In December 2022, Chaos Calling got a Kirkus Review. It’s my first review from an industry trade publication as a published author.

It’s a huge milestone for me and the series!

You can read the full review on the Kirkus website.

What, what is a Kirkus Review?

A screenshot of the front matter for Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.
If you skim book blurbs, you’ll likely see Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews often in the mix.

The three trade publications that cover books are Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews

If you take a look at the jackets of popular mainstream books, you’ll likely see one or all three shops mentioned in the blurbs trying to convince you to buy the book.

In marketing land, that kind of endorsement is called social proof. It helps you take a chance on something new because someone else has told you it’s good.

For example, here on the right is the front matter for Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom. As you can see, her book designer has prominently referenced feedback from both Booklist and Kirkus Reviews

As an indie author, getting the attention of industry players is never a sure thing.

I don’t have a publisher or agent to vouch for me in those circles.  

How do you get a Kirkus Review?

I submitted Chaos Calling for a review back in October. Participation is pay-to-play (and in USD, too, owww), but that only opens the door.

There’s no guarantee the reviewer who receives the .pdf copy you send will like the book. And their submission process is very blunt about that to manage your expectations. You also aren’t told who the reviewer is and the post is anonymous.

I waited six weeks to hear back. I did my best not to think about it during that time. Having the insanity of the holidays to prepare for made that easy.

What did the Chaos Calling Kirkus Review say?

When I got the review back on December 27, I was thrilled. They didn’t give it a Kirkus star (the highest blessing), but they did say some damn nice things.

An excerpt from the Kirkus Review of Chaos Calling. The closing lines read: "An action-packed tale of valiant heroes and vibrant, unforgettable monsters."
I’ll take it!

I can’t tell you how gratifying it was to see the reviewer comment on the character development and pacing.

I worked so hard with my beta readers and editorial team to get those aspects of the book right. It feels amazing to see them singled out here as strengths of the reading experience.

Read the whole review here.