Author Topic: Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money  (Read 9107 times)

Offline WhatAWriter

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Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money
« on: May 05, 2014, 01:05:40 PM »
I recently spent $450 for a review by Kirkus Reviews. I thought that if the review was good, I could use it to help market my novel. If the review was bad, I could use it to learn something.
What I received was essentially a summary of my novel with a couple of comments. I could not tell if the reviewer thought highly of my novel or writing, or if the reviewer thought my novel was not good and needed work.
I was very disappointed, as I had expected a full review, not just a summary of my novel. The reviewer said a few good things about dialogue and the ending, some critical things about my narrative techniques (which I and my developmental editor think the reviewer misunderstood in her rush to finish the novel and the review).
I wrote to Kirkus and told them of my disappointment in the review. I got back a reply that if there was something factually incorrect in the review, they might consider reviewing the situation, however, the review itself was subjective. Please read their terms and conditions.
I wrote back and repeated that the review was a summary, not a review that argued a point and gave an opinion, pro or con, about my work. I even passed along a link to a handout on how to write a book review. However, Kirkus wrote back and again asked for factual inaccuracies, of which there were none, which leaves me out of luck.
So, I've spent $450 for a so-called review that was a summary I could have written. There were about four lines of solid critique, some positive, some not, and that was it. I could not for the life of me tell whether this reviewer even liked or disliked the novel. So I cannot publish this on the Kirkus site, which means I won't be able to use the review. I feel that I have wasted my $450 completely.
Bottom line: in my opinion, beware about spending money on a Kirkus Review. You may get a reviewer like I did who just summarized the story. Spend the money on a well-known developmental editor instead.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 01:07:38 PM by WhatAWriter »

Offline Aiala

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Re: Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2014, 01:55:42 PM »
I feel that I have wasted my $450 completely.

Not completely; you've learned two valuable lessons. The first is an old one: Caveat Emptor.  The second is, so-called critics and their opinions are utterly worthless.  :)


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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2014, 02:51:12 PM »
Well, you can tell if the reviewer loved your book on Kirkus if they gave you a star.

But, even if you didn't get a star, it doesn't mean they didn't like it.

And giving a summary of the book with just a few lines of review is common on Kirkus. Sometimes it's better than others, depending on the reviewer
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Offline MaryL

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Re: Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2014, 05:39:54 PM »
From my experience, the paid reviews tend to be kinder. I've been lucky, but other friends of mine with big 5 publishers have been toasted. "Narcissistic drivel" "Shift this to the bottom of the pile."

Most Kirkus reviews I've read (including my own) consist of a summary and one or two quotable sentences or phrases. Sometimes, as with the cases above, those quotable bits are not helpful for author promotion.

In my case, I can't choose where the review goes. If I get a bad one, it goes on Barnes & Noble and other sites whether I want it to or not. I think with paid reviews, you can decide where it goes. I may be wrong.

Anyhoo--my understanding is that they give you a summary and one take-away… sometimes two.

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Offline ImwithCoCo

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Re: Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 09:58:38 PM »
yeah every novel I've ever looked up on there gets a full summary with about two sentences of opinion.
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Offline TerryRodgers

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Re: Kirkus Reviews -- think twice before wasting your money
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2014, 10:42:35 AM »
I've never purchased a novel based on a review and never will. People's opinion are subjective and never agree with my own. I read and/or seen movies that received bad reviews that I thouroughly enjoyed. Is this something normal or only what a self-published author would do? I just can't imagine paying for a review. Doesn't sound right.

Seriously, how many thought Sharknado was actually a well put together movie? And another is coming