"When you create, you discover your purpose, you build your network, you gain expertise, and you demonstrate all of this to others."
- Eric Koester
Nearly two thousand ambitious individuals have gone through the Manuscripts programs, empowering them to create a book that becomes a legacy piece -- something that they are proud of, that impacts others and lives on bookshelves for the future. Along the way, they discover their purpose, demonstrate their expertise, and accelerate their career. This is story of Creators, and how the process of Openly Demonstrating your Purpose through creation can change everything.
Creator Institute is now a set of intensive programs designed by Eric Koester for high-performing individuals who want to discover their purpose and demonstrate their expertise through a nonfiction book, a novel, their memoir, or a poetry anthology.
These experiences connect participants with a network of mentors, coaches, editors, and supporters leveraging the entrepreneurial process to develop and launch a book.
Our goal is to empower people to create their own expertise and credibility that can help them land their dream job, get paid for their knowledge, launch a new product or service or simply create new opportunities.
Award-winning Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Professor Eric Koester shares the power of this new approach
On August 24, 2016, I was scheduled to meet with Jeff Reid, the head of Georgetown's
Entrepreneurship Initiative to tell him this semester would be my last one teaching the Launching the Venture course to undergraduates. I was quitting. Sure, I enjoyed the students but honestly wasn't really sure if I was making much of an impact -- and as a guy with two kids and his own startup to manage, I wasn't sure if it was worth doing. I had some serious doubts I could teach entrepreneurship anyways -- turned out even though I was teaching over 300 students per year (MBAs, undergrads and a high school summer seminar) when I looked closer, only 1-2 per year were actually going on to start a company after my course.
I felt stuck. So I decided to step away and pursue other opportunities.
That's when a well timed text from Shane Mac, one of my closest friends, pushed me to see this as an opportunity, "Push the limits then. Do something crazy with your last semester. What could you do that would change a student's whole career trajectory?"
As we talked further, we agreed what they should do:
Write a book
That was definitely crazy and could definitely change a 21-year-old's trajectory. However we weren't sure it was even possible or how to even pull this off. Neither of us had heard of an entrepreneurship, a business school or hell any college course with this approach, but we all quickly agreed this was the ultimate test of entrepreneurial drive (ours and the students). And if each student could write a book about something they were excited about, their book would demonstrate their expertise and passion to potential employers, customers, partners and more.
So with that fateful text exchange, Manuscripts was born. As I sat down to figure out how to convert a "standard" entrepreneurship course into Manuscripts, I was shocked to see that it actually required very little change to my existing Launching the Venture course. In fact, Manuscripts would still be all about being more entrepreneurial... idea generation, customer discovery, lean testing, pitching, startup marketing, etc. But the output was a manuscript and ultimately a published book.
That first day of class I was nervous -- very nervous. Twenty sophomores, juniors and seniors had signed up for a course probably thinking it was a typical "talk about startup stuff" entrepreneurship course, not realizing I had something entirely different planned.
"This semester, each of you are going to write a book," I began. "I'm here to help you and I've got some great people along for the ride. Our goal is to help you create a book that helps you land your dream job, get hired for your knowledge, launch a product or service, or just create new opportunities. Trust me, this will change your trajectory." They all stared at me blankly.
As I left class that night, I was half expecting a slew of students to drop the course and maybe a note from an administrator asking what the heck I was doing. But much to my surprise as I showed up to class the next week, all the students returned... and they brought their friends. The class swelled to 32 students who each took the journey and by the end of the semester every one of them had created a manuscript. For this group of students where only a few had ever written more than 10 pages, the average manuscript was over 90 pages... enough for a 150 page nonfiction book. And the stories and lessons were incredible to read. The student's passions, interests and purpose shone through on page after page of their books.
This was incredible.
I sent samples to published authors, editors, and experts in the field of publishing. They were floored. Out of the manuscripts, sixteen were identified as strong enough to publish and we decided to create a new publishing imprint New Degree Press to publish these authors.
The 16 students all signed up to continue on their journey -- revising their manuscripts, adding more content, working with designers on covers, securing blurbs from early reviewers and developing a marketing plan for their books. We set a date -- April 25, 2017 -- to launch our authors. One author sent his manuscript to a family friend and within weeks was signed to a book agent who will help the author expand his initial work. The other 15 launched books (physical and eBooks), have begun the book marketing process and all set their sights on earning Best Seller status with Amazon (several of which have already been received).
For a professor who had found himself struggling to teach entrepreneurship, I can confidently say I'm fallen in love with teaching again. These students are all entrepreneurs, authors and have emerged full of confidence and with a path towards their dream jobs, products, and careers. And all it took was a book... and a process, support and the drive to get there.
In many ways, we didn't quite know what we'd stumbled onto -- I'd just wanted to feel like my time was making a difference. But what we realized is this process had strengthened the credibilty for each student whether or not they even published. Some have already asked me "what does a 19, 20, 21 year old know enough about to write a book?" I think that's the wrong question. I ask myself “Do I think that a person who is able to create a book gains more expertise by writing the book rather than not doing it at all?" I believe the answer is yes.
And I have seen the growth in these students in ways I've never seen as a professor. And since 99.9% of people will never write a book, it’s a signal that they know at least a little bit more than you do if they can write one...
That's the power of the Manuscripts, and we received our B-Corp certification in August 2022 for our commitment to empowering underheard voices in books and publishing. We empower people to find their purpose, their calling. And facilitate a process for them to discover, learn and create something that demonstrates that purpose. That's the credibility that impacts others -- a sign that tells others something special.
These are Creators. Creator Openly Demonstrates Their Purpose.
Join us and start your journey as a Creator."