Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Review: Get Known before the Book Deal

The first time I heard of Get Known before the Book Deal, was during Karen Burns' workshop on platform building, at last year's PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) conference.  (See PNWA Author Workshop post 7 Aug 09).  It took me several months to get around to buying, and then, reading the book, but I'm very glad I did.

Christina Katz (aka The Writer Mama), provides an invaluable guide for aspiring writers to establish their platform.  The premise of this book, as the title suggests, is that would-be authors must obtain a degree of visibility before they query agents.  This visibilty includes, but isn't limited to:  Your presence on the internet, public speaking, teaching classes, writing and publishing articles, joining professional organizations and networking, or as the author prefers to call it, "connecting."

Ms Katz advocates that growing your presence in steady increments is the best way to ensure getting your book published.  Establishing a platform boosts not only your credibility, but your confidence, while at the same time, it will provide literary agents with a proven track-record of your work.  Otherwise, when you meet for the first time, it will seem like a blind date.  That is, uncomfortable experience for both of you.

While Get Known before the Book Deal, is all about self-promotion, the author cautions the reader to avoid crossing the line between "being visible" and being "an annoying pest."  It's not all about "me! me! me!"  A writer has to think about providing a quality product for their readers throughout their platform construction, during their book publication and beyond.

While written for non-fiction writers, the platform-building concepts Ms Katz discusses can apply to fiction writers as well. In fact, this is the first writer's self-help book in which I started applying a couple of the lessons before I finished reading it.

Get Known before the Book Deal, has garnered 37 x 5-star ratings on, the most I've seen yet in any book.  However, Ms Katz's work isn't immune to criticism.  From what I can understand of the 4-star rater's comments, he was somewhat dissappointed this book was only targeted to authors.  Unfortunately this isn't the lowest rating either.  There are two 1-star raters.  One of them deemed the book "useless," while the other thought it worth only a single-star because he could find used copies for only $2.50.  Therefore, in his mind, the content can't be all that valuable.

Sheez!  Talk about sour grapes.  I wish I paid $2.50 for my copy!

I'm happy to add a 38th, 5-star rating to Ms Katz's constellation.


Christina Katz said...

Thanks so much for your insightful review. It makes those folks with sour grapes seem even more irrelevant (and I think we can tell who actually read the book, right?). A very thoughtful review. Best of luck with your platform-building journey!

Ted Henkle said...

You're very welcome! I've found your book very helpful and I'm going through it again with a highlighter.

Take care.