Get Know before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform
Author: Christina Katz
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: A thorough guidebook for writers who want to build platforms to help them market their books.
Pros: It covers pretty much every platform strategy.
Cons: Although there are tips for fiction writers, the book is written for a nonfiction writer audience.
I've had this book for a little over a year, but I only recently got around to doing a serious reading.
Am I ever glad that I did.
Katz brings her experience as an author and platform-builder to the table. She guides you step-by-step through the process. I'd have been hopelessly lost about my platform if it weren't for this book.
Building your platform is actually very simple, but most of us have no idea where to start. Katz has you explore your niche, research your audience, and connect with your audience in multiple ways (teach, volunteer, speak, blog, etc.).
Of course, it's not possible to do everything that Katz recommends, and she acknowledges that. Still, you have a wealth of options to choose from. And if you're extremely busy, there are always the basics: write well, create a website, blog if you can, and put yourself out there publicly when you have the time (and the sanity).
The downside is that this book is written specifically for an audience of nonfiction writers. That means that some of Katz's advice is not applicable, or it needs to be done in a different order.
For fiction writers, the most important things are: concentrate on writing a good book or story; create a blog that you update regularly; create a website; then do other things like teach, speak, volunteer, etc. You don't need to start the serious promoting until after you've gotten the book deal. Of course this is my opinion, and other fiction writers and literary agents will disagree. But I think that at the very least you need a blog.
Even though Katz's book is geared toward nonfiction writers, it is still immensely useful for fiction writers. Part Three, "Platform Grow," is especially valuable. It deals with such issues as what name you'll write under, how to come up with good blogging ideas, how to create an effective website, and so forth.
I went through this book with a highlighter, and I'm still working on the exercises at the end of each chapter. I definitely recommend this book.