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President's Report    

Brenna Lyons, EPIC 2006-2007 PresidentThe President's Report . . .

May 26, 2006

Hello again!

It's the end of May, and I'm just settling back in from the Romantic Times Magazine Booklovers Convention, which was held in Daytona Beach. The convention was a roller coaster ride for me: huge, electric and productive. Most of all, I think it was productive for EPIC. I hope it was.

In dealing with the convention staff, especially JoCarol, I set the groundwork for a continued relationship between EPIC and RT. That fits perfectly with our goals for raising EPIC's public face, and it's a good friend to have in the industry.

JoCarol is already primed for the idea of EPIC hosting panels on e-publishing next year, and the preliminary work on that has been done by the fine ladies and gents on EPICTexas, since next year's convention is in their neck of the woods. Among other things, she's hoping for a mini e-Fiesta-type event from us as part of one of the panels. To be honest, I would LOVE to see this happen. RT is supportive of new technology, and they see EPIC as a partner in educating readers. It's one of our aims, so I am all for this concept.

This year, we gave computer and e-book information at the Tech-No-Way panel for readers, spearheaded by JoCarol Jones and Patty Harrison. Patty seemed glad to have us (Gail Northman and myself) there at the panel, and she invited us to do our thing during the panel. Though the panel itself was on organizing your TBB and TBR piles, it segwayed nicely into e-books, once we started adding thoughts to the subject of backing up your TBB/TBR lists by using simple strategies like using your ISP mail or a g-mail account for off-site backups. Before the end, we were demonstrating readers, telling people how to order books, touting the advantages of e-books, the back-up features of them, and telling the ladies how e-books simplify the TBR list...and how wish lists simplify the TBB list.

In addition, each panel attendee walked away with an EPIC pen and a full set of the information sheets I made for e-Fiesta at EPICon 2006. The leftover promo gear went home with Gail for her promo efforts in the UK. I sent 32 pounds of EPIC promo ahead and carried another 15 pounds or so with me on the plane. NONE of it came home.

The only "wasted promo" were some EPIC trifolds that I didn't bother to carry home with me. To be honest, the existing trifolds are wildly out of date, and they don't move. I have designs for several new trifolds that I will be presenting to the board and Valerie for comment this month (as soon as my computer is up to full steam again). I feel that they represent us much better, and I hope to have them heading to conventions soon. You'll all be updated as things move on.

I collected enough gifts and promo gear from our authors/publishers, in addition to some promo gear I had on hand (like leftover t-shirts, EPIC bags and pens), to make two giveaway bags at RT. For those of you who sent me two of something, they would both have been given away at RT. The first of the bags, the smaller of the two, was given away at the Tech-No-Way panel. The second was given away in Club RT. It was a stellar bag, and it weighed in at about 15 pounds of promo for EPIC and our authors/publishers.

I put out promo gear for EPIC and for our authors/publishers on promo row and in Club RT. The FIRST things to go were the printed bags made for e-Fiesta, that people grabbed to put promo gear in as they walked. All the gear going IN them may not have been ours, but I heard more compliments on the bags than anything else we took there. Kudos to Stacey King for organizing that. We'll be doing the bags again this coming year. Never fear.

As if this exposure weren't enough...and I think it went very well, I ended up doing a half-hour interview on the paranormal romance industry with a gentleman from the Orlando Sentinel. I got in a plug for EPIC during the interview that I hope makes it into the article. The reporter said the article might be a couple of weeks in coming, and he's supposed to let me know when it prints, but if any of you are local, please keep an eye out for it. I would gladly pay you for copies bought for me and sent.

The board, as you know, roughed out a budget and had Dan put it up for a vote. The votes are in, and the budget passed by a landslide vote. Of the 77 people who voted on the issue, 76 voted to pass the budget as it is. That a given, we'll get down to the work of making the projects happen.

Of course, the moment the budget passed, I had people suggest other money they'd like to see spent for projects. The board will discuss them. They may turn out to be projects for next year, and they may turn out to be something we feel strongly enough about to bring an addendum to the membership to add to the budget this year. I think they are strong suggestions, and they will be presented to the board by me as such. Again, thank you to everyone for offering such wonderful suggestions. THIS is how EPIC grows, with the inspiration and perspiration of members.

The board is busy streamlining the way the system works. PayStone didn't work for us, so we had to drop it.

It became apparent that the way money changes hands from Treasurer to Treasurer is not ideal. We're a corporation, and it only makes sense to use that to our fullest advantage, so Barb will be opening a bank account this year that SHOULD be able to pass from hand to hand, without closing accounts between. The current system of changeover is brutal for all involved.

In addition, there are some expenses that are unconscionable to expect people to pick up and be reimbursed for. Among them were many of the promo expenses, and we've started using our corporate name to have these things direct-billed to the office of the Treasurer. That means no shortfall in a personal budget or accumulation of interest on a credit card while you wait for reimbursement.

Another of these expenses is shipping/mailing. The promotion staff has to mail out a LOT of pens, information sheets and trifolds. Again, we're a corporation. Thanks to Barb, we now have a UPS shipping account to keep people from putting the money out of pocket. This is a volunteer organization, but I'd rather people not have to volunteer their pocket money for interest fees when possible.

The site is being updated as Dan has time to add the copious information we're throwing at him. I don't know what we'd do without him.

Among the things being added soon is the new FAQ for the EPPIE. The EPPIE committee hashed this out for weeks to bring you the most appropriate response we can to the concerns posed to us. Of course, when it posts, there will be questions and concerns raised. Please, try to keep the infighting off the lists and send concerns directly to the committee chair, Carol MacLeod. I assure you that we discuss everything thrown at us, and nothing gets decided on the public lists.

That should about cover this month. You'll be hearing from me again in June.

Health and good sales to all.

Brenna Lyons
President, EPIC

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