The Tough Choices (Part I: Silencing the Techie Talk)

You know that blogpost I’ve been promising concerning Rafe, Askana, Billi, and their respective futures?

Make sure you’re sitting down, because this is it.

I could just make it short and sweet, but you all deserve a lot better than that. Also, I don’t think I can do that. I try for “short and sweet” and then, after I say what I have to say about what I really need to touch base on, it’s 3000 words later.

Besides, would you all expect any less from me? After all, if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve bought one of my books. Do I have to remind you how big Morevi is?

As many of you know, the previous year came out of the corner swinging haymakers like a wrecking machine. Rough seas had actually hit in 2009, but it was the beginning of 2010 that changed everything for me and my daughter. While I was counting on change in 2010, I didn’t foresee things changing as dramatically and as quickly as they did. I think Pip put it best when she said to me “Life around you is accelerated.”

I felt those G-forces most assuredly last year.

This blogpost is about the professional choices I had to make in 2010, and what is facing me in this new year. Those of you asking about Rafe, Askana, and Billi may not be thrilled with these decisions (Heck, you may flat out hate what I have to say…), but I am considering the grander scale of what I want to make a career. This means tough choices, choices you all as fans of my work should know about.

And instead of slamming you all with these touch choices in one grandiose blogpost, I’m breaking these tough choices up into a series of blogposts. I’d rather not melt your brains with a few thousand words. No need to serve the entrée and dessert with the starter, right?

So, let’s begin with a favorite of Tee Morris fans. Let’s start with where I opened my mouth and choked on my Reeboks. Continue reading

INTERVIEW: Tee Morris on Blog Talk Radio’s Breakthrough Business

I’m starting to get my groove back (like Stella) in producing ideas, writing (seriously), podcasting, and playing with Sonic Boom. This road has been difficult (and no kidding, a blogpost is written, but I am not ready to drop it just yet. Bear with me…), but I’m taking everything one step at a time, one day at a time…

One of those positive steps is getting back into the interview circuit. Recently, Que Publishing contacted me concerning All a Twitter. The book is being featured again in Barnes & Noble Bookstores everywhere, and Que is hoping to get the first Twitter guide written from a user’s perspective (and when my byline says “written by Tee Morris” it means it!) into new readers’ hands. They asked me “Whatever you can do to get the word out…” and so I sent out a query to my Twitter networks.

Meet Michele Price. She queried me before I tweeted!

Michele is the host of Breakthrough Business, and on her BlogTalkRadio show we talk about Twitter, about my job at Intersections Inc, and about approaches that go against the grain of the marketing books. We talk about how “old school marketing” just doesn’t work with Social Media, and how businesses need to understand that Twitter (and Social Media, on a whole) is about people.

We had a blast on this interview, and there are more slated for the month. The geekier ones I’ll feature here, but if you want to hear more about the Social Media, take a trip to Imagine That! Studios for the full blogosphere-podosphere interview tour!

Litopia Daily: Tee Morris Staves Cabin Fever via Podcasting with Peter

The day after the Great #Snowpocalypse of 2009, I felt the walls closing in a bit…and the twins inviting me to play with them really wasn’t helping. Fortunately, saving the day was Peter Cox all the way from Central London when he rearranged his schedule to sit down, open up the mics, and talk with me about podcast fiction. Seems that Litopia has opened a floodgate in talking about podcasting, Social Media, and the modern writer, and Peter wanted to sit down with the guy that started it all.

If you don’t know Litopia, you should. Lipopia is  run by writers for writers. It’s a podcast, it’s a blog, it’s a forum. It’s an inside look and a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry, and what was supposed to be a fifteen minute podcast…well, we went a little longer…

Enjoy this bit of time travel through the history of podcast fiction, and looking at the present day and possible tomorrows of Social Media in the publishing industry.

Listen. Comment (here and at Litopia). Share.

TeeMonster on the Move!

tee-jumpPhoto by Kreg Steppe

Hey, everyone! I’m closing in on a pretty busy chunk of time, and it all starts next week. As you can see in the photo, I attempted to jump to New Zealand, get a head start on the travel. The only problem is this picture is taken at CREATE South 2009 in Myrtle Beach, so that puts me by the Atlantic.

Oh yeah, and while I got some serious hang time in the photo…my distance was FAIL!

Before I get into the schedule, I got good news on All a Twitter: the manuscript is now at the publisher and currently being prepped for printing. You can pre-order the book but keep an eye on Imagine That! Studios for latest developments on my latest book concerning Social Media, and get ready — I got something else coming this summer.

Oh yeah, and I’m nearly done writing my smut for Chef Pip. I really am a naughty boy.

Now, here’s my upcoming schedule. This is where I will be:

May 22-25
Balticon 43 in Hunt Valley, MD

May 29-June 1
Conscription in Auckland, New Zealand

June 2
ANTI-Social Media, presented for LIANZA, 12pm-2pm
Room 420 Kate Edgar Information Commons Building #315
2 Alfred Street, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

All a Twitter, presented for LIANZA, 3pm-5pm
Room 420 Kate Edgar Information Commons Building #315
2 Alfred Street, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

June 3
Social Media Mainline Workshop for LIANZA, 9am-5pm
Computer Lab Room 433, Kate Edgar Information Commons Building #315
2 Alfred Street, University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand

June 6 (JUST ADDED!!!)
Podiobooks: The Best Audiobooks FOR FREE Online for Tararua District Library, 1pm-2pm
Dannevirke, New Zealand

June 15
ANTI-Social Media, presented for LIANZA, 12pm-2pm
Seminar Room, Reserve Bank of NZ
2 The Terrace
Report at ground floor reception no later than 11.45am
Wellington, New Zealand

All a Twitter, presented for LIANZA, 5pm-7pm
Conference Room, Department of Conservation
18-32 Manners Street
Report at ground floor reception no later than 4.45pm
Wellington, New Zealand

June 16
Social Media Mainline Workshop for LIANZA, 9am-5pm
SOLD OUT (Waiting List available)
Computer lab 510, Level 5, WelTec Wellington Campus
11-17 Church Street (off Boulcott Street)
Wellington, New Zealand

June 17

Speak Geek to Me, for Te Papa Tongarewa: The Museum of New Zealand, 10am-12pm
Location: TBA
Wellington, NZ

If you are in New Zealand and looking for a primer on Social Media, you can still sign-up for the Auckland workshop. I could not be more excited about this upcoming trip the Land of the Great White Cloud…

18.5 hours on a plane…AFTER I fly from DC to San Fran. Whoofah!

Next time we talk, I’ll be in the Southern Hemisphere. See you on the other side of the world!

Flutter…the Next Big Thing! *LOL*

This morning, I completed the ninth chapter of All a Twitter, but I may have to reconsider everything — and I mean, everything — and call up Que Publishing to renegotiate the book we agreed I would write.

This is going to be the next big thing in Social Media, and I want to write the first book on it!

Say hello to “Flutter.”

My editor at Que reads this blog, so let me say I’M JUST KIDDING!!! Seriously. I’m three chapters from wrapping up, and you think I want to do a rewrite from the beginning?!

Been there, done that, got a tee shirt, and I had said tee shirt ripped off me when the publisher tried to stiff me out of the advance.

I am hoping with where I’ve seen this video mentioned on Twitter that it goes viral on an apedemic scale. This is some funny, funny stuff. Consider me the first in line for “Sttr” and a pair of “Flutter Eyes.”

Write, or Go Home!

As you may know by now (provided you subscribe to Imagine That!, or follow either of my Twitter accounts), I’m working on a new book: All a Twitter, from Que Publishing. I’ve seen the tweets and also taken some heat from other DC consultants (and here’s a shock – these consultants are NOT on Twitter, but will give an opinion nevertheless…) concerning books about Twitter. I am still very optimistic, nay confident, nay cocky, that All a Twitter will be unlike the other books hitting the shelves between now and the summer.

For starters, my book will be written from a user’s perspective. Other titles (that I am aware of) are being written by people in Marketing, meaning the underlying intent of these books will be “This is the way you leverage Twitter in order to monitize your Social Networking experience.” I could go on a tear about that…another time. This isn’t what my rant is about. It’s concerning another quality of this future book.

All a Twitter will say on the cover “by Tee Morris” meaning the book will be written by me.

This is what my rant is about.

My revelation that people claiming to be writers but in fact are not writing books even though their names are on the cover, started at the beginning of the year. In a social setting over good food and good wine, the subject turned to how much work goes into a book. I pulled from my own experiences with the For Dummies crew, which really blew away those at the table. I told them the breakneck schedule of writing computer books was not uncommon. That was when I turned to another author, one I had just met that had written a book on Twitter. I asked the author “How long did it take you to write your book on Twitter?”

The author looked at me as if I had asked the question using the Lothlorien Elvish dialect. The (self-proclaimed) best-selling author scoffed and said, “I didn’t write the book.”

“But your name is on the title?” I asked.

“Yeah, it is, but I didn’t write the book.” The author then told me, with an alarming amount of pride, “I went to my network on Twitter and asked my followers what they wanted in the book. They wrote what they wanted, I took what they sent in, and put it together.”

Say what?!

Yes, I know, ghost writing is nothing new. Happens all the time. You have people helping others behind the scenes (as Wikipedia states with Alan Dean Foster writing the novelization of Star Wars, but handing credit to George Lucas), so I know that bylines may not always be as honest as they should be. Where I call “Shenanigans!” is when the books in question are “How To” books.

When you pick up a “How To” book and look at the title’s byline, you make a strong assumption if not conclusion that its author is an authority on the subject matter. How much confidence, then, would you have in an author if they were to tell you they farmed their work out to other experts, and then granted it a cursory eye once it came in? So let’s set the scenario: An author, based on their expertise and a proposal they have put together, is hired to write a book. Instead of researching their expertise further and actually writing the manuscript, these authors-under-contract have others write sections or chapters for them. They then shape the content in a fashion that fits their own needs, and then send off to the publisher the material under their name, not the individual who actually wrote the chapter.

Allright, that doesn’t make you a writer. That makes you an editor. An Acquisitions Editor. Barely. This was a similar process I followed as an Acquisitions Editor for Ben Bella Books’ So Say We All with one major difference: The individual chapters all carried the author’s bylines so you knew who wrote that particular essay.

When I agreed to write All a Twitter, Que Publishing sent me a list of guidelines and this is their standing on Citations:

Such use should be limited. Readers are paying for a book that shares your practical experience of the subject and they expect that the material in the book has not been published before.

“Readers are paying for a book that shares your practical experience…” Huh, what a concept!

The business behind “not-really-writing-a-book” I also have to wonder about. At Jeff Pulver’s Social Media Breakfast in Washington DC, I mentioned that I had just taken on All a Twitter. One of the attendees asked me “So you’re actually writing the book?” It turns out he was approached to write a chapter for another Twitter book being produced this year. His reply to the offer was “What’s in it for me?” A valid question, seeing as he wouldn’t have a byline in the final published work. The “author” of this Twitter guide didn’t reply to his query.

What. A. Shock.

These “smoke-and-mirror writers” take questionable business tactics one step further as, with byline under their belts, they bill themselves as experts and sell seminars to conventions, expos, and special events. Money – in some instances, big money – is now exchanging hands. I’m not sure who makes me angrier: the people claiming to be authors and taking credit for work that isn’t theirs, or the organizers of these events who don’t take a few minutes before planning their schedules to evaluate a speaker’s street cred. When you carry around on your blog, website, or resume a publishing credit, there is a measure of trust involved that a book carrying your name on it was written by you. I doubt if I could sleep soundly betraying that trust because I believe in the “Put Up or Shut Up” ethic. If a book is going to carry my name, I’m going to be the one held accountable for it so I’m going to make sure the words are truly my own.

Chances are, with this blogpost, I’ve effectively painted a bulls-eye on All a Twitter, and on anything else with my name on it. Critics, nay-sayers, and maybe a few guilty will hold my work under a magnifying glass. And you know something? I’m okay with that kind of attention because I can stand by what I write. Oh, I did ask for some help here and there, but you can be assured those who helped me out will be given salutations and citations.

You can also be assured that when a book says “by Tee Morris” on it, that is the truth. So keep an eye out for All a Twitter this summer. It’s written by Tee Morris.

Seriously. It is.

An interview on “Conversations with Coach Ian Scott”

Coach Ian Scott connected with me through my work on Podcasting for Dummies, both the podcast and the book. (No, the PFD Podcast hasn’t faded. It’s just been difficult to get to on the priority list.) I have been working with him on fine tuning both his podcasts, and as a way to say “Thank you” Ian invited me on his interview show “Conversations with Coach Ian Scott” which is a talk show featuring creative professionals from around the world. From his website, Ian says about our interview:

We talk about Tee as a podcaster and author. Podcasting: How and Why organizations, corporations, and individuals should be utilizing the power of podcasting. Social Networking, the CES 2009 Expo of January 8 – 11. Projects Tee Morris is currently working on, and a new book on Twitter to be launched around the Summer of 2009. Oh, and we had some fun along the way!

We most certainly did that! In this interview, I give one of the reasons I have not been on Twitter recently. (It’s a good reason, trust me.) I also have a few announcements to make after I return from Farpoint. Enjoy the interview and please leave Ian a comment on his blog concerning the interview. He’d love to hear from you!