It Never Gets Old: Musings on Release Day, One Month Later

I was on the other side of the world when it happened. Day Four in New Zealand and Wellington is turning on the charm as she usually does…

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You might be led to believe my random posting of photos and video meant I was taking it one day at a time in Aotearoa, not a care in the world to be seen nor any fucks remaining to give. Trust me, the stress of 2014 was now and truly in the rear view, my new day job reinforcing my ability to do what I do and perhaps push the boat out and try adding new skills under my belt. A daring thing to do when you are south of 45 years, but that is what life is all about, isn’t it? Discovery and learning new things. Then off to New Zealand to kick off the 2015 convention year. Enjoy the ride, as I like to say…

Truth be told, I was really walking a knife’s edge on Day Four, the day that I blogged about last year (around the same time) on Chuck’s blog: The Diamond Conspiracy was out in the wild and reaching the hands of readers. Continue reading

The Price of Publicity

I promised myself to work on my blogging skills. It’s a bit like getting back into shape, you know? I’m struggling to get back into a routine, and everyone around me is telling to cut myself a break considering the year I have been facing. The reality is, just like staying in shape, I have to do this. Next year, as many of you know, I will be returning to novel-length fiction with my first mass market paperback novel, Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel. Me. The Kiwi. Steampunk. The cover is just beautiful, I’m telling you. Stay patient and, as soon as we get approval, we will go live with it.

2011 is a big step for me as a writer; and I’m trying to take everything I have learned since 2002 when Morevi first rolled off the presses, and apply it to the now. One of the hardest lessons I learned over this near-decade of writing professionally is just how easy it is to find yourself in the red. Not the red ink of an editor’s pen, mind you, but the financial red of your bank account telling you in so many words that you — the professional author — are flat broke. 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!

Perseverance and Peter Gabriel

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Today, I got a job.

Today, I got a full time job in Social Media.

While this sounds like something simple, the point I want to make, if I teach the world anything, is not to give up. Don’t give up.

Remember that song? There’s a darkness in that song, sure. I mean, hey, it’s Peter Gabriel. But there’s that optimism (voiced by Kate Bush), that assurance, you can make it through the storm.

I frakkin’ love that song.

People on Twitter and at KrakenQuest’s Great Reveal all knew I was having a tough time at this job hunt, but let me give you the run down that only a few have heard…

October 2007

First, there was actually dusting off the resume. I realized straight away there was a problem: I hadn’t done this in nearly ten years. I had no real experience, apart from my skills in the classroom. It amazed me how many people thought that would make me a valuable asset because I had the mad skills. InDesign, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, and so on and so on. This was going to be a piece of cake.

I knew better. Even with two books in podcasting under my belt, I knew I had a lot of knowledge, but not the experience that people would want. Still, I gave the resume an overhaul with the help and encouragement of Paul Fischer & Martha Halloway, and began the job hunt.

In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

February 2008

I was thrilled to connect with a headhunter that found me a client wanting someone knowledgable in Social Media. I went in for the first interview and made such a good first impression that one of the interviewers chased me to the elevator to say “Goodbye.” The headhunter prepped me, said I was close. One more interview. It was supposed to be with the president of the association. Well, okay then. The president and an associate? No problem. We set the time for a late afternoon, after a class; and I cut my class off early so I could make the 4:30 p.m. interview. I walk into the office and meet the president and two associates. Two? Well, okay then. Two. I proceed with the interview, the two associates just watching me and the president wanting me to regale her with tales of my theatre days. (Another blog post about that to come….) After being there for over an hour, the president of the association cuts me off and says “This isn’t going well.”

You could have heard a pin drop.

Continue reading

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!

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