Dominic Harrington is the author of Building Expert Business Solutions with Zoho CRM, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Dominic: Zoho CRM Implementation, development and integration.
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Dominic: I was approached by Packt when they were actively seeking a Zoho expert to write a book. My motivation was that as the years and projects roll by, I catch myself thinking I wish all of my past, present and future clients could benefit from all the experience I’ve gained during the last several years of working with Zoho. There is too much knowledge and experience gained not to share so it seemed like writing a book would be a great way to impart much of this.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Dominic: I researched mainly on Amazon, online and social media to learn about other books that had been written on the subject. I tried to understand about them to help me position mine to be the best and unique to me so that it would stand out from the others. I estimate that I spent several hours over a week or two before beginning the book.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Dominic: So at the time I started writing the book, it was the middle of a global pandemic. About three chapters in, the schools closed here in the UK. My partner and I had to split home-schooling our 6 year old son for three months like millions of others. However, this literally wiped out half of the working week needed to run a busy business. The book writing slots had to become 6am and 8pm before and after all the other responsibilities as well as several hours at weekends. Once this new routine had been re-established I managed to get back on track.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Dominic: The technologies used by Zoho and discussed in the book are extremely valuable to businesses today and future-proof. Some of the latest releases, functionality and applications of Zoho are generally available 3-5 years ahead of when people will start to adopt them widely. Having worked with Zoho for several years now, I have experienced a couple of cycles of this. My advice to all Zoho users is take the time to understand and learn about the latest features and applications and in doing so you can literally be streets ahead of your competitors. In the coming years, artificial intelligence and a surge in API development will mean users will have access to the insights and information they need, up to the minute update. We have already seen prospecting for new target clients disrupted using these technologies. What would have taken hundreds of hours of research and formatting/importing into Zoho can be done literally in seconds.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Dominic: For me one of the biggest differentiation is that a whole section of the book is devoted to six other Zoho applications. Each application has it’s own chapter explaining the main functionality, purpose and crucially how they integrate with Zoho CRM. The real case scenarios bring it all to life and helps explain them in a way that is easier for the readers to relate to. The advice I share on successful adoption and ongoing success of the CRM is also very personal to myself and an area of the book I am especially pleased with and proud of. One of the primary objectives of my book is not only to educate but too inspire.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Dominic: I want readers to come away with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to take their Zoho CRM from current first, second or third gear up to sixth or seventh (using a car analogy). They should feel inspired to implement the skills learned and also thirsty for continued learning and development for years to come. Zoho and the technologies they use and develop never stands still, it evolves, often at pace. To be able to tap into this and continue to benefit from it, I want my readers to know that they also should never stand still and push themselves constantly further.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Dominic: Try things for yourself, make mistakes, learn from them and always be evolving and learning.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Dominic: Not currently, but watch this space, it’s coming soon.
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Dominic: The best one is community.zoho.com – and quoting Zoho is “where Zoho enthusiasts connect, engage, and learn from each other. 100,000+ members | 400,000+ discussions”.
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Dominic: I have been extremely impressed with the whole author journey from beginning to end with Packt. From day 1, I instantly got the impression that they had a plan, knew what they were doing and are were very good at doing what they do. This impression is proven to be correct time after time as you progress through the different stages of writing the book. I literally could not have done it without them and would like to thank them all for such dedication, support and hard work throughout. It really has been a privilege to work with them.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Dominic: Computer Weekly and Computing (in UK) have been my main go-to’s for a while however I do find the tech section of the New York Times interesting. It feels like a lot of the the buzz and excitement emanates from Silicon Valley and when it comes East to New York, they add some commercial insight and filters to have this ready for me to consume this in UK. My favourite topic right now is Software as a Service (SaaS) so I have been following many knowledgeable experts in this area on LinkedIn for a while. I also love Ted Talks as find them quite inspirational and engaging (who doesn’t!).
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Dominic: As mentioned earlier, homeschooling effectively shredded my original plans, organization and time to write the book. So effectively I had to create plan B. Personally, I needed a timetable, a structure. I booked slots in my calendar each week, giving myself at least 2 days per week with no writing – which was equally important. Once the routine was settled after a couple of weeks you seem to get into a rhythm. I would have really struggled without such organization.
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Dominic: What a great question! At times you may feel too tired or not in the right frame of mind to produce at the level at which you need/want to. When this happens, it is like hitting a brick wall. I found that taking a break before coming back later and then breaking down the next sections into sub-sections helps you to continue to progress, albeit slower than before. To move forward slowly is much better than not at all – and then once you overcome that blockage you naturally pick up speed. On reflection, I wish I had someone to tell me that, I had to learn the hard way. I’m sure every writer has their own challenges and solutions.
You can find Dominic’s book on Amazon by following this link click.