AGT Monthly Meeting for January 2024
The Authors Guild of Tennessee held their monthly meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2024, at the Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut. Social time started at 10:30 and the business meeting at 11:00.
The following members were present:
Stephen Lyn Bales, Bill Barbour, Sam Bledsoe, Jeff Carlson, Randy Carpenter, Bobbi Chapman, Deana Charcalla, David Curran, Gayle Curtin, Laura Derr, Danita Dodson, Sonja DuBois, Russ Fine, Linda Fitzpatrick, Kaye George, Leoma Gilley, Wes Hibbert, Ernie Lancaster, Jerry Morton, Angela Newland, Cheryl Peyton, Nancy Pressley, Ron Pressley, Art Stewart, Victoria Winifred, and Curt Young.
Guests: Sherry Fine
Welcome – Cheryl. 12 of last year’s members are not renewing: 3 joined and never came to a meeting, 3 didn’t attend at least 3 meetings, 3 couldn’t come to daytime meetings, and 3 travel a lot (Arlene), or are moving (Stan Johnson). We got a new application 2 days ago. We had 12 new members last year. If people have ideas of what we should or we shouldn’t be doing, Cheryl is a sounding board for ideas.
December Minutes: Minutes of the December meeting have been approved without correction.
Treasurer’s report: – Russ
Beginning balance $2865.43
Ending balance $3635.12
Membership Dues $775.50
Phoenix Pharmacy $205.60
Preferred Pharmacy $27.99
DII Graphics $108.00
Author Payments $100.79
Methodist Hospital $100.00
Author payments $233.38
Reports by Committee Chairs:
Festival Facts – Bobbi and her team will check out 50 events and let everyone know so they can decide if they want to come. The Lavender festival signup deadline is Jan 31, but happens in June. After each show, there will be an evaluation sheet for each one who attends.
Festival Setups – Deana. She needs people to help her set up. If you are part of an event, please volunteer to assist her. When outside, the tents are challenging to do alone. She is hoping for an event per month.
Library—Laura We should all read other people’s books and write (hopefully positive) reviews. Bring your books and put them on the lending table. Books are then checked out. Make sure there is a card in the back. Return borrowed books to book box so the card can be put in and initial the sign out sheet that you have returned your book(s). To check out books out, pull out the card and sign it out. Give the card to Laura. At the end of the meeting, take your books home with you if they haven’t been checked out.
Marketing and Publicity – Frank Snyder and Curt Young They are working on some ideas and have made contact with people regarding libraries getting AGT books purchased with grant money.
Membership – Cheryl (for Kathy Parr) Kathy had a knee replacement surgery yesterday. We have one new applicant for this year.
Program – Danita has scheduled speakers for the next three months. February: Delonda Anderson, editor and author at Appalachia Bare, an online magazine that features creative representations of Appalachia through fiction and nonfiction, art, photography, music, architecture, videos, and reviews. She will be talking to us about her magazine.
March: AGT Member Gayle Curtin who will be sharing with us about how to write, design, and share a blog.
April: Terry Shaw, editor at Howling Hills Publishing, who will be sharing with us some tools for writing for and submitting to presses like his.
Danita asks if anyone would like to speak or know of someone who would be interesting, please let her know.
Retail — Cheryl will make a tour of stores where we have books to pick up books by non-renewing members’ and review sales. Stephen Bales is handling Phoenix Pharmacy where we have 32 authors representing 83 titles. Sales drop off at Phoenix in winter due to shorter hours. Ernie reported that Townsend is pretty dead until April, but people will be looking for books. The IGA owner will make bookshelves for our books.
Generally, stores get a 20% commission, up to 30%. The Sweetwater Pharmacy has not reported sales nor has the owner/pharmacist been available when Wes or Victoria stopped by to check on business for us.
Victoria is using her contacts for an Amazon discount group on Facebook. It’s called the Queen’s Corner Store. She works on this about 2 hours per day. There is no cost to join or to set up your own shop. There is some technical stuff to learn. You get credit for any purchase on Amazon if the customer uses your portal to enter the Amazon app.
Deana’s latest promotional item is a plastic band with her name and logo in many colors. She also uses a spinning wheel to give prizes or discounts. This has been very attractive for children.
Training: Sam and Victoria Winifred would like input on anything we need training on. They will send out a list of possible topics.
Writing Contest: Jerry reported they have winners from the first semester. The cost for this project is $800/year, and they need donations. Poetry will be the topic for the second semester as it was for the first semester.
Our webmaster, Bill Barbour, gave a slide presentation on the redesign and current information on the homepage as well as all the headings on our website, reporting on their content, and how they’re beneficial to our members. Bill reminded us that the website provides an online presence for AGT and for our authors (some who may not have their own website). He is working on providing a sales channel for authors on the site.
If you have websites, please put the Authors’ Guild link on it as well as on Social Media links. In the signature block you can put links to Amazon from your book cover and to AGT as well.
For members who want speaking engagements, let Bill know. He will be making a heading for that.
Guests’ Corner – relevant articles from non-members. If you see something of interest, send the link to Bill.
There is a page showing local stores where we have our books. Another for membership requirements, and the application for membership.
Gayle Curtain volunteered to be Bill’s backup to work on the website.by WordPress.
Be sure to add links on your author page for engagements, awards, etc. You may want to update your bio. Send information to Bill.
Membership Area: There’s a bar at the bottom for Members’ Login link. AGT Members Only Page includes the Directory of members, committees and their chairs, and the Constitution and Bylaws. Bill will send out the 2023 membership list as a pdf file for people to keep.
Other useful pages you may want to use:
Resources: There is a list of members and others who can help with cover design, editing, etc.
When you’re adding a new book, use the specific genre, if possible, rather than Fiction / Non-fiction.
We are grateful for all the enhancements Bill has made to the website. Now it is up to us to make use of them.