People say that ideas are easy, but execution is difficult. When I started penning my book, The Coolest Startups in America (find it here on Amazon) last year, I had a simple thesis: there should be a book that introduces people to startups. But in practice, it was not so straightforward. To write and publish a book, there are hundreds of moving parts and dozens of players.
After six months of writing and hours of interviews (Producteev CEO Ilan Abehassera included!), my idea for The Coolest Startups in America book became reality, available to delight readers around the country on the best startups in the nation. As I reflect on my process, there was one tool with me at every step. That’s right, my Producteev account.
Here is how I used Producteev to move my project from goal to reality:
1. Use Producteev to Brainstorm
Inspiration can come from anywhere. I used my Producteev account to collect quotes, notes and images that would be useful in the writing process. Because Producteev focuses on cross-platform fluidity, I was never pigeonholed into using Producteev.com specifically, instead adding to my account on-the-go via Producteev’s iPhone and iPad apps.
2. Use Producteev to Land an Agent or Publisher
I decided to pursue finding a literary agent and publisher early on in my book-writing process. Because Producteev allows multiple Workspaces within each account, I could keep my writing work in one Workspace and use another for the purpose of securing representation.
While Producteev won’t magically get you interest from an Agent or Publisher, it can help coordinate your outreach. As a first-time author, agency names and publishing houses were esoteric and niche, so I used each “task” in Producteev to store notes on the organizations. And, for each Publisher rejection (happens to every writer like a right of passage), Producteev lifted my spirits because I could cross a name off the list to see a pretty green check mark indicating that I was only getting closer to my goal, never farther from it.
3. Use Producteev to Organize Research
Over a span of about two months, I conducted 50+ interviews with startup CEOs, government officials, academics, thought-leaders, and journalists for The Coolest Startups in America, so staying on top of scheduling could have become a fiasco. Not so with Producteev! Rather than create calendar alerts for checking in with PR reps and sources, I could schedule reminders within Producteev so that the contact information, notes, interview questions and scheduling for each person remained centralized.
I also put Producteev’s labeling features to good use. With 72 startups featured in the inaugural volume of The Coolest Startups in America, organized into 18 categorical sections, colored labels helped to keep the content tidy so I could easily navigate around the tasks for the many chapters.
4. Use Producteev During Editing
When it came time to involve my editor in the book process, Producteev was a gem. I could “assign” chapters to my editor as I finished working on them. If there were items within the chapter for me to review, he could seamlessly assign the task back to me within Producteev.
5. Use Producteev for Publicity
Among bookers, producers, articles, friends & family outreach, volume sales (Plug: Want to order 10 or more copies? Email me for a discount code! ;) and more, there is so much for authors to do after the writing process is complete. No matter whether an author decides to use a traditional publisher or go DIY, book promotion always has the author in the driver’s seat. Producteev is helping me stay on top of publicity for The Coolest Startups in America. In fact, I’m off to cross off the to-do item for this article right now; using a spreadsheet is so last century.
Producteev was named one of “The Coolest Startups in America.” Buy the book to find out about the best new companies around the nation in the first-ever mainstream book about entrepreneurship.
Author Doreen Bloch is an entrepreneur & writer in New York City (hometown: Palo Alto, CA). Her first book “The Coolest Startups in America” was released in February 2012. She is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and a former Analyst at SecondMarket, where she worked on the auctions for shares of Facebook Inc. and other leading private companies. Her personal website is http://www.DoreenBloch.com.
Photo by Galo Delgado at The Photobooth Project
Life After College, a new book by Jenny Blake, has been full of productive inspiration for me. In fact, I had the pleasure of attending the book launch in New York City, where I got to meet Jenny. I was truly blown away by her charisma.
The major themes of Life After College are: seizing the day, as well as the counterpart to that, which is instilling balance. The race to success, especially wealth and prestige, are so ingrained in the American lifestyle that it’s sometimes hard to remember to pause and recharge for your longterm wellbeing.
However, Jenny’s book helps with that and offers practical advice, workbook-like exercises and even recommended reading. The format also includes quotes from both famous people and everyday people on twitter. Divided into several sections, Life After College delves into: an overview on life, work, finances, the home, organization, friends & family, relationships, health, fun, and my favorite: personal growth.
To paraphrase the chapter on personal growth, the takeaways include: embracing the moment, as well as choosing when not to work, and instead doing the things that make you happy.
Often underestimated, they’re actually fundamental to personal productivity.
According to Jenny, personal growth also entails treating yourself well — on a psychological level. She gives advice on friending your inner voice.
The most valuable lesson from Life After College is the inspirational aspect and somehow mustering the courage and audacity to dream. After reading, the work has prompted me to write my major life goals, a sort of bucket list, if you will. Though somewhere in my mental repository, I had procrastinated writing them down out of fear.
Change starts now.
In her book launch speech, Jenny told the story of how her book was turned down numerous times by the publisher, but she refused to give up on a project she believed in. Any book, whether about life after college, a different period of life or other self-help issue, that encourages grand actions and provides tools for achieving them, is a book you won’t want to miss. Consider it my summer reading recommendation for you, regardless if you’re a part of the recent grad demographic!
You might also like the following post by Jenny Blake: 5 Tips for Managing Your Energy, Not Your Time