Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kirkus Reviews closing

It's tragic and I'm stunned.

Kirkus Reviews, which has been one of the most important prepub reviews to get, is closing. Notorious for being snarky (they gave me one review for my third novel that was so terrible, I still remember every syllable of it, and no, don't ask me to repeat it, but yes it did include the phrase, "Leavitt has no one else but herself to blame.."), their praise could jumpstart a book and a star from them was cause for celebration. (Most of my Kirkus reviews were good, and I was thrilled to get two starred reviews from them. I still worship at their feet for the publicity those stars generated for me.)

Kirkus reviewed more books than any newspaper ever could, and the fact that they are closing is terrible. Newspaper review space is dwindling. Who is going to pick up the slack? How can we find out about books that might be under the radar? I'm so used to reading their reviews to keep abreast of the book world, that right now, I feel bereft.

This is a great loss for the book world.


Jeff Lyons said...


I'm so upset about this I had to blog about it too... something cathartic about it. Sad day for the writer trying to be seen in today's vertically integrated media zoo.


Gina Sorell said...

I don't believe it!! Wow. Sad news.

Richard said...

Over 30 years ago, when I found the Kirkus review of my first book in the public library, I was so shaken and depressed that I got into bed for the rest of the day...and it was morning!

The next day I recovered, though, and called my publisher. My editor told me that he didn't send me the review because he didn't want me to be discouraged so early on, before the pub date, but the managing editor had warned him that he couldn't hide it from me, I'd see it anyway. That's when I told him to make sure to send me all reviews, no matter how bad. And, yeah, at least one was a lot worse than Kirkus's review.

And their review of my next book a few years later was probably just as negative. But later on, I got a few decent notices from them. Even if I hadn't, I would still be very sorry that Kirkus won't be around anymore. Kirkus Reviews will be missed, even by the authors they panned.

Caroline said...

I agree. It's just not a good sign for the books industry, plus Kirkus was the only place, I believe, where self published authors could get reviewed.