I remember my Kirkus review of Death Never Sleeps. I was filled with the natural doubts of any debut author. The book was on Amazon already, but no one had reviewed it yet. In fact, only my editor, family, and friends had read it. I didn’t trust any of them to be objective.

Kirkus not only has cachet within the literary and bookselling world, but it also has a reputation for objectivity. Of course, there was always the option to “bury” the review should it be negative.

I decided to submit my first book to Kirkus because I needed validation. I needed to know if I was on the right track. I needed to know if someone who knew what they were doing thought my work was good. I needed to take a risk.

You can only imagine my anticipation when I opened the email containing the review (“They will see through me. I’m not their type of author. How could I be so stupid as to quit my job? Do they even like commercial fiction?) I remember quickly scanning the words—a flyover—to first see whether any good or bad phrases jumped out. Once it seemed safe, I finally read it, carefully, and then with great joy.

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Since then, I’ve had two more positive Kirkus reviews (Death Logs In and Death Logs Out). I’m impressed with how respected the Kirkus name is not only within the literary community, but with many readers who surprise me with their awareness of the brand itself. I’m still seeking commercial success, an agent, and a major traditional publisher for my works. But my Kirkus reviews have gotten me into countless bookstores, considered by a major agent, and an offer from a digital publisher. Kirkus Reviews has also provided me with intelligent feedback, insight, and analysis that is priceless to any writer.

I’m now halfway through my fourth novel (Death in the Cloud) and already anticipating the next Kirkus review.

E. J. Simon is the author of two commercial fiction thrillers, Death Never Sleeps and Death Logs In. He has just completed his third manuscript, Death Logs Out and is currently ghost writing a business book. He is a member of the Authors Guild and the Mystery Writers of America. He holds an M.A. in corporate and political communications from Fairfield University and a B.A. in journalism from the University of South Carolina.  He lives with his family in Westport, Connecticut.