Kirkus Indie: Self-Publishing Quality Control

A recent article in Poets & Writers by Melissa Faliveno, “The Best Reviews Money can Buy: Critical Care for Self-Published Articles,” opened my eyes to  fantastic opportunities for the independent authors that float around the edges of the publishing industry.

Kirkus Indie writes reviews for hungry, under-represented authors. But they don’t do it for kicks. A review costs $425. They promise a professional and honest response, but not a positive one. Because of this caveat, Indie gives authors a peek at the review before publishing it let  them choose whether or not it should see the light of day. If the author gives them the go-ahead, they spread the review as far as they can reach:

If you choose to publish your review on our website, we will distribute it to our licensees, including Google,, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and more. On top of that, our editors will consider it for publication in Kirkus Reviews magazine, which is read by librarians, booksellers, publishers, agents, journalists and entertainment executives. Your review may also be selected to be featured in our email newsletter, which is distributed to more than 40,000 industry professionals and consumers. (Author Services)

Since Kirkus Indie has high standards, they are respected by industry professionals. This meets a concern I’ve had about self-publishing for a long time: quality control. How can anyone trust that you’re a decent writer unless a known agent or publisher backs you up? One way of creating credibility is by shelling out the $425 and hoping that Kirkus Indie likes your book. And if they don’t, at least you know what you need to improve!


For an example of Kirkus Indie’s work, read the review for Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh

Are you considering self-publishing or traditional? How have you approached book marketing and author publicity?


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