Monday, January 28, 2013

Authors Support Harriet Klausner (Sort Of...)

Harriet Klausner has become quite the popular topic in the blogosphere since the New York Times article last month.  I recently came across blog posts from two authors whom Harriet has "reviewed," and I thought I'd pass them along (with comments, of course).

From Tara Taylor Quinn

My favorite part is the following: "The review was…well, it made me feel really good as I’m staring down a daunting deadline."

I like how she doesn't actually say what she thought of the review.  Which contained factual inaccuracies, by the way, that I could figure out from reading the book jacket.  Harriet was really phoning it in on that one.

Then, however, those of us who comment on reviews over at Amazon.com got singled out for being mean.

Here is another quote from the linked-to piece by Ms. Quinn:
And then I noticed nine comments to the review.  Not review of the book, but comments on the review.  They were horrible.  Not directed at me but at Harriet.  They called her a machine.  They were mean to the point of vicious.  They claimed that she didn’t read the books she reviews.  And I have no idea where this wrath is coming from!  Is Harriet still around and reading a book or more a day as she used to do and people just don’t get it?  Or has someone made some software that puts drones out to latch onto book titles and post some generic review to it under Harriet’s name?

Regardless, why would people need to go on my book page and comment on a review?  What does it matter to them what anyone says about my book?
First of all, these comments were pretty tame, by our standards.  Second, they were taken out of context.  Anyone who actually follows the comments on Harriet's reviews will recognize the banter that goes on among our little community of Harriet fans (and I use that term only in the Amazon sense of people who can't vote on her "reviews" anymore).

And yeah, Harriet doesn't read the books she reviews.  It's not possible to read an average of 7 books a day for 11 years straight, let alone comprehend all of these books and paste a mangled book description on Amazon.  Where's the time for cooking and cleaning, for interacting with family, for sleeping, for grocery shopping, for listing the unread books on half.com, for trips to the post office to mail off the unread books to half.com customers, for showering and other personal grooming, etc.?

As for why it matters to people what anyone says about a book?  That's what a review is FOR.  It's there so people can make decisions about what to purchase.  A review might be the deciding factor, especially when one is considering an author one hasn't read before.  And if the review is bogus, people ought to be forewarned.

As for being called "wrathful," well, we've been accused of having rage before.  (Check out the hidden comment on the second page.)  Couldn't be further from the truth.  We're actually a well-adjusted bunch of people who have hobbies, jobs, and lives.  We just happen to think that honesty is a virtue worth preserving.  And sure, we vent our frustration with humor sometimes, but that's healthier than some of the alternatives.

Here's one from Rachel Neumeier

A quote:
Well, her reviews make it perfectly clear that she really did read the Griffin trilogy, and since I know *I* didn’t pay her for those reviews, my guess is, she REALLY DOES read roughly a zillion books a day. I’m glad I don’t read that fast, as how could you linger over a book long enough to actually enjoy it if you read half a dozen per day?
Rachel, no one is accusing you of paying HK for the reviews.  We are accusing your publisher of sending her advance review copies (which she did not disclose, as required by FTC guidelines).  I refer you to the numbers in the earlier section of this post.  She does not read seven books a day.  I doubt she reads one book a day.

I checked out the Klausner "review" of one of your books.  A book which I have read, by the way.  The "review" contains nothing but plot summary which could have been obtained from anywhere -- the Publishers Weekly review (if there was one), the book description on Amazon, the book jacket, or publicity materials from your publisher -- and a few generic comments about worldbuilding and the villain that really could have been applied to any other book Harriet has "reviewed" in her tenure at Amazon.  Ah, once we were all so naïve as this author.

At least Ms. Neumeier realizes that there is no joy in sitting there, flipping pages and "speed reading."  (Claims of which I simply don't believe.  I saw a demo on television once.  The guy couldn't go any more into depth than the information contained in the back cover blurb of the book he supposedly read.  He was unable to answer any specific questions about the content.  Because you can't absorb the content by only flipping pages.)

1 comment:

Sara said...

Excellent! I don't understand why some people seem to think we have rage issues. I'm known to my friends and family as the peace-maker. I just don't like liars, and Harriet Klausner is one of the biggest liars on this planet!