I posted the following as a customer review on Amazon.
Constructing an author’s platform—that metaphorical performance stage that raises a writer’s head above the crowd—can take more time than building a house, according to Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before the Book Deal. I consider Katz a friend, and she was kind enough to quote me in one of the book’s epigraphs. Now that I’ve confessed my bias, I suggest writers heed her advice and get busy building their brands a full year before they expect to rely on the results of their labor. Even an individual who has already written an unpublished book should stop, go back, and work on a platform in order to show prospective publishers a large potential readership.
Platform is a word most people, including writers to whom words are currency, consider as imprecise as system or process. Conversely, editors, agents, and successful authors who use the word platform as shorthand for a writer’s marketability are sure of what the jargon means and what is expected from book authors, especially those who write nonfiction.
Katz’s book is no glib response to a hopeful writer’s inquiry. With enthusiasm and clarity, she teaches the readers of her book how to establish a professional reputation as a writer, gradually and systematically. She covers miles of territory with unflagging optimism and common sense. Among her wide-ranging recommendations are two that will come as no surprise to anyone who has learned the hard way:
- Hire a professional photographer to capture a series of flattering portraits, so you’ll have a high-quality headshot available in multiple formats on demand. You’ll need it.
- Ditch the bad attitude. As Katz puts it, “You are 100 percent responsible for the success of your writing career.” Whining is a waste of energy, she insists, and it makes other people uncomfortable.
With Get Known Before the Book Deal, Katz, who is otherwise known as the Writer Mama, has demonstrated her expertise in platform development. She doesn’t doubt for a single moment that other writers can also take charge of becoming known as authorities on their topics. Nonfiction writers and novelists (as well as their agents, editors, and publicists) can be grateful that Katz has shared the sum of her experience.