Writing a manuscript is no easy task. My debut novel, A Faithful Son, took some four years and countless hours. As all-consuming as the writing process was, it did not prepare me for the next stage of independent publishing.

In my soul, I believed that I had written an exceptional book. However, I soon learned that a thoughtful, penetrating manuscript was only part of my journey into the publishing world. The last mile of my adventure was the pursuit of effective promotion and marketing.

After searching the internet, Googling marketing tips, and scouring the blogs for the best approaches to promotion, the same name kept reappearing in my searches—Kirkus Reviews. It became clear that Kirkus was the industry standard for reviews. I quickly understood that a Kirkus review could help an indie author succeed in this industry.

Independent writers who opt to self-publish need to use every tool available. The release of a novel by an unknown writer can result in painful silence from the market place. My fear was that A Faithful Son would be lost somewhere in the dusty stacks of forgotten novels—shelved alongside so many other independently published books. I needed to convince readers that my novel was worth their interest and time. And so, with the completion of my manuscript, I sent off my debut novel to Kirkus Reviews

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Their process was simple, affordable, and professional. Within a few weeks, I received my Kirkus review. It was smart, sensitive, and insightful. I now regard my relationship with Kirkus as part of the foundation that helped build my novel’s eventual success.

With my starred review in hand, doors seemed to open wide. Being my own worst critic, I truly never expected to find this kind of confidence as a first-time indie author. Kirkus rewards your hard work with a concise, detailed review. My next novel will be published in 2017, and you can bet Kirkus Reviews will be the first to receive an advanced copy.

A Faithful Son has now been a bestseller on Amazon for the past several months. This new, exciting experience has all been a bit surreal. However, I consider Kirkus Reviews an integral partner in my debut novel’s success.

Michael Scott Garvin is an award-winning custom-home builder, interior designer, and author. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona. A Faithful Son is Garvin’s debut novel. The novel was the winner in the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Awards and a finalist in the New York Book Festival in 2016. His second novel Aunt Sookie & Me is scheduled for release in April 2017.