Thursday, December 10, 2009

Farewell, dear Kirkus!

by Michael

I was pretty shocked to see a tweet this morning that Kirkus would be no longer. Honestly, my emotions are rather mixed. My authors’ books have fared well (I had two author make their year-end round-up of the best young adult books), while others, who shall of course remain nameless, haven’t been so lucky. Though many different people wrote the reviews for Kirkus, there was always a very particular snarkiness about their bad reviews. I don’t think any other publication can make an author cry the same way that Kirkus did. On more than one occasion I have warned an author before the review to be prepared, because if you’ve never read one of their reviews and they go after you, it can be soul-crushing.

But when they did give an author and book a good review, it always meant that much more. Pleasing them wasn’t easy, so doing so was all the more satisfying. And if you were lucky enough to get a star, well, then you knew you’d written something not just great but truly worthy.

So even though I told authors again and again that Kirkus and those negative reviews didn’t matter (and they didn’t), I’m sincerely going to miss complaining about the harsh reviews and secretly cherishing the positive ones. Farewell, friend.


  1. I have mixed feelings, too. Some say that receiving a scathing Kirkus review is something of a rite of passage for an author. I've been terrified it would one days happen to me, but also hopeful that maybe, just maybe, I'd have gotten a positive review. Now I'll never know what they would have said!

  2. I was never reviewed by them (but then I have only very recently published my first book).

    However, I think it's too bad to lose a respected and established review source.

    So many periodicals are dying now. And, there is so much self-serving publicity (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) these days. Plus we have a plethora of 'reviews' from dubious origins (friends of authors posting reviews online in whatever milieu). All in all, it's a shame to lose a source that may have been snarky but played no favourites and was essentially without a self-serving or hidden agenda.

    Too bad.

    Thanks, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores!

  3. Honestly I feel bummed SHOOTING KABUL won't have it's initiation of trial by fire via Kirkus. Warts and wall, it was an important institution --it's dissapearance is rather sad. To those authors with bad reviews, you should check out an article by Stanford Biz School Professor: "Is Any Publicity Good Publicity? A Note On the Impact of Book Reviews"

  4. I think it's too bad that another review publication is going away, but I do admit to a tiny, tiny sigh of relief. With a book coming out in May...well,frankly, I was a bit terrified of them. Still, I'd rather suck it up and have them still in print because we're losing too many reviewers and librarians have even less time to read books now than ever.