In the fall of 2011, when Sam Bledsoe finished writing his first book, The Last Senoobians — a science fiction novel, he contacted three other local authors to discuss the challenge of promoting their books. In that meeting, Sam described his vision of forming an organization that would attract more attention in the marketplace and, by pooling resources, could rent space at fairs and festivals to promote and sell their books.
In early 2012, the group selected the name, Authors Guild of Tennessee, designed a logo, and added four more members, meeting once a month to formulate marketing plans. That spring, they rented booth space at the Lenoir City Arts and Crafts Festival and enjoyed profitable sales. That public appearance also attracted other new authors who inquired about membership.
By 2013, the fifteen-member group formally established the organization and registered with the state as a non-profit. They elected officers, formed committees, and collected dues. In addition to renting space at fairs and festivals, they also contracted with several stores to sell their books on a consignment basis.
Since that time, the group has averaged about 35 members. It continues to participate in numerous fairs and festivals throughout East Tennessee and has sold books in nine different stores and restaurants in the region.
The Authors Guild of Tennessee (AGT) is a working guild providing support, education, marketing, and community for authors in East Tennessee. We strive to promote high-quality literature, offering various resources for writers to achieve their fullest potential.
The AGT has identified these objectives:
To invite authors of all genres to apply for membership, which includes submitting an example of their work for review by the Membership Committee. If approved, agreeing to be an active participant in group activities.
To hold monthly meetings for socializing, networking, and learning. A lending library is maintained for members to read one another’s books. Reviews are encouraged. Qualified speakers give talks on topics related to writing, publishing, and marketing of books.
To manage an organizational website publicizing events and activities of our group and individual members, and to promote each member with an Author’s Page containing a brief bio, headshot, and covers of their books that are linked to external retailers for purchase.
To facilitate participation in local fairs and festivals, sharing the cost of the booth space, and attracting shoppers to a broad variety of literary works.
To hold occasional workshops, offering courses pertaining to writing such as: self-publishing, social media use, computer skills, and utilizing writing tools.
To establish writing critique groups that offer encouragement and editing assistance for works in process.
To reach out to the community by sponsoring writing contests in the local school systems for students in middle school and high school. AGT members offer individual mentoring and talks related to writing, such as plotting, developing characters, and grammar.
Board Executives for 2023
President: Cheryl Peyton
Vice President: Kathy Parr
Secretary: Leoma Gilley
Treasurer: Russ Fine
Assistant Treasurer: Randall Carpenter
Members-at-Large: Pat Crumpler and Jim Hartsell
Past President: Bobbi Phelps: 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Founding President: Sam Bledsoe: 2013 and 2014