AGT Monthly Meeting for February 2023
The Authors Guild of Tennessee held their monthly meeting on Thursday, February 2, 2023, at the Faith Lutheran Church, Knoxville. Social time and book exchange began at 10:30 a.m. with the business meeting starting at 11:00 a.m.
The following members were present:
Arlene Anderson, Stephen Lyn Bales, Bill Barbour, Vicki Bennett, Linda Best, Sam Bledsoe, Randy Carpenter, Bobbi Chapman, Deana Charcalla, Pat Crumpler, Dave Curran, Gayle Curtin, Laura Derr, Danita Dotson, Sonja DuBois, Russ Fine, Linda Fitzpatrick, Leoma Gilley, Stanford Johnson, Morris Hudgins, Ernie Lancaster, Jerry Morton, Kathy Parr, Cheryl Peyton, Adrienne Small, and Victoria Winifred.
Guests: Sherry Fine, Caroline Everett, Tim Holder, Dr. Amber Roessner
Welcome – Cheryl.
Tim Holder talks about diversity in his radio show on WRJZ. He has written books about presidents and their faith, presidential trivia, and one for children.
January minutes: Minutes of the January meeting have been approved online. Revision: during COVID, our speaker, Stephen Lyn Bales took the time to count how many articles he had written in his 30-year career. The total was 600.
Treasurer’s report: – Russ
Balance as of January $ 3142.91 Income as of January 31: $568.55 Total Expenses in January $809.11
Current balance: $3156.39.
Russ will send a $100 donation to Faith Lutheran this week as a thank-you for hosting our meetings.
Bobbi showed us cards with nature drawings by Stephen Bales that are for sale. As UT takes the proceeds from the sale of his books, Bobbi wanted to promote his cards. They are $4.00 each, a box of six for $18.00, or three cards for $10. The members agreed to let Stephen sell his cards with books at fairs and festivals.
Report on Committee Activities:
Fairs and Events: Deana Charchalla advised that Danita is helping her with events. They are looking into signing us up for one festival a month.
Publicity/Marketing: Linda Fitzpatrick talked about new ideas for marketing such as expanding writing contests in schools. Also, we may start an AGT newsletter and develop an AGT mailing list.
Retail: Linda Best visited the pharmacy in the Phoenix building on Gay Street where we will be placing our books. Winsome Stroll in Spring City has been set up. The committee is looking for more locations and thinks we should rotate titles to keep displays fresh. She needs more volunteers for the committee, especially those willing to think, plan, connect, and cart some books. For those taking responsibility for a location, they need to stay in touch with the owner/manager, visit once a month, replace inventory and keep the space organized. The committee is still gathering information to help us expand. There are possibilities to talk about our books at different venues. Individuals should communicate with Linda about organizing one. In the spring, we could rent some picnic areas to hold a show which could be successful, taking a all-hands approach.
Training: Sam Bledsoe feels Twitter could be a good way to sell books. About 5 members use it now. There will be a 10-10:30 training session before the next meeting. Victoria has experience on Twitter, and says it is an easy way to publicize books. She will share some tips on how to get followers and sales. We all need to first set up an account as an author. You can download the app on your phone. Writer4kids is Victoria’s handle. AGT has a Twitter account that isn’t in use.
Website: Bill Barbour noted that 3 people are missing an author’s page. If you are one of those, check with Bill.
Writing Contest: Jerry Morton, Art Stewart. Last week Cheryl presented $50 to the first-place winner in the high school competition. She and Art talked to both winners. Art is mentoring Chloe Tinker for regional and national contests. Gannon Day is also now interested. TN Valley Educational Cooperative may link up with AGT as a sponsor at their annual banquet.
Dr. Amber Roessner, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the UT School of Journalism and Electronic Media spoke to us about writing skills and marketing.
Amber got her initial experience as a sports reporter at the Red and Black student newspaper in Athens, GA. As a journalist, she aims to get at the cultural truth, to capture a real slice of life. As a university professor, she and her students want to tackle real issues in our community, like homelessness. Jack London dressed as a poor person and lived in hard places in London. He wanted to live that experience. Amber learned two days ago that a friend’s father, age 69, is now living in the woods. She has spent a lot of time helping to find resources to help, and they fall way short. Until we come in contact with it personally, we don’t really understand the situation. God has given us as writers the gift of words. It is up to us to share some of those painful chapters of our lives with broader audiences, although our past experiences can be the hardest thing to write. Where do we start to unpack the painful chapters of our lives in a way that can make a difference? Look into your lives as writers and discover the stories you were meant to write and how to put that on paper. For example, she wrote a history of sports journalism including research about how poorly female athletes from the 1880s onwards were covered and treated by the press. Women journalists were exposed to the atrocities of war in a new way. It takes time to think about the past and process it enough to talk about it. Based on an image, you can reconstruct memory and that can become an important story.