Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Authors Diss on Hattie, Part II

How do authors really feel about Harriet’s reviews?   Part 1 entitled “Authors Diss on Harriet” talked about this, but there were too many authors and too many comments for one article.  This is Part II of the discussion.

Once again, author identities are not included to protect their privacy interests and their relationships with their editors and publishers.  They, however, have some very interesting things to say.

“I stopped reading Harriet’s reviews of my books (and others) a long time ago because banging my head on the desk causes a weird ringing in my ears.”

“My problem with Harriet is that a) her reviews are full of inaccuracies b) often contain spoilers.  It’s really irritating to glance at a one paragraph review and see a ‘by the way, here is how the book ends!’”

“[I don't really know what the rest says because I'm doing this:  Hahahahahahahaha! The Lions? The Raiders? WTF?  Hahaha!]”

“Well, okay, The Amazing, Reads a Thousand Books a Month and Thus Usually Gets  Protagonists’ Names Wrong Harriet Klausner has reviewed my books, but I’m pretty sure she reviews pamphlets about Famous Jewish Sports Legends and Nora’s grocery list in her free time, so she doesn’t really count.”

“Harriet’s reviews are often misspelled, odd to the point of head-scratching”

“Harriet’s misspelled my character names, left words out of sentences, and missed the point on some of the reviews she’s given my books, yes.”

“Harriet Klausner as an exemplar reviewing professional? I just swallowed my tongue. In what universe?”

“in my opinion, I think Harriet Klausner makes all book reviewers look bad and her reviews are total crap.”

“Klausner may get her conveyer belt of ARCs shut down, but her review system will probably remain. A pity, because she does muddy the waters with inaccurate reviews.”

“Wow. Wow. And to claim that Harriet Klausner is a ‘professional’ reviewer? Ignorant or crazy.”

“surely no one with a functioning frontal lobe takes her reviews seriously.”

“Yes, one of her reviews for one of my books was barely even in English, and had nothing to do with the actual plot (except for the spoiler she managed to include).”

“She did, after all, post 44 reviews for March 11th which does seem, um, a little on the prolific side. And that's not apparently unusual for her. Gives a new definition to speed reading, doesn't it? . . . it would take her a whole day just to pen the reviews - and that's without reading the books.”

“Does a Harriet Klausner review carry such weight that it would boost sales? Are they kidding?”

“Yes, and she also summarizes plots (not always accurately) and gives away spoilers.”


“Yes, and she also summarizes plots (not always accurately) and gives away spoilers.  That is just the worst. In at least three of mine, she gave away plot twists that were intended to shock the hell out of readers.  Harriet Klausner is a real person?  I thought she was a bot.  Far as I know, she's real. Been reviewing for a long time.”

“If she did what you suggested and called them a readers' advisory I wouldn't be so irritated. Calling them reviews is absurd.”

“I'm pretty sure her reviews are if not actually plagiarized, liberally borrowed from various sources.  Case in point: Her review of my book * is almost certainly cribbed from *’s review of the same.  Both misspell the protagonist's name (It's * not * ) in the same way.”

“Unethical, yes. I'm not sure about illegal.  And really, who takes her reviews seriously anymore?”

“Ignore the poor sentence construction, grammar, detours from the actual plot and so on”

“Klausner. A gold-standard reviewer. Really. I must have missed something, because I find her reviews beyond annoying. She’s quantity-over-quality in action, and she doesn’t seem to have ever read a book she didn’t like. With her speed reading, I doubt she’s absorbed anything in her reading, much less given it any thought, particularly given that many of her reviews seem to have been badly lifted from the book’s back cover.”

“I've been reviewed by her a few times.  In at least one case the review was a rehash of a newspaper review by a critic.”

“My theory is that HK’s reviews are amalgamations of back cover copy, first chapters, and reviews written by other people. Her review of my first book quotes practically word for word from the reviews in the trade journals, occasionally switching in a synonym or mangling the sentence structure.”

“She got everything about my book *wrong. oops’”

“Harriet likes everything, without exception, her reviews are little more than extra noise in the system, a background hiss of blanket positivity.”

“How impressive can a venue be that publishes Harriet Klausner reviews?”

“I know, but please don't hold the Harriet reviews against us authors. This one has wrong character names (*, not *) and my protag definitely doesn't find * attractive. Sigh. Anyhow, thanks for taking a look.”

“I don’t care how much your soul is worth to Satan, no one reads that fast.”

“As the frequent victim of drive-by Harriet reviews, I know she’s inaccurate to the point of my sometimes wondering if she’s perhaps confused my book with someone else’s.”

“it’s about time someone called Klausner on her crap.”

“Her reviews are often and largely inaccurate, they’re usually grammatical nightmares, and they frequently reveal the plot twists or surprise endings.”

“But the random person on Amazon would find avoiding Klausner’s reviews a challenge, much like dodging the wafting smell from the odoriferous person in the crowded subway. Eventually it permeates every space… and every review.”

“It was as meaningless as this one, and among the more glaring errors, the names of two major characters and THE AUTHOR were wrong!”

“three friends of mine and Harriet Klausner have already reviewed it. My friends gave it (on average) four and a half stars, and Harriet Klausner gave it five. This was a generous if odd ranking, because Harriet did not take the trouble to read even the blurb on the dustjacket this time, but merely made up something based on the title.”

“Don't even get me started on Harriet Klausner.”

“She's a very sloppy and inaccurate reviewer. I admire her enterprise in making her mark so strongly early on, but I don't even bother to read her reviews anymore. And, yes, she loves me, too, but I find it hard to get excited about it”


Malleus said...

If authors don't like Harriet reviewing them, why do they send free copies to her? OK, perhaps it's not them but their publishers — can't they request that Harriet be kept out of it then?

Embee said...

I think it has something to do with their editors and their publishers. Authors seem to be helpless. It may be another reason that many authors are turning to self-publishing, to give themselves more control over their works.

As to Harriet, she can review anything just like any Amazon reader or other reader. No one can stop her because she'll find a way to get the book. There are no limitations on reviewers as far as I can tell.

But they do wind up discussing on her many discussion threads which is where a lot of these comments came from.

Deborah Hern said...

Coming to this discussion a little late, after the holidays. I think the reason Hattie still gets reams of books to "review" is simple. Her name is in the publisher's send-to database.

I'm not dissing the publishers or their shipping/mailing depts, but I think it's that simple. I review. For personal reasons that are not important here, I once stopped reviewing anything at all for an entire month. Not one review did I post. And, still, the books for the next month arrived right on schedule, with no interruption.

When I started reviewing again and sending links to the publicists (who are uniformly nice, btw)one said, "I wondered what happened to you," but that was it.

So I'd guess she's in the databases and no amount of crappy, inaccurate, plagarised reviews or outside a-ha caught-you moments will stop them.

Also, Embee's correct. The authors, in this situation have no control. It's the publicists, doing their jobs, in conjunction with the shipping people (who seem like Santa's elves and work no matter what holiday it is!) that send out the books.