After I wrote the first draft of my novel, Oil and Water, I searched diligently for an agent or publisher. Every few years, I’d purchase a copy of the Writer’s Market and check every lead for representatives of mystery novels. I’d do a blitz of query letters, get a few interested replies, provide the manuscript, get a slew of rejection letters and sometimes a few with interest, but none of it came to fruition. So I’d rewrite the book and start the process again. I did this five times over 13 years and, in the interim, I wrote a collection of novellas entitled Six Sisters. I didn’t even bother to look for an agent for Six Sisters because I realized that the time spent searching for someone to champion my book was getting in the way of me writing the next one. Instead, I self-published.

An indie author plays the role of writer, editor, agent, and publisher. You can’t do them all flawlessly; actually, you can barely do them all period. As an aspiring author looking to get the word out on my novel, I hoped that a good review from Kirkus would give me some of the buzz that being backed by a publishing house provides, buzz that indie authors must create for themselves.

My novel, Oil and Water, is an eco-thriller that does more than dabble in science, and it needed a reviewer who would not be put off by the complexity of description of some of the more intractable environmental problems—oil spills, overflowing landfills, the controversy over draining wetlands for development, and the like. I needed a reviewer who would not give up on the technical details. My Kirkus reviewer was perfectly matched to the book and really understood my intentions in marrying the science to the suspense. I applaud Kirkus for its insight in assigning someone with an interest in science to the review.

While your money doesn’t guarantee you a good review, you can choose whether you want to publish after you read it—so if you are unhappy with the tone or tenor or if it’s unfavorable, you don’t have to publish it. A Kirkus review allows your work to be considered on its merit, a task that is very difficult for the indie author who is without an agent, editor, and publisher. So thank you THANK YOU Kirkus for the lovely review and the props that go with it. I’ve posted the review prominently on my Amazon page and intend to use quotes in future advertising campaigns. I will definitely use Kirkus’ services again.

Pam Lazos is the author of the recently released novel, Oil and Water, an environmental murder mystery about oil spills and green technology; Six Sisters, a collection of novellas about family and dysfunction; a blogger; on the Board of Advisors for the wH2O Journal, the Journal of Gender and Water (U of Penn); a blogger for the Global Water Alliance (GWA) in Philadelphia, a literary magazine contributor; a former editor-in-chief for the Environmental Law and Technology Journal at Temple Law School; a ghostwriter; the author of a children’s book (Into the Land of the Loud); an environmental lawyer; and, because it’s cool, a beekeeper’s apprentice. She practices laughter daily.