Writers know that the definition of insanity is launching a new book the same way as the last one, but expecting an overwhelming outcome. As an indie author since 2012, I have seen many Kirkus Reviews ads, but was always distracted by the bright lights of the next, this-will-work marketing package, mostly in the same price range as a Kirkus review.

I write sci-fi fantasy and paranormal books for YA, new adult, and women’s fiction. Like many indie authors, I am on a quest to build a stronger readership through fair and honest reviews for my books. In 2015, I spent the entire year rewriting a couple of book series. This year, I was determined not to launch Book 2 in the Sadie Mae Stevens series the same way as I did the first. Upon the sound advice of my PR manager, Sherry Frazier of Frazier Public Relations, I took the plunge and bought a Kirkus review for Book 2 in the series (scheduled for launch late in 2016).

Sherry said: “I need you to listen to me because I know what I’m talking about.  You need a Kirkus review. They are going to be tough on your book, that’s why readers, agents, publishers, producers, everybody, respect their opinion. They’ve been industry leaders for decades. If you want to move forward, then do that.”

When she said: tough-on-my-book, it scared me. I had heard that line before from other authors. I asked myself: Could I measure up? Although I stressed over putting myworkinto Kirkus’hands, I wanted to know the answer to my question, so I bought a review package. 

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My review came back earlier than expected; I was so nervous that my friend had to download it and read it to me. My first observation was that the reviewer had a clear understanding of my storyline. This fueled me to work on perfecting my creativity even more. I published the review so now I can use excerpts on the advance reader copy of the book.  

As I wrote the first draft of this review, I watched an episode of America’s Got Talent. The judges gave gifted people a chance they would never have had otherwise.  The contestants fought to push down the nervousness in their voices because the potential of bringing their creativity to the world outweighed acid building in their stomachs. Now that I’ve gone through a Kirkus review, I envision the process as the Writers Got Talent platform, offering visibility to brilliant indie authors, introducing them to agents, producers, filmmakers and publishers—and let not leave out a host of adoring new readers. When I submit my next story for review, I am encouraged to shoot higher into the stars.


Max W. Miller creates incredible stories about imaginary places, vivid characters, and their nemeses. With an uncanny ability, she draws readers into their worlds. Her sci-fi and fantasy books have won Book of the Day Awards and have been listed among the Amazon Top 100. Max continues to receive favorable reviews from readers on Amazon and other retailers online.