Meeting Minutes

March 2024

AGT Monthly Meeting for March 2024

The Authors Guild of Tennessee held their monthly meeting on Thursday, March 7, 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:

Bill Barbour, Sam Bledsoe, Randy Carpenter, Bobbi Chapman, Gayle Curtin, Danita Dodson, Russ Fine, Leoma Gilley, Jim Hartsell, Wes Hibbert, Ernie Lancaster, Jerry Morton, Kathy Parr, Cheryl Peyton, Nancy Pressley, Ron Pressley, Russ Fine, Brenda Sellers, Art Stewart, Jeri Weems, Victoria Winifred, and Curt Young.

Guests: Sherry Fine, Dorie Cummings, Teri Droske, and Beth Kelley

Welcome – Cheryl.  A few people notified me they aren’t feeling well. Ome guest I’d like to introduce is Dorie Cummings. She just moved from Michigan and settled in Tellico Village. She is applying for membership. Her book is Tokens of His Grace.

Minutes: Minutes of the February meeting have been approved without correction.

Treasurer’s report:  – Russ

Beginning Balance          $3406.03

Ending Balance              $3365.07



Membership Dues          $80.00


Book Sales:                    $69.30



Chilis                             $20.81

Author Payments       $138.53

Tax Filing                     $40.92


Pending Transactions

Harry McKinney       $132.18

Expense Reimbursement $25.00


Reports by Committee Chairs:

Ernie. 1) A store in Townsend is making bookshelves for our books. 2)There is an opportunity to talk with a group of 15-20 women at the Decatur Library. Ernie sold 18 books when he spoke there., 120 E Memorial Dr., Decatur TN 37322. (423) 305-3192

Ron and Nancy: A publisher mentioned at the last meeting asked for submissions for an anthology about Fathers. Nancy submitted a story and received a nice check for it. Ron appreciates his membership in AGT to have access to this type of information.

Sam has written another book, Nukes, How to Survive a Nuclear War.

Jim Hartsell is going to make the Boone Series into audiobooks. He found a company through KDP called ACX. People will audition and each has their own fee. 100% professional. You can share royalties or pay the reader yourself.

There’s also a Beta version using AI audio that Ron Pressley has tried. There is a steep learning curve for the editing features.

Festival Facts – Bobbi.  Seven people are on the festival facts committee. Nancy is co-chair. Last year AGT went to 7 festivals. We now have 39 opportunities and getting more for 2025. There will be a report after each one as to how successful it was. Many people have shown interest in participating (59%). Cleveland Apple Festival requires $140 payment which is not refundable ($35 each) due at the end of March.  The festival is October 19-20. Let her know if you are interested in attending.

Membership – Kathy Parr

Dorie Cummings is a new applicant and John Forcum is a new member. John has COVID now but hopes to be at the next meeting.

Program – Danita

If you have ideas for a program or are willing to speak, please let Danita know.

Retail — Cheryl

She went to Farragut Pharmacy and updated their book display. Hopefully, they will start selling books again. The Café in Loudon is closing. We will move the books and bookcases out. There’s a coffee shop on Broadway that looks like a good prospect. Cheryl will see if they are interested in having our books there. They have a place to sit and read while you eat.

Training & Marketing –Sam Bledsoe and Victoria Winifred.

Each attendee was asked to complete a short questionnaire listing something that worked for you to sell books or where you need help. They also asked for the genre of your books.

Writing Contest – Art and Jerry

The writing contest for the first semester at Loudon HS has ended. Parents have signed permissions so we can now publish the winning poems on our website. Awards will be given later this year.

Curt thought of sending a proposal to the East TN Foundation. We are an established organization and are asking them to fund about $10k to buy books from authors to give to libraries. It would fund a speaker to do a one-hour presentation on How to Publish a Book to each library receiving books. We must submit by early April. They asked each attendee to answer three questions: Do you like the concept of a book give-a-way? Are there other reasonable activities that would complement this idea? How much should we pay the person who goes to speak?

Website – Bill

When you do an event, send a photo and short description to Bill. Deanna, Wes, and Ernie have made appearances, and we need to highlight these activities on our website. We can also publicize our attendance at shows. There will be a change in the banner on the website soon. We need more clicks on FB and website, so adding a link at the end of your email signature would be helpful. FB ads are $1/day.


Our special speaker was AGT member Gayle Curtin who spoke on writing blogs including the following: her process for writing blog posts, tips for improving engagement, ways to publish, distribute, and market, and the benefits of blogging.

Gayle’s blogs are posted at under the title “On Second Thought.”

It can be time-consuming. Once a week is not considered high traffic. You can do 2-3 times per week. She writes it for herself. There are expenses involved when you use a company to help you set up a website. Writing blog posts involves a learning curve. You introduce, discuss, and end your topic in one page. It may lead to obsessive behavior, so be careful.

Select a topic. Do you want to sell your book? Share your interests? Be sure to have plenty of sub-topics if you have one theme. If you have many ideas, you can use the scattershot approach. She’s writing to learn and provoke thought in others.

Research: Google, but be careful to use credible sources (when 2 sources say the same thing). Surveys (she uses FB and they have helps to ask the right question), family history (the parts you can share), and books.

Filter: You may get too much information and need to refocus. Be careful of conflicting input. You may find an Information desert – you can’t find anything on the topic. Ask a different way. Rabbit holes are too much details and don’t help your post.

Format and Style: Visuals, include an image. Tone, is it casual, formal? Voice, who are you talking with. Being consistent is helpful.

Select a Quote to summarize your topic. Then have subsections, images or videos. Make sure it plays if it is from YouTube. If not, choose another video. Provide background and context to add credibility.

Side Notes: Have a social media teaser about your blog. Feedback is great. Pay attention to grammar and spelling.

Something in a border helps separate some text from the rest. Use bullet points.


Meeting adjourned at 12:10 p.m. The next meeting will be held April 4, 2024 at the Faith Lutheran Church, beginning at 10:30 a.m. for book exchange.