Get Known Before the Book Deal Review

Small 3-star rating on dark blue background  (Non-fiction)

 

  (Fiction)

 

You’re a member of “writer mama” Christina Katz’s target audience if you’re (1) a female (2) non-fiction writer who’s (3) looking to traditionally publish (4) in around 2010 and (5) have plenty of time on your hands. The fewer of those categories you fall into, however, the less this book is for you. So for me as a male, indie-published, fiction author with precious little spare time in the middle of 2015, this book had limited value.

That’s not to say Get Known is a bad book. It’s not.

Katz, whom I discovered through one of many writers’ blogs I used to have time to read, treats the topic of “platform”—the base on which you establish your credibility and from which you grow your list of followers and readers—quite thoroughly. Before the indie-publishing revolution hit, establishing your platform was particularly critical for non-fiction authors, male or female. It still is today for authors who want that “validation” of being accepted by an agent and then by a New York publishing house. And it can certainly separate from the herd the non-fiction author who wants to publish independently in a world where anyone can publish and many people do.

To be fair, three of the factors that limit Get Known’s value today are things whose impact Katz, like many other authors at the time, did not anticipate: the rise of indie-publishing, which was in its infancy when this book was published in 2008; social media, which was also just getting going in a serious way then; and web site development, which has become vastly easier since 2008. As a result, both indie publishing, which is a legitimate option, and social media, now an important component of platform, are mentioned only in passing. Katz’s suggestions regarding the technologies for building a web site are simply outdated.

Katz describes in detail all the ways an author can build her platform: through making connections, volunteering, teaching, guest speaking, hosting an event, publishing articles, and/or offering a service. She emphasizes—as she should—that authors should not try to do all of these things, especially not all at once, and that some will just be a bad fit of some people. Still, it’s more than a little overwhelming to have all of these things thrown at you. And the busier you are with the rest of your life, the more overwhelming it is to see that you’re supposed to do some of these things too. A discussion of prioritizing would have been welcome.

The decision whether to give this book a try should be based on how well you fit into Katz’s target audience and with the understanding that important parts of the book are now outdated. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an ebook version that might be more up-to-date.

 

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