An Essential Tool on Your Journey as a Writer

March 5, 2019

An Essential Tool on Your Journey as a Writer
Many people believe the cost of a Kirkus review is too much, but firstly, and this is a GIANT FIRSTLY: Would you want to sift through hundreds upon hundreds of perfectly awful manuscripts week after week? And then—cherry on top—write a page about each and every one? No-ho-ho-way! Kirkus reviewers are surely up there flapping their wings into sainthood. Secondly, about that review cost: Kirkus is a shoo-in! What I mean is that you can indeed send your books free of charge to be reviewed by the other big boys: the Horn Book, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, New York Times Book Review, etc. But good luck with that, as they rarely ever give reviews to mere mortals. I have gotten a New York Times book review but that was because my illustrator was Marc Brown. So whine away if you will, but for me, having a guaranteed review from Kirkus each-and-every-time is just short of a big, fat miracle!

Plus, who doesn’t like stars! I’ve received three Kirkus Stars for three of my five children’s books. And golly, it’s just like being back in elementary school; oh how those stars make you glow deep down inside. But far beyond belly glows is the recognition those stars give your book to all those publishers, book buyers, agents, and librarians. A Kirkus review is indeed the gold standard by which many in the book industry determine whether they will open up their wallets (budgets) for your book or not. And because I write children’s books, and because one of the biggest children’s books buyers are librarians, and because librarians almost always read the Kirkus reviews (at least the ones I talked to told me that), I knew I had to get my book reviewed if I wanted those busy librarians to buy it.

And yes, it’s a wee bit scary to have your book reviewed. And yes, a Kirkus reviewer may shoot your dainty book down from the sky with a wickedly nasty review. But no matter, if you’re a serious writer, you can’t be a wimp. No how, no way! You’ve got to be tough, tough, tough because wickedly nasty reviews are just part of the everyday writer’s routine. If you haven’t once rolled on your bed howling with dismay over a review, then you surely haven’t put in enough time writing. Believe me, you’ll get there. And so, dear writing comrades, when that Kirkus review dings into your inbox, before opening it, stand up and shout: I AM A FREAKING AMAZING WRITER! Then read that review, and good or bad, remember to whisper a thanks to that Kirkus reviewer for helping you on your noble and heroic writer’s journey.

Lindsey Craig is the author of a whole lot of children’s books (OK, 5, but it took me a whole lot of time to get to that number!) Dancing Feet!, Farmyard Beat!, Oh So Quiet!, In Our Tree, and Try! Try! Try!

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