I needed a push to finish my illustrated adult-children’s fable Light as a Feather (set to be released within two weeks), something to get the project going. My editor suggested I send the newly completed work to Kirkus Reviews for review.
Having researched a bit of its distinguished history, I was impressed to learn how well-regarded Kirkus is throughout the industry and by media, schools, and libraries; by the time I sent in the final file and illustrated cover, my heart was pounding. What if I didn’t get a good review?
I recalled hearing that Kirkus is unbiased and fair; so I decided, in spite of my fears, to be open-minded and to focus hard on their criticism. I was told that the waiting time for my review would most likely be four to seven weeks. How could I get through the nail-biting wait? Then it happened that the Kirkus review came in early. I’ll never forget the feeling, looking down at my phone and seeing the long-awaited message: “Your review is ready to download.
I ran to my computer and, to my delight, found a review so well-composed and carefully written. The reviewer took the time to understand my story and was so sensitive to its message that it brought tears to my eyes. Well thought out and with depth and heart, the review was also honest. The concluding sentence is so powerful and apt that I plan to use it on all marketing and every bit of media.
The next day my book was released on Amazon, and I posted the review on all my social media channels. An hour later, I posted that my book was now available. The instantaneous response and fortuitous timing between my Kirkusreview and the book coming out was overwhelming. Light as a Feather went straight to #1 on Amazon Hot New Releases.
I truly believe the Kirkus review to be a determining factor that gives my book the credential it needs. A thumbs-up from Kirkus, I know, is vital in today’s ultracompetitive indie market. I will be handing out my Kirkus review at all my events as a professional stamp of approval—one that has already brought my just-released book up to a substantial level.
Lissi Kaplan is a fine artist whose hand-painted porcelains are in the collections of dignitaries, heads of state, and private collectors around the world. Her watercolor paintings have been collected internationally. She is the author and illustrator of The Power of a Teacup: A Story of Art, Love, and Sacred Gardens (ReganBooks, 2003). She lives in Los Angeles, California.