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Fiction, Historical Fiction, My Novel, The Writer's Life

Curtain Calls on Hold While the Kirkus is in Town

Here comes the Kirkus; the Kirkus is in town!

CurtainCalls_cover_2x3_72dpiThe release of the print version of my World War I era novel, Curtain Calls, has been rescheduled for April 9. That’s the day by which I should have received the book’s review from Kirkus Reviews.

I don’t plan on doing a lot of advertising for this novel. When dollars are scarce (and what writer doesn’t have that problem?), an indie author must be very careful about where they’re spent. Kirkus has long been one of the most reputable providers of independent reviews of books for established publishers, and they now offer reviews of indie and self-published books. A good review from Kirkus can go a long way in bolstering a book’s promotional efforts. A bad review can kill sales. A starred review can, I’ve heard, get the book noticed by other industry professionals.

And they’re honest. Kirkus makes it clear when an author gets ready to purchase a review that you can’t buy a good review for any amount of money. The assessment of the submitted book is up to the reviewer, and the reviewers are presented as experienced professionals who work within specific literary genres.

So here’s my chance to get an unbiased assessment of Curtain Calls, at least on a literary level, although that’s not really why I opted for this service. I will always believe in the story that drives Curtain Calls, as well as the writing within. This is a marketing decision, pure and simple. A good review may separate my novel from the thousands of other indie-pub books released each month, and improve sales. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the next few weeks.

Oh, here comes the Kirkus; It’s the greatest show around. (I hope.)


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


10 thoughts on “Curtain Calls on Hold While the Kirkus is in Town

  1. Brilliant idea! I look forward to hearing how your experience with them is.

    Posted by akhoffman | February 23, 2015, 7:53 AM
    • I only wish I knew a little more about what goes on behind the scenes at Kirkus. Unlike when a book is reviewed by a known reviewer, whose tastes are documented in previous articles, I am paying a lot of of money to have an anonymous person read and comment. I appreciate that this person is qualified to do the job, and that the review is as unbiased and fair as possible, but I can only hope that, like the “real” world of book reviews, some leeway is given first-time novelists, and that the reviewer takes into account the author’s intent, as well as execution of the material. I suppose if the review turns out good, those factors will only add to its legitimacy. But if it’s a bad one, I wouldn’t even know who to complain to.

      Posted by Joe Ponepinto | February 24, 2015, 7:04 AM
  2. Thanks for sharing your process with Curtain Calls! If you “commission” a review from Kirkus, do they automatically publish it no matter what the outcome? I’m just wondering.

    Posted by Stephanie Barbé Hammer | February 23, 2015, 8:10 AM
    • Indeed they do, Stephanie. That’s what gives Kirkus reviews their legitimacy (except for the fact that you are paying for it). But for an indie author, what are the options. There are too many books released every year by traditional houses to guarantee a review of each one. I appreciate that Kirkus has found a way to make a lot of money from their reviews, and that they can still maintain their integrity. It’s about all we can ask for in this mercenary world.

      Posted by Joe Ponepinto | February 24, 2015, 7:08 AM
  3. Hi, Joe. Good luck, although I don’t think luck is what you need, only self-confidence–I think sometimes people make their own luck, and you are a good writer, and I include you in that category. Nevertheless, I too will have my fingers crossed for you (no sense in spitting in the eye of the luck fairy!). All the best!

    Posted by shadowoperator | February 23, 2015, 10:56 AM
    • Thanks, Victoria. I have plenty of self-confidence when I’m behind the keyboard. But one has to be careful translating that quality in public statements so as not to appear too self-centered. You’re right about making one’s own luck, especially amid the rampant cronyism in which publishing, and society in general, operates. Sometimes luck means carrying a bigger stick.

      Posted by Joe Ponepinto | February 24, 2015, 7:13 AM
  4. Can’t wait to read your book. I’m sure it’s awesome.

    Posted by nadiaibrashi | February 24, 2015, 2:37 PM
  5. Looking forward to seeing your book in the world, Joe! Good luck with the Kirkus. :-)

    Posted by Teri | February 25, 2015, 6:15 AM

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