Your opinion: Good, bad, or indifferent to be reviewed by Amazon's #1 Customer Reviewer, HK?

Reading through the thread of David Terrenoire's "Reading, writing, and really lame reviews" prompts me to ask a question that (I suspect) will generate considerable response, so I'm taking the liberty of starting a new discussion.

The question, addressed to both authors and readers: Do you feel that a review by Amazon's #1-ranked customer reviewer, the notorious HK, is a plus, a minus, or pretty much without consequence?

Until recently, when I started gearing up my publicity and promotion machine in preparation for the September release of my first novel (SILENT COUNSEL, Windermere Press), I was familiar, in general terms, with the Amazon customer review process--I knew that customers could post reviews. Being a frequent Amazon purchaser, I came to recognize HK's name, but that was the extent of it.

As I started promotion in earnest, I delved beneath the surface to familiarize myself with as many aspects of publicity as I could, and I began reading some of the comments posted to Ms. K's reviews. I was surprised to learn of the scope and depth of controversy that surrounds her.

So, my simple question is: Is it a good thing or a bad thing to have a review from Ms. K? Or does it just not make a darn bit of difference?


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I've found lots of book I would otherwise never of heard of from the recommendations thing you're talking about.

I can understand what you mean by the used copies sections. Although as a reader, I like it.
Harriet Klausner submitted her first review to Amazon on November 22, 1999, nearly 8 years ago. In all she has submitted 14,371 (as of this moment!) which means that she has on average reviewed just over 5 books every single day during that period. In her profile she calls herself a 'speed reader' and reads 2 books a day, which immediately calls into question how she can review 5. And give all of them nice happy opinions.

I'm not going to waste (any more) time analysing this woman's authenticity or speculating about her influence. I would instead prefer to sum her 'work' up by recalling a humourous little cartoon puzzle I first saw many years ago - I will do my best to describe it.

Ferdinand the Bull was in his field, while Daisy the Cow was in hers. Much to Ferdinand's frustration, he was separated from the source of his ardent desires by a very tall fence. The puzzle was to work out how Ferdinand could reach Daisy, because I was assured there was an answer. I looked at the picture closely. There was Ferdinand, there was Daisy. Both surrounded to all four sides by a huge fence, impossible to scale or leap over. There were no gaps, no gates, no doors. Then I noticed something else, in a corner of Ferdinand's field. It was difficult to tell what shape it was but it seemed to be about half the size of his head, and slightly darker in colour than his own hide. I had the growing feeling that whatever the solution to this conundrum should be, a clue lay in this object in the corner.

As everybody has done on the many occasions that I have drawn this diagram and challenged them with for the answer, I asked just one question.

"What's that?"

And it was true. The answer did indeed lie right there.

It was Bullshit.
If that fence were made from anything but solid steel, then the bull could just charge through it.
I think that a number of minor reviewers use the reviews published by PW, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal. All of these appear the month before the book comes out. Some of the phrasing of such reviews gives away the source. It could explain the arithmetic problem above. No harm done. Authors like to get as many reviews as possible.


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