Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Money For Nothing

There's an unwritten rule in the media about not reviewing self-published books. There are counted exceptions, but generally, do-it-yourselfers are left with a handful of options. One of them is Kirkus Indie http://www.kirkusreviews.com/indie/about/, the independent author's review branch of Kirkus Media, one of the most important book review magazines in the United States. Anyone from publishers, libraries, agents (including TV and film), producers, etc., browse Kirkus in search for their next potential client. So it's no surprise that getting reviewed by the self-proclaimed "World's Toughest Book Critics" is no cheap task.

For $425 ($575 if you want the express service) Kirkus Indie will give an author a review between 7-9 weeks (3-4 if express). What you pay for is the chance of getting reviewed, and of course, not the outcome. A writer might shell out some hard-earned cash just to get their manuscript trashed by a Kirkus critic. For better or worse, this is one of the few big-name reviewers an author can turn to when searching for some industry validation.

When I got my review, I was both excited and worried. Thankfully, the review was positive. The reviewer was professional and pulled no punches in the four lines of actual analysis. Yes, you read it well; four lines. I couldn't believe my eyes; the result was a massive paragraph of which only about 2% was an actual review. The rest was a slightly inaccurate synopsis of my novel, with a plot spoiler included. What a disappointment.

I hope other writers have a better outcome than mine. Self-published authors already have enough trouble finding exposure and have to squeeze out every drop of their limited budgets in order to give their manuscripts exposure. Kirkus Indie gave me what is basically a blurb for a pretty steep price. Keep on running!

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