Lisa Morton, HWA President
I should probably knock wood or cross my fingers or something before I write this, but here goes: I have probably never been happier with the state of our organization than I am right now.
Part of that is certainly due to my own state. 2017 has seen my life do a topsy-turvy turn for the better—after being the live-in caregiver for an elderly parent since late 2014, I’ve been relieved of those duties since doctors told us in July that we could no longer care for Mom at home. She’s now doing well in a board-and-care facility, where she gets attentive and warm 24-hour care, and my life is my own once again.
But beyond that, the organization is also in extraordinarily good health right now. Our 2017 StokerCon was a tremendous success, with double the amount of attendance from 2016, and both our 2018 and 2019 events are locked into place with wonderful chairs hard at work on guaranteeing the best possible events. We’ve learned from earlier mistakes we made (and, yes, we know exactly what we did wrong with the inaugural StokerCon in 2016), and we believe we can make these events self-sustaining and even profitable on a regular basis.
Our latest anthology, Haunted Nights (which I was fortunate enough to co-edit with Ellen Datlow) has been an unqualified hit. It went into a second printing before publication, and has earned rave reviews, including a starred and boxed review in Publishers Weekly. Our young adult anthology, Scary Out There (edited by Jonathan Maberry), recently saw a paperback re-issue. And we’re currently in negotiations on our next anthology, which I cannot wait to reveal. For now, all I can say is that it looks to be our biggest anthology deal yet … and, yes, it will be open later this year to member submissions. Trust me, this one’s going to knock your socks off!
In 2017 we finally streamlined our Web site, so it’s no longer necessary to reach those useful private areas with multiple log-ins (thanks to our Webmistress Angel Leigh McCoy). Our monthly column “The Seers’ Table” continued to introduce wonderful and diverse new voices in our genre. We had another successful run of “Halloween Haunts” (hurrah to Kathryn McGee for overseeing that in 2017). We awarded five scholarships to deserving authors. And we continued to work in the usual administrative areas, including improving the Bram Stoker Awards® rules, doing more membership outreach, working with libraries, continuing to build chapters, and improving opportunities for our academic members (thanks, Michele Brittany and Nicholas Diak).
And I’m pleased with how many of our members, by renewing for 2018, have told us that we’re heading in the right direction. Combine that with the addition of new members, and we look very healthy indeed.
There are some areas I’d like to improve on in 2018, of course. I’d like to see us get back to the main floor of BookExpo—we did extremely well there in 2015 but had to temporarily set that aside to pay for our first two years of StokerCons. BookExpo is very expensive, but I see it as a key way for us to further our core mission of promoting the genre and our members.
I’d like to explore ways to reach out globally, with more events in Europe.
I want to continue to build our chapters and the local events they participate in.
As always, I thank you, our members, for your continued support and for allowing the officers, the trustees, and the volunteers to serve on your behalf. I hope you share my belief that HWA has never been stronger, healthier, or more poised for a fine future.