The moment your book hits the market, you have to switch gears from writer to book promoter. From artist to business man. As a business man, you’ll have to spend money to market and promote your book, which is no longer a book, but a “product” for public consumption.
That’s a cold way of looking at things, but that’s (unfortunately) how publishers look at the books they release to determine the perfect equation for profit.
When I released “Amidst Traffic,” I became starry-eyed and giddy by the idea of getting my book reviewed by Kirkus, one of the major book reviewers in the industry. I thought for sure that Kirkus would love the book, pick it for Editor’s choice, show it off to hundreds of thousands of unique web visitors, and I’d make a killing.
Heck, I might even score a starred review, I was so confident.
Not only was I starry-eyed, but I was also impatient. Instead of paying $425.00 for a review that might take 9 weeks, I decided to fork over the extra money and paid $575.00 for the 4-6 week review.
Once the review was published, however, nobody saw it. It got tucked away three or four layers deep into the Kirkus labyrinth of thousands of reviews, and you wouldn’t find it unless you searched for it specifically.
I thought that by getting my book reviewed by Kirkus, I’d get immediate coverage and exposure.
Only an extreme select few books get selected by their editors for a featured review, and even fewer (literary greats) actually get a star. They don’t give those things out like kindergarten teachers, you know.
Before I go further, please know that this article is not a criticism of Kirkus or their reviewing system. I think they’re extremely fair and objective, and that’s what they OUGHT to be.
My point is that if you’re an indie author, their review is not worth investing your money. You have to invest the finances you have like a business man, and in this case, Kirkus Reviews is a poor investment. That is, unless, you’ve been reviewed so many times and by so many objective reviewers that you KNOW Kirkus will love your book (and therefore feature it to their massive audience).
How to better spend that money:
With a little bit of patience and wise discernment, I could have spent that same $575.00 and gotten a lot more out of it.
Here are some objective book reviewing companies that charge a lot less:
(Note: When I first wrote this article and purchased a review from Indie Reader, it cost only $150, and it included submission to their award competition. They have since raised their prices and separated reviews from their awards submissions)
Depending on how much you want to spend, you can have a handful book reviews instead of just one, which means five times as much exposure and credibility for your book. Plus, the bonus with purchasing a review with Indie Reader is that your book will be enrolled in their Indie Reader Discovery Awards if your book scores four stars or more!
Kirkus will try to take your money by convincing you that their website receives hundreds of thousands of hits a week, which is true, they do… but the problem is that, as an indie author, your book is unlikely to get any exposure at all. It will never appear on their front page unless it scores extremely highly. And with more and more indie authors looking to buy reviews, the Kirkus website is flooded with books that they have to cycle through them quickly, therefore less exposure time for each one.
My personal assessment, in hindsight, is that you’re better off not wasting your money on this giant. Support some of the smaller, more independent reviewers out there. I’m sure the list is growing of legitimate review companies that charge between $100 and $150, which is a fair price tag.
What about you?
Do you have any book reviewing services to offer or recommend? Feel free to provide a link or two in the comments below!