Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harriet Klausner: the publishing industry’s Big Bertha.

A curious (as always) post on Bloggasm: Harriet Klausner: the publishing industry’s secret weapon?
[...] These [commenters'] responses are part of a larger backlash against Klausner, a mixture of conspiracy theories, skepticism and ridicule. The most tame of these criticisms simply point out that she rarely includes anything in her plot summary that isn’t on the back cover, indicating she hasn’t actually read the book. Others say that her sentences often suffer from grammatical quicksand, tripping over themselves and in need of editing. The most radical members of the backlash offer theories that she either works for Amazon or the publishing industry, astroturfing the customer reviews section to promote sales. Nearly all express annoyance at her tendency to only give four and five star ratings. [...]
A good post, check it out (link above).


Barbara Delaney said...

That was a very interesting post. I remember that review well, the first comment he quotes is mine. I hadn't read that book when I commented but I read the novel that preceded it by Tobias Buckell.The fourth comment, that was not mentioned, was a snide comment directed at me by C. McCallister.

The comments from the online editor of Booklist were quite revealing as to what industry people think of HK. I remember the review of the book "Cold Lessons" from early February of 2007. It was the first time I had seen Harriet use her trademark, "The school is shook when cheeleader Kristen Swales dies under the influence of drugs by crashing her car." I remember at the time thinking why wouldn't you say something like, "the faculty and students at blah blah high school were deeply shaken by the terrible news of Kristen's death", why would you say something as clumsy as "the school is shook"? That was before I realized that "is shook" much like zany, and several other Klausnerisms were going to occur in a high percentage of her reviews.

Malleus said...

Yeah, "is shook" is neat. :-) Again, I don't think she actually writes these reviews, and that is what explains the funny language they're written in. I liked the article too, except perhaps I find the author's desire to believe that HK is simply an obssessive person (rather than a screen name for an ever-varying team of copywriters) a bit unbelievable. Well, he's probably trying to be nice, just like Claire Armitstead in that Guardian article where she said, "I don't doubt Klausner's integrity". Sure, right -- who knows? Maybe HK does read sixty books a day, what do we know... :-)