Support for Indie Authors discussion

1291 views
Marketing Tactics > Making the most of Kirkus Reviews

Comments Showing 1-50 of 66 (66 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by T.J. (new)

T.J. (teejayslee) | 14 comments I spent some precious funds on a KIRKUS review for my first book and used it heavily in all social media and other communications and in Amazon advertising. I did see a small lift in sales post KIRKUS vs pre-KIRKUS so I decided to invest again for my second book.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/search/...

Apart from quoting the review in social media and advertising is there another channel I could be using to get the most from these reviews? KIRKUS is offering all sorts of advertising and promotional opportunities through their portals (advertising on their site, setting up an author page on their site) but so far I don't see the value in these and they are v expensive... I don't believe the idea that some random publisher will troll through KIRKUS site and land on my ad/page and offer me a deal. But then I don't buy lottery tickets either!

Any thoughts welcome!


message 2: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Pack (capack) | 50 comments I use Kirkus Reviews for editorial reviews for my novels, and I also advertised with them for my first book because it received a starred review. I don't know how much it affected sales, but aside from the first ad, Kirkus featured my book as a book of the month a couple of months later, and then named it to its Best Indie Books of 2014 list in the December issue. Plus they threw in a free author page. So I got some mileage out of it, but I only think it was because it had a starred review.


message 3: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments My rule of thumb is that if I would personally consider a review service credible and use it to make buying decisions, I'd consider using it for our books. If I don't, I wouldn't. I believe that most of our potential reader have roughly similar views to mine.

Personally, I don't consider Kirkus to be a credible service and would not consider using them. But that is a personal opinion.


message 4: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Pack (capack) | 50 comments Kirkus has reviewed books by Clive Kussler, Doug Preston & Lincoln Childs. I figure: if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me.


message 5: by Garfield (new)

Garfield Whyte (garfieldwhyte) | 124 comments I found Kirkus review to be way over priced and the quality of their review was way below standard compared to Book Viral, Readers favorite and Self Publishing review. Kirkus gave me a 4 star review for my TJ's last summer in cape cod but I could hardly find anything from their review to use....their review was lousy. The other reviewers seemed like they really read the book.


message 6: by C.A. (new)

C.A. Pack (capack) | 50 comments Garfield,
I've used Readers Favorite as well, but I had the same problem with one of their reviews that you had with Kirkus. It's weird because it was a favorable review, but I just couldn't pull anything from it. I'm going to have to try Book Viral and Self Publishing Review for my novellas. Thanks for mentioning them. I'll stick with Kirkus for the novels. I've always been able to pull quotes from them in the past.


message 7: by T.J. (new)

T.J. (teejayslee) | 14 comments Pulling good quotes from the reviews hasn't been a challenge and I don't find credibility an issue. Before I submitted I checked their reviews and a large proportion of them are negative or equivocal but usually constructive rather than abusive. thx for the pointers to other review options though.

TJ


message 8: by Keith (new)

Keith Yocum | 2 comments Interesting thread on Kirkus; much give & take on the value of paying for their reviews on many indie forums. For the record, Kirkus is quite reputable, certainly more substantial and followed by the publishing industry than new indie start-up review sites. Question for a writer should always be ROI, and their ad programs are expensive so be careful. Personally, I used them 2x's and the first novel reviewed was slightly negative, but spot on regarding weakness in a plot line. The review of the second novel was well done, professional and very positive. I used their blurb on the cover. Interestingly, Kindle Scout winners get their manuscript sent to a professional editor at Kirkus (I'm fortunate to have been picked), and my returned manuscript from their editor was quite spectacular and incredibly useful. So, I would be careful about disparaging remarks about Kirkus, but also careful about their business model to get advertising dollars from you!


message 9: by Garfield (new)

Garfield Whyte (garfieldwhyte) | 124 comments Hi CA....i looked at your website and it loos quite tasteful.....back to Kirkus I used them again for another book< Nostalgia from a City set upon a hill and the reviewer has so many inaccuracies in it , I was baffled. I pointed them out to Kirkus and pointed them out to the pages as evidence for their errors. It was a totally different thing from an opinion, it was all factual inaccuracies...they corrected about 3 of their mistakes and then refused to corre3ct the others, i guess they were too embarrassed...I asked for a refund on the basis that the fact that they corrected some of the errors was deemed an admission of multiple errors and they were far from being contrite and failed to do the honorable thing and refund. I guess Kirkus is so big a review company that they didnt care about their reputation.
Luckily I have it all in emails.


message 10: by Garfield (new)

Garfield Whyte (garfieldwhyte) | 124 comments Keith wrote: "Interesting thread on Kirkus; much give & take on the value of paying for their reviews on many indie forums. For the record, Kirkus is quite reputable, certainly more substantial and followed by t..."

Its not disparaging remarks , i have it all documented.


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments I published my first novel late last year. I checked out Kirkus Reviews, but when I saw that they charge you for them, I decided not to go that route. I don't think paid reviews are any more credible than "advertorials." I signed up for Netgalley through the Independent Publishers Association and garnered mostly favorable reviews through that channel. Netgalley reviewers do not get paid. I'd hope to get one or two professional reviews, but the people who read and reviewed my book were not pros, "just" readers. It's tough to get a professional reviewer to read and write up a book by a total unknown author with no backing from a publishing house. I recently sent two copies of my paperback to Publishers Weekly. They review books by self-published authors without charge. I'm hopeful they consider my book and review it positively.


message 12: by Amie (new)

Amie O'Brien | 280 comments Stephen wrote: "I published my first novel late last year. I checked out Kirkus Reviews, but when I saw that they charge you for them, I decided not to go that route. I don't think paid reviews are any more credib..."

Oh, I didn't know that about Publisher's Weekly. How cool! I'll have to add that to my to-do list. Thanks, Steven!


message 13: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Malik | 13 comments Stephen wrote: "I recently sent two copies of my paperback to Publishers Weekly. They review books by self-published authors without charge. I'm hopeful they consider my book and review it positively. "

You can also enter for the Booklife Prize, and they will review your work and give you one hell of a critique.

The one they gave me was immensely valuable; although my book didn't score high enough to have any real hope of winning -- although it did quite well, if I may say -- the reviewer's comments helped me figure out that I was pushing the book in the wrong genre.

In the end, entering for the Booklife Prize was money well spent. The review helped us make sense out of some reader reviews that have left us scratching our heads, and helped focus the next wave of marketing. Plus, we got a great quote for the hardcover jacket. It looks like it did well enough to still get listed on the second or third page of entries, so there's that, too. YMMV.


message 14: by Garfield (new)

Garfield Whyte (garfieldwhyte) | 124 comments C.A. wrote: "Garfield,
I've used Readers Favorite as well, but I had the same problem with one of their reviews that you had with Kirkus. It's weird because it was a favorable review, but I just couldn't pull ..."


Readers favourite is good too and Book Viral is excellent


message 15: by Jude (new)

Jude Hayland | 34 comments Could someone advise me whether these review outlets mentioned are for novels self-published in the US or in the U.K. - ? Thanks- I am a UK writer although spend a lot of time in Greece(Crete)


message 16: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments I believe KIRKUS will review any novel or self-published book ..
Given my recent experience, I am not comfortable recommending KIRKUS ..
On the other hand, KIRKUS is a highly recognized reviewing institution ...


message 17: by Jude (new)

Jude Hayland | 34 comments Thanks


message 18: by Amie (new)

Amie O'Brien | 280 comments Joseph wrote: "Stephen wrote: "I recently sent two copies of my paperback to Publishers Weekly. They review books by self-published authors without charge. I'm hopeful they consider my book and review it positive..."

Was BookLife nearly as pricey as Kirkus?


message 19: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Malik | 13 comments Amie wrote: "Was BookLife nearly as pricey as Kirkus?"

I believe it's less. It's $99. The cutoff is 31 August.


message 20: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments I would NOT recommend BookLife ... seems like a Publishers Weekly marketing ploy to tap on Indie Authors/Publishers ...it is almost like buying a lottery ticket :-))


message 21: by Scott (new)

Scott Depalma (scott_depalma) | 4 comments I also feel that the main purpose of BookLife is to tap into the enormous revenue stream of Indie Authors. It may work for you if you have a highly commercial book. For works that are are not mainstream, I wouldn't recommend Publisher's Weekly.

I had a very positive experience with Kirkus. As a self-published author, it was the only prominent reviewer I could get to even look at my book, and I happily included their blurb on my book jacket. It made a big difference to me in terms of the "legitimacy" of my book.


message 22: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments Scott, I included portions of their blurb in my AMAZON page for SONORA PASS ...unfortunately I got the impression the reviewer assigned had no appreciation for the plot of the story at all ...


message 23: by Scott (new)

Scott Depalma (scott_depalma) | 4 comments Hi Jaime... Interesting. For what it's worth, I got a glowing review from Kirkus, and excoriated by Publishers Weekly!


message 24: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments Good Feedback !


message 25: by Stephen (last edited Aug 24, 2017 11:04AM) (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments Amie wrote: "Joseph wrote: "Stephen wrote: "I recently sent two copies of my paperback to Publishers Weekly. They review books by self-published authors without charge. I'm hopeful they consider my book and rev..."

I didn't pay anything to have the book reviewed, although I had already paid to be included in Sept. Publishers Weekly self-published authors promotion.

I paid $119 to Booklife. The minimum price for a "traditional" Kirkus review is $425. It may be that I won't get a "glowing review" from Publishers Weekly. But I think PW is better respected than Kirkus, so I'm willing to take my chances with them.


message 26: by Gisela (new)

Gisela Hausmann | 47 comments Stephen wrote: "Amie wrote: "Joseph wrote: "Stephen wrote: "I recently sent two copies of my paperback to Publishers Weekly. They review books by self-published authors without charge. I'm hopeful they consider my..."
Is this maybe a typo?
$119 or $149?

I paid to have one of my books included but PW/Booklife did not review this book so I went to Kirkus who awarded it with a positive review.

That ought to show all of us how "different" interests/target groups/perceptions are.

Book Life did not choose the book for review but Kirkus awarded it with a positive review. So, I use the Kirkus review to market the book to libraries and colleges.


message 27: by Angela (new)

Angela Page | 3 comments I would skip both Booklife and Kirkus. NY Lit Mag seems to be a better bet and will try some of the others mentioned above. Thanks all for the comments and suggestions!


message 28: by Jenna (new)

Jenna (stjenna) | 22 comments I used Booklife and was really happy with the experience. Of course, it helps that I got a really high rating, but what I really appreciated were the quotes I've been able to use on Amazon and my website. I feel that it definitely adds credibility to my work. I just can't seem to get myself to pay $425 for Kirkus though.


message 29: by Stephen (last edited Aug 24, 2017 03:07PM) (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments Scott wrote: "I also feel that the main purpose of BookLife is to tap into the enormous revenue stream of Indie Authors. It may work for you if you have a highly commercial book. For works that are are not mains..."

I just double checked. BookLife does not charge for registration or reviews, per their web site: "There is no fee of any kind associated with BookLife registration or with submitting a book for review." They also say that you cannot buy a review from them; they consider books for review "solely on merit." They will review an indie book if it looks promising to them. Of course, I don't know what appeals to them, but I assume that good writing would be an excellent place to start.

Bottom line: Because BookLife doesn't charge for reviews and is selective about the books they review, their reviews should have more credibility, especially with bookstores and libraries, than a pay-to-play Kirkus Review.

I paid $119 for an ad spot in PW Select (online and in print). PW Select is geared to self-published, indie authors. Their ads are branded as BookLife ads.

I hope this is helpful.


message 30: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Stephen, can you remove the link please? The original post was made prior to the link ban, but we no longer allow them. Thanks.


message 31: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments Christina wrote: "Hi Stephen, can you remove the link please? The original post was made prior to the link ban, but we no longer allow them. Thanks."
Done.


message 32: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Thanks!


message 33: by M. (new)

M. Grant | 1 comments Does anyone know what Book Viral charges for a review? You have to submit all of the information and wait to hear back for pricing. Just curious before I go through submitting. Thanks!


message 34: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments M. wrote: "Does anyone know what Book Viral charges for a review? You have to submit all of the information and wait to hear back for pricing. Just curious before I go through submitting. Thanks!"

M, you may want to start your own thread with this question since people using Kirkus might not be the same as the ones using Book Viral.


message 35: by Garfield (new)

Garfield Whyte (garfieldwhyte) | 124 comments G.G. wrote: "M. wrote: "Does anyone know what Book Viral charges for a review? You have to submit all of the information and wait to hear back for pricing. Just curious before I go through submitting. Thanks!"
..."


I had a good experience with Book Viral, they were very, very professional


message 36: by Cay (new)

Cay (caygould) | 7 comments Jaime wrote: "I believe KIRKUS will review any novel or self-published book ..
Given my recent experience, I am not comfortable recommending KIRKUS ..
On the other hand, KIRKUS is a highly recognized reviewing i..."


I also gave Kirkus a try and was not happy with my experience. It was relatively expensive and the review, which I got to preview ahead of its publication, was little more than a synopsis of my book in a short paragraph. It was not what I expected. Kirkus does say they will provide a thorough review - not necessarily a positive one. Its ok if the reviewer did not connect with my novel - but I expected an honest review from an honest read and that was not what I got.


message 37: by L.K. (last edited Aug 25, 2017 08:12AM) (new)

L.K. Chapman | 150 comments My most recent novel received a mixed review from Kirkus with some positive and some negative comments. There was one particularly positive sentence which I sometimes quote but aside from that I'm not sure whether it has really achieved anything for me. My thinking behind trying Kirkus was that I hoped a positive review might help my chances with large promo sites like Bookbub, but it's impossible to say whether it's had any influence or not. (In fact my novel that does not have a Kirkus review is the one that got selected by Bookbub a few years ago!)


message 38: by Gisela (new)

Gisela Hausmann | 47 comments Stephen wrote: "Scott wrote: "I also feel that the main purpose of BookLife is to tap into the enormous revenue stream of Indie Authors. It may work for you if you have a highly commercial book. For works that are..."

Well, @Jaime, that may be, but are librarians looking?
I know two authors whose book got reviewed by Booklife and both of them did not sell a single copy, not one.

On the other hand, I marketed four books to libraries; the one which received a positive review from Kirkus made it in more than three times as many public and college libraries.

Of course, this might be a coincidence, who has money to test this thoroughly... but still ... it's crystal clear to me that librarians like Kirkus.


message 39: by Garfield (new)

Garfield Whyte (garfieldwhyte) | 124 comments Kirkus feeds of self published authors....they dont worth their fee one bit.


message 40: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments G.G. wrote: "M. wrote: "Does anyone know what Book Viral charges for a review? You have to submit all of the information and wait to hear back for pricing. Just curious before I go through submitting. Thanks!"
..."

Check their website. They have several price options, starting at $150, that offer different levels of service. They say they don't review all books submitted to them. They "look inside" your book on Amazon, and if they like what they see, they'll invite you to submit the entire book. That's when you pay them. They say they will not write an unfavorable review, so if their reviewer can't say anything nice about your book, they won't post a review. And in that case, they say they will issue a refund. I don't recall if it's full or partial.

I sent them a link to my novel yesterday. They should get back to me in three days. I think they're based in the UK, because the prices are in pounds, with smaller print indicating the cost in U.S. dollars.


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura Koerber | 24 comments I paid for a Kirkus Review. The review I got reflected the reviewer's disdain for the characters in the book and showed clearly that he had not read more than the first thirty pages. I am a former literature teacher, so I wrote a review of the review and gave it a failing grade. I requested a new review containing the elements normally found in a book review: discussion of style, plot, theme, character development, and audience. They responded by giving me new review by a different reviewer, I got a starred review, my book was featured for a month, and I made the list of one hundred best. Was that all guilt on their part, or is my book actually good? So...I would not go to Kirkus again.


message 42: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments Laura,
Thanks for some honest feedback !


message 43: by Cay (new)

Cay (caygould) | 7 comments I had a similar experience to Laura's. I felt the review was shoddily done and barely more than a flimsy synopsis of the book. I would not recommend the relatively high investment in Kirkus.


message 44: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments DITTO !


message 45: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments FYI to everybody. BookViral has accepted my novel for review. They got back to me within 3 days. I signed up for their "fast-track" service, which promises a complete review within 14 days. BookViral gave me a 20-percent discount, cost $205.36 U.S. (they are in the UK and posted prices are in pounds, with equivalent dollar price indicated per the current exchange rate). BookViral says they are selective, agreeing to review only 35 percent of the books submitted to them. They are much less expensive than Kirkus, and here is the kicker: They pledge that in the event their reviewers do not like your book and cannot write a favorable review suitable for posting/quoting, they will fully refund your money.

I will post an update on this thread and most likely start a new one dedicated to BookViral. I never would have known about them without the comments of other contributors to this thread.
Mahalo! (Hawaiian for thank you)


message 46: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Olmos | 12 comments Excellent !


message 47: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Stephen wrote: "They pledge that in the event their reviewers do not like your book and cannot write a favorable review suitable for posting/quoting, they will fully refund your money."

And it's things like this that remove all legitimacy from editorial reviews. All reviews are supposed to be honest, even editorial reviews.


message 48: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments I have received honest, and mostly favorable reviews/ratings from readers--none of whom I know or vice versa--on Amazon and Goodreads (9 on Amazon, 18 on Goodreads, with some overlap). I have tried to interest professional reviewers in critiquing my book for months, without success. I signed up early on for Netgalley in hopes this would draw their attention. I did get some reviews off Netgalley, but none from recognized critics. I recently submitted my book for review to Publishers Weekly/Booklife, which does not charge.

Yes, BookViral charges you. Yes, they say they will not post a review of your book if their reviewer(s) can't write a positive one. I don't know if/how they pay their reviewers or what, if any, incentives the latter have to give books positive reviews. It may be that they are encouraged to find something positive to say no matter what. But if BookViral is as selective about the books they accept for review as they say they are, their reviewers may not find it hard to give good reviews to the books they are assigned. Who knows? Others who've posted here have said BookViral is "professional." I decided to suspend disbelief and take the plunge with them. My book occupies a sub-niche of a narrow niche (historical fiction) and I need some good blurbs to promote it to as wide a readership as I can.


message 49: by Delores (new)

Delores Friedman | 26 comments I would just like to thank everyone who posted here on BookViral, and Stephen for mentioning Publishers Weekly, which I did not know would accept a self published book. My book has just gone to copy edit so I am not ready to submit but you have helped give me focus. Thanks. Delores L.owe Friedman


message 50: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 35 comments I just had an extraordinary email exchange with John Reese of BookViral. I plan to share it here, but I will wait until he has had a chance to read and perhaps react to my response.


« previous 1
back to top