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September 11, 2007



Aha! That explains a mystifying spam message from some outfit that offered Kirkus reviews to all authors willing to pay for their services. It very specifically did not refer to "Kirkus Discoveries" by the way. Why doesn't Kirkus put a stop to this? (And yes, the real Kirkus has some tough reviewers).

David J. Montgomery

The shameful part is that Kirkus Discoveries is part of Kirkus. They set it up as a separate, but related service to sell reviews.

A total ripoff and utterly dishonest.

Lisa J. Rowley

Legitimate reviews can not be bought. If an author feels the need to purchase good press, it tells me that the author has very little confidence in his or her writing to start with, and should pursue another career.


Oh, God! Do they publish these side-by-side with the legitimate ones? That pretty much kills Kirkus as a useful source of information. What's to stop publishers from paying the fee for all their authors?
That must be the most shocking piece of publishing news this year!
And I heard it here.

David J. Montgomery

Kirkus has been doing this for a while now, and it generated some degree of controversy when it first started. Then I didn't really hear anything about it -- probably because everyone ignores the paid reviews. I think they bury them on their website. I doubt they appear anywhere else.

Steven Torres

Mixed reviews for $300? I'd be upset.

Kirkus should have Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Discoveries on a sliding scale.

Not sure I see the point of buying a review in Kirkus - any evidence that bookstores are paying attention to these and ordering? Distribution's the real problem for self-published authors.

On the other hand, it's hard to get reviews of any kind. My best novel has so far garnered the grand total of three reviews, none in print. Oh well.

R.W. Ridley

Steven: I only have anecdotal evidence that Kirkus Discoveries has helped me sell books. Yes, I paid for the review, but I only did so because I read some of the reviews and most of them were luke warm at best, and vicious at worst. My Kirkus Discoveries review has gotten my foot in the door at some local libraries. The young adult librarian read the book based on the review and ended up ordering about 25 copies for the county. Not a huge hall I know, but not bad for a POD book. And other librarians have ordered the book based on her recommendation. The review has also helped me get other reviews with blogs and other areas. The print media hasn’t come knocking, but I haven’t made much of an effort there because to be quite frank with you, that medium tends to cater to the brick & mortar retail model, and as a self-published novelist that is just too tough a nut to crack without a huge marketing budget. My marketing centers around online retailers and media.

And before David breaks his fingers typing that I work for a POD company let me save him the trouble. I work for a POD company. I prefer not to say which one because my opinions are my own and have nothing to do with my employer. BTW – I’m the author David referred to in his original post.

One more BTW - I reject the Vanity Press moniker. I am an independent author.

J.D. Rhoades

Wait a minute...Kirkus is SELLING reviews? WTF are they thinking? Do they WANT to become a joke?


Fascinating, David.

Years ago, there was one reviewer who HATED my Jake Lassiter books. I would have paid him $300 NOT to review me.


There are many places where you can get your POD book reviewed for free, and where reviews are written strictly on merit. Why don't you talk about those who write honest reviews?

G. T. Karber

Someone should write 50k words of pure drivel as fast as they can, have it published at Lulu, and then pay $300 to see it reviewed.

Comedy gold.

Floyd M. Orr

I run one one of those few, legitimate book review sites for POD books. Please pay us a visit:


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David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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