Kirkus Reviews is among the most recognized names in book reviewing, having been in the industry for over 85 years. For many, a review from Kirkus is a coveted stamp of approval. But how well does it cater to the unique needs and aspirations of indie authors? Let’s delve deep into the pros, cons, and ultimately, the worthiness of Kirkus Reviews for the indie author community.


1. Prestige and Credibility Kirkus is undeniably one of the most reputable names in the book review sector. A positive review can offer a significant boost to a book’s credibility. Many readers, booksellers, and librarians trust Kirkus‘ evaluations, making it a potent marketing tool.

2. Inclusion in Kirkus Indie Program Understanding the burgeoning self-publishing market, Kirkus has a dedicated segment for indie authors called Kirkus Indie. This ensures that indie books are not overshadowed by traditionally published works and get the attention they deserve.

3. Comprehensive Review Kirkus provides detailed, objective, and honest reviews, typically around 250-300 words. These reviews can be a valuable feedback tool for authors, whether they’re novices or experienced.

4. Marketing Opportunities A positive Kirkus review can be leveraged for marketing. From featuring the review on your book cover to using it in press releases, the possibilities are varied.


1. Costly for Indie Authors While traditionally published authors usually don’t bear the direct cost of a Kirkus review (as their publishing house might take care of it), indie authors must. The fee can be a substantial investment, especially for new authors.

2. No Guarantee of a Positive Review Paying for a review does not ensure it will be positive. While this upholds Kirkus‘ integrity, it also means authors risk receiving a negative review after making a significant financial investment.

3. Limited Impact on Sales While a Kirkus review can add credibility to a book, it doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Many factors influence a book’s sales, and relying on a single review might not bring the desired ROI.

4. Turnaround Time For authors looking for quick reviews, the standard Kirkus Indie review’s turnaround time might feel lengthy, though they do offer expedited services at higher rates.

Is Kirkus Reviews Worth It for Indie Authors?

The answer largely depends on what an author seeks from the review.

  • If you’re an indie author aiming to gain credibility and leverage a review for long-term branding, investing in a Kirkus review might be a smart move.
  • If immediate sales or a limited budget are concerns, it might be worth exploring other avenues first.

Remember, while a Kirkus review can be a fantastic feather in your cap, the most successful indie authors often combine it with other marketing and promotional strategies for maximum impact.

In conclusion, Kirkus Reviews offers undeniable prestige. However, indie authors should weigh the cost against their particular goals and budget before diving in. As always, due diligence and a multifaceted approach to book promotion tend to yield the best results.