Several times in Newsletters during the past several years I’ve commented on my opinion of Kirkus Reviews and what I perceive as their lack of value. My contention is that the integrity of these reviews is suspect since the service is vended to authors for $400 by the Kirkus organization. And I find it abhorrent that the review service is offered by third parties such as Author Solutions, Inc., imprints at what I consider to be ludicrous markups, as I’ve had subscribers tell me that they’ve been asked to cough up as much a $4,000 for a Kirkus Review. I’m mentioning Kirkus in this current Newsletter broadcast because the company is having another $50,000 author contest. By appearance, this is a wonderful thing to provide, but I have to think it’s really more of a vehicle to add credibility to the name, which Mrs. Kirkus sold a couple of decades ago. It’s a shame that Kirkus has become what it is at present, and I continue to advise clients to spend their money on direct marketing efforts and avoid a review that everyone within the industry knows is purchased.
In the realm of a step’s being taken in what in my opinion is the right direction, Writer’s Digest recently ended its involvement with Abbott Press, a self-publishing entity run by none other than Author Solutions, Inc. Honesty compels me to say that I have never heard of Abbott Press, but the point is that companies are finally willing to understand that writers aren’t crazy when they report what they believe are egregious abuses on the part of the dozen or so imprints that fall under the ASI umbrella. I’ve discussed this in abundant terms in the past and I will continue to do so, with my position remaining what it has been since digital has evolved, and this is to self-publish, if this is a writer’s goal, as inexpensively as possible via an e-book first.
See how it goes, and if there are reasonable sales, find an Espresso Book Machine or have a local outfit run as few print copies as make economic sense. Try to sell these, and if successful contact a completely independent press, such as MIRA, for a larger print run. Avoid the hype of the publicity campaigns offered by ASI’s minions. Work your own blog instead. All indications as I know them are that you will be light years ahead and with a much healthier wallet than if succumbing to any self-publishing entity’s marketing “program(s).”