Frequently Asked Questions

Since I’m paying for the review, will it be positive?
Kirkus Indie reviewers are experienced professionals who honestly and impartially evaluate the books they receive. The resulting reviews can be positive—even earning a Kirkus Star, one of the industry’s most revered designations—negative, or anywhere in between. What we do guarantee is a fair, unbiased assessment of your work and its potential in the marketplace. No matter the outcome, you will have the option of keeping the review private and simply using the assessment as feedback to improve your craft. Otherwise, you can publish the review and use it to market your book to consumers or to catch the attention of a literary agent or publisher.

Does publication date affect my ability to get a review?
In the interest of introducing consumers and industry influencers to self-published books they might otherwise never discover, Kirkus Indie does not put any restrictions on publication dates for submissions. You may order a review for a book that’s been on the market for 10 years or for a book that doesn’t even have a publication date yet.

How does Kirkus decide which Indie reviews get published in the magazine and in the email newsletter?
Our editors select about 40 reviews to feature in each issue of the magazine, which we publish twice a month. The selections are 100 percent at the editors’ discretion, and they typically choose the strongest reviews in a variety of genres. They also choose one Indie review to feature in each edition of our email newsletter, which is distributed each week to more than 50,000 industry influencers and consumers.

How much summary content will be in my review?
Summary content is a fundamental element of Kirkus’ reviews, because Kirkus aims to help consumers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, agents, movie producers, and other influencers discover new books and authors. To achieve that goal, we offer enough summary content to give context to our criticism and help readers decide if the book will be of interest to them. Across all sections (traditional and Indie), our reviews include significant summary content as well as professional opinion-based analysis of the work.

How long is the review?
Reviews are approximately 250 to 300 words with a tone and style unique to Kirkus. We strongly recommend that, prior to placing an order, authors visit our website for examples of our reviews.

Will it hurt my chances of getting a positive review if I publish exclusively in e-book format? Also, will a cover design, marketing plan, or any other collateral information affect my review?
No. Our professional reviewers assess merit based on the value of the content and reading experience alone.

How do I know if my book received a Kirkus Star?
If you choose to publish your review on the Kirkus website, you will see whether your book earned a Kirkus Star. If your book does receive a Star, it will immediately be eligible for the Kirkus Prize.

My book is intended for a niche audience. Will that affect my chance of getting a positive review?
No. We will assign your book to a qualified, professional reviewer who will assess the work’s value to an audience who may be interested in reading your particular type of book. Our editors go to great lengths to match each submission with a reviewer who has deep experience or expertise with the book’s genre.

Who is reading my book?
Kirkus Indie works with approximately 200 reviewers. They include experienced professional writers, journalists, and academics in a variety of fields. Our editors assign titles based on a reviewer’s professional experience, expertise, and reading interests in order to find the most appropriate reader for your work.

When will I receive my review?
We calculate our due dates based on the date we receive your submission. If you order standard service, the review will be returned within 7-9 weeks of the date we receive your submission. If you order express service, you will receive the review within 4-6 weeks of the date we receive your submission. After we receive your submission, we will email you to confirm receipt and confirm your due date.

Does Kirkus Indie review all genres?
Yes. In our Indie program, Kirkus reviews everything from poetry and genre fiction to religious studies and specialized how-to books.

Does Kirkus Indie review audiobooks?
At this time, we do not review audiobooks in any format.

Does Kirkus Indie review foreign language books?
We review Spanish-language books, but we do not offer reviews of books in other languages at this time.

I’m not self-published, but my book did not get reviewed by Kirkus prior to publication. May I purchase a review through the Indie program?
Yes. Even if you are not self-published, you may order a review through the Indie program. This is common for authors whose publishers missed the galley submission deadline, whose books did not fall into the categories reviewed through our traditional program, or whose books simply weren’t slated for review due to the volume of submissions our editors receive.

How should I format my manuscript before submitting it?
We will accept any format, e-book or print, but here are our preferences:

        - Font: 12-point Times New Roman
        - Margins: 1” all around
        - Spacing: 1.5 or double
        - Page numbers: bottom of page, centered
        - If printed: Two copies, single-sided and bound

Please be sure to submit a polished, final version of your book (including illustrations, if applicable). Our reviewers will treat any title they receive as a finished work.

I have a series of books. Should I start by having the first book in the series reviewed, even if it is not my most recent title?
We strongly recommend that authors submit the first title in a given series so that our Indie reviewers can have the full context for the story or subject matter.

I want to place an order for a second review. Can I request to have the same reviewer read my second book?
Yes. If you were pleased with your first review, you may request to have the same reviewer read your next book. However, we can’t guarantee that the same reviewer will always be available.

I own or work for a self-publishing company with multiple titles. Do you have discounts or partnership programs available for companies like mine who purchase multiple reviews?
Yes. Please email for details.

Will you accept payment by check or money order?
This site is secure for credit card payments, and we prefer to process orders online to support an efficient workflow process. If you must pay by check or money order, however, you may email for instructions.


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“The starred review I received from Kirkus won the attention of both my agents, film and literary, which in turn has led to a fantastic publishing deal in North-America, the sale of foreign rights in several countries, as well as a film option with one of Hollywood’s major studios.”
— Sylvain Neuvel, author of The Themis Files

“Kirkus’ review of The Mill River Recluse played an important role in encouraging readers to take a chance on a first novel by an unknown author.”
 —Darcie Chan, independent author of The Mill River Recluse, which sold more than 600,000 copies
 Read more about Darcie’s success in the Wall Street Journal >

“Kirkus definitely played a major role in making this happen!”
— James Bannon, author of I2, when his novel hit #1 on Kindle‘s best-selling fiction list and #1 in overall Kindle downloads

”When I sought a review for my book I was selective in choosing what I thought was a highly regarded and fair source. Noted for being thorough, unbiased and a “tough critic,” I knew if I received a positive review from Kirkus it would open doors to new possibilities. It didn’t take long before that started to occur. Thank you for opening the world’s eyes to otherwise unknown authors. We are making a difference and paving the way to the future of publishing.”
—Lori St John, author of The Corruption of Innocence

”Thanks to Kirkus’ review, we have seen a dramatic surge in sales and an increase in both bookstore and publisher interest. Kirkus' reputation as a credible, unbiased reviewer has made all the difference. This has been the best investment we have made.”
—Janet and Ed Howle, authors of The Long Road to Paris

“Getting a positive review from Kirkus gave me a huge boost in my search for a literary agent. After amending the opening sentence of my query letter to reference my Kirkus review, I noticed a dramatic increase in the attention I was receiving from agencies. Less than two months later, I had my agent!"
— Anderson O’Donnell, author of Kingdom

“Receiving my Kirkus review was one of the most validating and moving moments of my life. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants an honest, thorough, careful evaluation of their work.”
— Carolyn Nash, author of Raising Abel

“The endorsement gave consumers a meaningful recommendation that they could trust.”
—Guy Kawasaki, bestselling author of 10 books, including Enchantment and The Art of the Start, as well as the self-publishing guide APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur

“Your indie review service provides a beacon in a black shroud, putting a spotlight on worthy books that may not otherwise be as visible because they've taken the indie passage.”
— Jesse Leong, author of Expanagrams

“Recognition from Kirkus really opened doors for me. Suddenly I was a Kirkus-acclaimed author, which sold books, led to other reviews as well as feature articles, made it much easier for me to book author events, and left me well positioned for my sequel.”
— Steven Drachman, author of The Ghosts of Watts O’Hugh

“Everything started with the Kirkus review. It gave me instant credibility.”
— Deborah Henry, author of The Whipping Club

“My Kirkus review arrived sooner than I had anticipated. As I read the review I realized and appreciated the professionalism of the review. The accuracy, in-depth knowledge, fairness and honesty in describing my book succinctly summarized in a paragraph took me by surprise and I found myself sitting in my chair for several minutes thinking about what I had just read. I then thought to myself, what a great service this is, what better assurance could I offer my readership than a review written by Kirkus Reviews? They provide a valuable service to authors and readers, and I will willingly use their service again for my second book.”
— James Lythgoe, author of The Golf Swing: It's All in the Hands

“Kirkus Reviews has been an instrumental part of the success of my book, A Father's Angels.  As one of Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 Indie book selections, numerous doors have now opened in the traditional publishing industry.  This was one of the best strategic decisions I made as a self-published author.”
—John Waldron, author of A Father's Angel

“As a first time novelist, it was extremely important to me that I set the right expectation for my book, Songs for the New Depression.  I wanted people know that it was both quality, in terms of substance, and LGBT-themed.  Prior to publication, I approached only two sources for reviews, Kirkus Indie, known as the 'World's Toughest Book Critics', and The Advocate magazine, given its name recognition in the LGBT community.  Happily, I was able to use these two terrific reviews in pre-publicity, on the jacket cover and in marketing materials, which helped establish an immediate audience for the novel.  With my forthcoming title, I plan to do the same.”
—Kergan Edwards-Stout, author of Songs for the New Depression 

“As you know, it's always hard to say whether a particular review helps sell books. But the Kirkus review (IMO) was crucial to legitimizing my author-published book and bringing it to the attention of libraries. Interestingly, nobody seems to notice that it is an "indie" review- they do notice, though, that it's a starred review from the "notoriously unpleaseable Kirkus!" as one reader exclaimed. I've been around this business long enough to know just how important it is."
—Susan Albert Wittig, author of A Wilder Rose