After reading about the breakthrough success stories of, then, independent authors, E.L. James and Amanda Hopkins, I knew I wanted to self-publish my debut novel, Love Sick. Filled with inspiration and get-up-and-go, I gleefully thought— “I can do it too!” So I did my research, made a plan and set out to go solo. Besides, I felt I had a great book with a relevant storyline that was sure to sell. Not only that, I could actually write—well, at least that’s what my family and friends told me. But would my self-confidence and positive reviews from people I know be enough to create a buzz and win over readers?

One important lesson I’ve learned about book marketing and growing a readership is this: readers must trust your work before giving you their sales. And if you’re an unknown author with no previous published work, this could be an uphill battle to overcome. Think about it. Why would a savvy reader or an institution invest their time and money in someone they’ve never heard of? The bottom line…indie authors publishing for the first time need critical reviews to be taken seriously. So after a period of stagnant sales and contemplation, I took a leap of faith and submitted my book for a Kirkus review not really knowing what the outcome would be.

And I wish I would have done it sooner!

My debut novel was featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine as a recommended read. Since promoting the review, I have seen an increase in sales as well as received more interest from libraries and online reading communities. The review may have also helped out in attracting the attention of another major book reviewer— which made me feel like I had passed a velvet rope.

As a trusted, unbiased source, Kirkus Reviews has given me the industry credibility needed to appeal to libraries, booksellers and readers. Although nerve-racking, submitting for a professional review was worth the risk to move forward as an author-entrepreneur and stand out among a deepening sea of self-published books.


Autumn J. Bright is an American writer. Her debut novel, Love Sick, was featured in Kirkus Reviews as a recommended read and Publishers Weekly called her debut, "searing." Autumn is currently working on her second novel, Lovely