From time to time, Kirkus will discount its paid indie book reviews by $75. Even if you're not ready for a pro review just yet, you could purchase one at a discount and use it later. Or just purchase it anyway, because pro publishers do this when they publish themselves for real.
Some authors, and even a few publishers, don't believe in purchasing review coverage. Jane Friedman says she's unsure if reviews from the likes of Kirkus or Midwest Book Review make any difference to a book. Getting outside coverage like those delivers something to plug into metadata and sales copy at Amazon.
Your alternative to buying a review is to rely on good blurbs from fellow authors, or lean on a reader review from an advance reader team member. Romance author Pamela Kelley has multiple bestsellers and she offers this list of what works she does to sell her books. She's got money for ads, the paid media of the four-media bedrock of discovery services.
"What helped me more than anything was consistently releasing books in one genre," Kelley told me. "That helped me to grow my audience from book to book.
A publisher helps authors achieve those bullet points. The career work always falls on the writer's shoulders. Kelley said she's done all of that marketing on her own, up to now.
Now that there's a list for you consider, does the investment in Kirkus seem easier to manage?