I’ve been working on a review of Get Known Before The Book Deal for a couple of days now. Normally, when I’m reviewing a book, I tear through it, write down my review and post it. With Christina Katz’s new book, however, I wound up taking longer than I expected to read 263 pages. That’s because I wound up reading quite slowly — and taking plenty of notes!
Essentially, the book is an overview of how to create a platform — to make yourself visible as a writer not only to sell books but to get a book deal in the first place. While the book is geared towards relative beginners, it has a lot of value even for writers who have already been published. Christina goes far beyond the standard advice about platforms (which often amounts to “You need a platform,” with no explanation of just what that means. The book is divided into 36 chapters: each one is a bite-sized chunk perfect for reading and doing. Each chapter has concrete tasks that really are universal for writers today and, where necessary, Christina has broken them down into steps that even a novice writer can handle smoothly.
Christina’s advice is incredibly valuable: I’ve been in the writing game for a while now and I kept finding ideas in the book that I can use for my own career. She’s not talking about novel concepts either. There’s barely a mention of social networking. Blogging gets its own chapter, but most of the chapters focus on steps a writer could take with no technical expertise.
If you’re not familiar with Christina Katz, I’d definitely recommend checking out her blog, The Writer Mama Riffs, as well as her Writer Mama website. (Her first book was Writer Mama.) I consider Christina a phenomenal resource for freelance writers — her blog is in the ‘must read’ file on my RSS reader.
I don’t just recommend this book for those folks looking for a book deal. If you’re looking to do anything beyond the occasional freelance article, a platform is key. Whether your goal is to be a syndicated columnist, a full-time blogger or another type of writing big wig, your platform is what will convince readers to pay for your work. Heck, a platform can even help you land freelance assignments faster — editors like writers who can clearly demonstrate why they’re the best choice for a particular project. Get Known Before The Book Deal is $11.55 on Amazon — and I’m sure a friend or relative needs a suggestion for the holidays.