Mom.) The very things that I hate about a book might be the same things that other readers love.

And I hate spoilers with the firey passion of a thousand suns. I put potential spoiler warnings at the top of any book that is part of a series. Harriet (or her minion) has a very nasty habit of including spoiler-type information in the review with no warning.

Since I read/review what I'm sent, I mainly review genre fiction. (No erotica, though!) Mysteries, fantasy, scifi, young adult, paranormal, yes, even some romance. Am I banned yet??

What else can I tell you? I don't highlight, but I do take notes on character names, locations, and pertinent facts to avoid having to go searching for a suddenly-important detail while writing a review. I have zero control over when/if any part of my reviews are used for blurbing purposes. I only find out about it when I get the book with the blurb printed in/on it. I've had my own blog for almost a year and just got my first print-blurb. Before that, I reviewed for a site. My blurbs for that site were all over the place on mysteries. Seeing them, you might think I had some arrangement with mystery authors/publishers. Not so. They use quotes or not, as they please.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been amusing myself by playing a juvenile little game. Once I finish a book and the review, I pop over to Amazon to see if Harriet has "reviewed" the same book. If she has, I quite enjoy reading her review, then leaving a comment, correcting the mistakes she's made regarding plot points. So far, I haven't found one that's free of errors. At least "she" is consistent.

Deb Hern (D.Hern on Amazon)


Moderator said...

Yeehaw, a real reviewer! Well, D.H., welcome to the blog (a) just because, and (b) 'cause we'll have a lot of questions to ask you. (Btw, you don't have to post here under the same name as on Amazon; no "REAL NAME" badges here :-) so if you wish, you can pick any other screen name).

OK, now let's get down to business: so, how many reviews do you usually post? Iow, is there a pattern to your reviewing, or is it only now and then sorta thing?

Stephanie said...

Welcome Deb,

You sound like an honest reviewer. That is what we all want. That and someone who gives us their opinions of the book. Oh, and actually reads the book they review. I am going to take a guess here and say you don't read and review multiple books in one day for years and years.

Deborah Hern said...

Ha! No, sadly I do not possess the super-human (some claim impossible) ability to speed-read dozens of books and then write and post dozens of reviews in a day. Wait, did I say, "sadly?" Because that sounds like no fun at all.

How many reviews I post really depends on how quickly I read. Simplistic, but true. I can read a book a day. If they're short, I can read two a day. Then, sometimes, I'll have other things to do and nothing will get posted for days on end.

So far, I think my longest "break" has been something over a week. But the pressure is really self-imposed. No one is breathing down my neck to post moremoremore. But I do like to post the review for a book during the month of publication, if possible. (Sometimes, it's not.)

You can check out my blog if you like at and see what I post and how often. I warn you, I often fall into the old three-paragraph trap! I mean, a LOT. I'm trying to change, but it still happens.

Oh, and I guess it *should* go without saying, but yes, I do read books before rendering an opinion. I'm not quite sure how you'd go about framing a coherent opinion if you didn't.... oh. right.

Deborah Hern said...

Or, since I clearly can't type in a link, if you want to see my blog, you could take the easy route and just click on my name.

Misfit said...

Deborah, welcome to the group, an honest reviewer is a welcome change.

Deborah Hern said...

Thanks for all the welcomes. I admit, I was a little worried that, as a reviewer, I'd get tarred with the same brush as Harriet. Silly me. I should have realized that Harriet really is in a class by herself!

Moderator said...

Not really. Well, as far as quantity, yes.

Otoh, I consider Gunny and Boudville worse offenders: they operate in a different realm, with a different kind of books and readers. In that area, books cost between forty and hundred dollars (or more) and are more important for people buying them.

It's a good thing Amazon has such a liberal return policy, but suppose you only read reviews there and then buy books somewhere else where returns are impossible or at least not so easy.

There are tons of guys like these two. Harriet, to tell the truth, is more of a clown; a nuisance, yes, but practically not all that harmful -- because she's so openly absurd.

MK said...


Juvenile your acitivites are not, and I daresay that your "comparison comments" have been devastating to Harriet's credibility in the eyes of the lay-Amazon consumer.

Good show, and welcome!


Deborah Hern said...

Well, I do what I can.