I'm shaking in my little space boots

Yup. Space boots. Little ones. Perfect for shaking in.
Seriously, I'm terrified.

I mean sure, there's excitement too. And relief woven in there somewhere. Today I finished writing the rough draft of my second book, Uncommon Stock: Version 2.0. I sent the manuscript over to FG Press and a small cadre of beta readers. The story ripped itself out of me and onto the page. It's the sequel to tech startup thriller, Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0, which came out on March 5th and has been described as "John Grisham for startups."

Did it feel good to get the sequel on paper? Hell yeah. The characters continue to surprise me and the plot took twists I hadn't anticipated. Mara, James, and Mozaik are in a whole lot of trouble. Oh, and Mara's at Burning Man right now so you won't be able to reach her.

It was a fantastic rush to type the last "." But it also scared the shit out of me. Writing a second book is a whole lot different than writing a first one. I wrote 1.0 for myself. I was going to be the only one disappointed if I didn't finish it or the book never saw the light of day. But with a sufficient dose of blood, sweat, and tears, 1.0 did indeed launch.

And what a launch it was thanks to you guys. We didn't spend even $1 on marketing but you sent us to a top ten debut in our category. We have 50+ five star reviews on Amazon, earned great coverage, received shout outs by top authors and tech folks, and established special partnerships with leading organizations like TechCrunch, TechStars, Evonexus, The Startup & Tech Mixer, Startup Books, and others. More than anything else, receiving outreach from readers has been far and above the most energizing part. Messages hit my inbox from folks talking about the story and what it meant to them. Many others demand a sequel ASAP. Seriously, there's no better way to make an author's day.

And that's exactly why I'm shaking in my little space boots. What if my beta readers point out irreconcilable problems in the plot? What if my editor finds a fatal flaw in character motivation? What if fans don't like it? You know all those movies where the originals are awesome but the sequels suck? That is NOT what I want.

I've planned Uncommon Stock to be a trilogy from the beginning. My dearest hope is that each episode gets better and better. It takes time and effort to develop craft as a writer and I want to pour more and more of myself into the story. We're planning for a December 3rd launch date for Uncommon Stock: Version 2.0 and I'm going to be working my ass off between now and then to make the book the best it can possibly be. You deserve nothing less.

In the meantime, I could use your help. Good books find new readers exclusively through word-of-mouth. All our success so far has been 100% due to you guys. Every recommendation you make over happy hour, every review you write, every time you gift the book to someone, they all make a huge difference. Then a little lightbulb appeared over my head. If readers are my ambassadors to the world, why not ask them for ideas?

Many of you have blogs, newsletters, podcasts, companies, press outlets, social media followings, forums, audiences, book clubs, and other communities which you maintain or participate in. These are great avenues for getting the word out about a new book. No platform is too humble or grand. So if you have any ideas or suggestions or just want to help with the launch, email me (elpeper [at] gmail [dot] com) with answers to the questions below:
  1. What's your name?
  2. What community do you have in mind (blog, magazine, mailing list, event, etc.)?
  3. What's your relationship to that community?
  4. How would you like to help?
Thank you for all your ongoing support. You guys are the best and I'm one lucky writer.

Oh, and make sure to join the 700+ creative entrepreneurs in my inner circle by entering your email below. You'll get all the juicy details about the new book in addition to my reading recommendations and other exclusive content!

Alternative Ways To Work In The 21st Century

Just another day at the office...
Work just isn't what it used to be. The days of cubicle farms, standard career ladders, and pension plans are over. Instead, competition for top talent rivals the NFL Draft, freelancers write code from Thai beaches, and recent graduates tremble at the roller-coaster prospects of modern employment. How can we thrive in the face of so much uncertainty?

This is a topic that's very close to my heart. As an author, I spend a lot of time wrestling with my next story at home and on walks (the sequel to tech startup thriller Uncommon Stock). As an adviser to entrepreneurs and investors, I'm usually found in a decked out conference room or mircro-roaster coffee shop. I'm allergic to structure. In fact, I've worked independently since university and doing so has exposed me to some of the top business leaders, creators, artists, companies, and venture investors out there. Plus, if my productivity starts to nose-dive, I go on a run at 11AM.

But I'm not special at all. In fact, there's a whole new generation of professionals who are turning Corporate America on its (well-groomed) head. They are redefining what work means, tackling big problems, and achieving desk-defying success. And those hoping to doff the suit-and-tie before the next TPS report might want to pay attention.

Eric Schweikardt is the CEO of Modular Robotics. Not only did he start a robotics company after finishing architecture school, he established manufacturing in Boulder, CO with better economics and outcomes that in China. Modular Robotics' Culture is designed to be as fun as their products. They've turned operational tasks into games and you have to be careful in their office or you'll trip over a golden retriever.

Jessica Semaan is the CEO of The Passion Co. She is following her dream of helping others achieve theirs. She is building a business around helping people transition from corporate to creative and her programs are based on concrete outcomes, not cute slogans. Her cohorts could supply a few dozen additional examples for this post.

Cammy Houser was a Co-founder of Given Goods. She switched out of the well-trodden strategy consulting path to start a philanthropic online marketplace that touches people around the world and is a proud member of the Techstars mafia.

Ryan Orbuch is a Founder at Basil and the Designer of Finish (Apple Design Award 2013). By designing the #1 bestselling productivity app on the App Store when he was 16, he's living proof that the 21st Century definition of "work" is changing fast. He's been featured in The New York Times, TEDxTEEN, SXSW, and he graduated in June from Boulder High School.

The list could go on. Matthew Inman and Hugh MacLeod are reimagining what being an artist means by striking out on their own. Hugh Howey and James Altucher are doing the same for authors. Jodi Ettenberg quit her job as a corporate lawyer to travel the world and is now a top blogger. Michelle Miller left JP Morgan to develop and produce The UnderwritingAttorneys, designers, programmers, copywriters, and professional service providers of all kinds are going freelance. Tim Ferriss and Dan Pink are changing our notions of work with books like The 4-Hour Workweek and Drive that examine the science of motivation and the mechanics of millennial career ambition. Project-based, autonomous, purpose-driven collaboration is becoming the norm.

Businesses are embracing Results-Only Work Environments, unlimited vacation policies, and remote working. Companies that don't are finding it harder and harder to attract and retain talent. People like Dilbert but they don't want to work at his office if they can avoid it. More and more folks are seeking and finding lucrative alternatives and doing remarkable things. You can too. At the end of the day, life is a Results-Only Work Environment.

If you're interested in learning more, I'll be interviewing Eric, Jessica, Cammy, and Ryan at the upcoming Startup & Tech Mixer on August 8th in San Francisco. I'll have some books on hand to sign too. It fills up fast and once the tickets are gone, they're gone. So register here today.