What We Learned at RWA (August 2017)

Every July we do a conference themed show leading up to RWA (the Romance Writers of America Conference), but it never occurred to us to do a post conference wrap up– until now!

This year we got together on the last day of the conference to record a reflection on our three days in Orlando, Florida. And by together, we mean actually together– in the same room. That’s right! This month we have a rare in-person, First Draught recording.

We’re thrilled to share our unfiltered thoughts on drip campaigns (don’t worry, we explain that), post-conference blues, waterfalls, and the vast importance of spending time with your people. Also,dance parties.

Want to pretend you’re at the RITAs with us (think the Oscars of romance writing) ? Find out what we drank while we were there, then grab your glass and join us:

 

As always, if you prefer to listen, you can find our podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud. (Just remember to picture us all in the same room this month.)

Also! A huge thank you to our sponsors– especially Laura von Holt who not only was a guest on our show last month, but also kicked-off our new Patreon page with her generous donation.

We so appreciate each and every one of you and are honored that you spend your time with us each month. If you’d like to support our podcast and help us grow, please be sure to check out our Patreon page. And know that we are grateful for it all everything from your 20 seconds to your $20.

**And if you attended RWA or any other conference recently, HBIC Nation has a great post-conference workbook to help you hang on to that great let’s get stuff done momentum. Sign up over there for a free copy.**

Networking at Conferences (July 2017)

There you are. Standing on the fringes of the bar area at the hotel where a giant conference is being held. You’re mere feet away from your dream agent, and that blogger you love, and that other author you talked to about 90s boy bands on Twitter. And you freeze. Because, holy overwhelm, Batman.

We’ve all been there. Which is why we’re so thrilled to bring you this summer’s conference edition of First Draught. We’ve invited our good friend Laura Von Holt on to share her tips on networking. She breaks down some really, really, practical steps to help you OWN that room and have a lot of fun doing it. Seriously, we took notes. So grab a pen, your favorite notebook, and a delicious drink and learn to be your very best self at your next big (not so scary, anymore) networking event:

And, as always, you can grab the podcast at iTunes or Soundcloud.

Want even more networking goodness from Laura? There’s a bonus video with one last strategy that she didn’t mention on our show, available exclusively to our Patreon subscribers. Supporters at any level will get access to this extra tidbit of awesome. Thanks so much for checking us out and considering giving your support!

And here are your handy link to the resources we mentioned on the show:

Thank you so much for watching, listening, and supporting First Draught. Until next month… cheers!

Writing When Life Gets Crazy (June 2017)

The only thing constant is change. Super cliché, but super true. This month we’re talking about the special kind of flexible it takes to thrive in the world of publishing– those scheduling gymnastics we do to keep our careers afloat.

We share practical tips on how to work backwards from your deadline to create a writing and publishing schedule, the importance of giving yourself a grace period within that schedule, and how to cope with life’s little (or not so little) unexpected changes. We also chat about knowing when to be extra kind to yourself and take a step back for reflection.

Check out the video of our conversation here:

Or listen in on iTunes or SoundCloud. And if you want to sip along as well, all the details on what we’re drinking are here.

Our conversation started with much enthusiasm for beer and bourbon related travel (as all good conversations should, naturally). If that piqued your interest, check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and all the amazing that is Asheville, North Carolina (including Green Man Brewery).

As always, thank you so much for watching/listening. Got a topic you’d like us to tackle? Leave us a note in the comments below. Love the show? Please take a second to leave us a quick review on iTunes (or your podcast delivery system of choice) or a thumbs up on YouTube– both help other writers find us. We couldn’t be more grateful for your time, thank you!

Author Collaborations (May 2017)

Writing can be a really solitary endeavor — just you and your laptop and your words. Even the most introverted of writers (which lets be honest, is mostly all of us) occasionally wish we had someone to bounce that crazy story idea around with. Or someone to talk to about trends in marketing or publishing. Or someone who simply just understands how crazy/exhilarating/exhausting/thrilling this business is.

Which is where collaboration comes in! Whether it’s working on a monthly podcast, or writing an anthology. Planning a local happy hour, or hosting an online community — it can be hugely beneficial to collaborate with other authors. This month, we’re talking about all the ways in which authors are creating their own little teams of awesome and the benefits of collaboration, as well as how to set yourself up for success.

You can also listen to us on iTunes or SoundCloud, and if you’d like to share a drink, all the details are here.

This month we’re also toasting a new collaboration of our own! Julia, Alexis, and Mary Chris along with the amazing Alexandra Haughton, Lindsay Emory, and Laura von Holt just launched HBIC Nation last week. We’re thrilled to share our online community and our Dream. Do. Dominate. philosophy with you. Check out our exciting new adventure over at hbicnation.com or on the HBIC Nation Facebook group!

As always, thank you so much for watching/listening/reading! Sign up for our newsletter, and please let us know what topics you’d love to see us tackle in the future in the comments below. And if you enjoy our show we’d so appreciate you sharing it with others you think might like it.

What is Scrivener? (April 2017)

We realized that we mention Scrivener a lot on First Draught, so it seemed like a good idea to devote a show to what it is, what we love about it, and how we use it in our daily writing lives. One of the number one takeaways from our conversation is that there is no one right way to use this software– we each use it differently. Our hope is that by sharing our experiences, we’ll give you some direction to start playing on your own and figure out what works best for you. (And when you do, drop us an e-mail or leave a comment here, we’d love to hear about it!)

We’ve included a couple screen shots at the bottom of this post that highlight Julia’s method of using Scrivener for a series bible and how Alexis uses it to organize promotion for her books. As an added bonus, Julia will be making a Scrivener series bible template, and would be happy to send you a copy when it’s ready. Just drop by her website and send her a message (you might as well sign up for amazing newsletter while you’re there, too– just saying.)

And of course you can also listen on iTunes or SoundCloud and drink along with us (details here).

Screenshots:

Julia’s series bible (note the folders on the left, to see how she is organizing and writing her whole series in this one file):

 

How Alexis uses Scrivener to organize promotion:

 

Links:

Details about Scrivener

Details about Vellum

And finally, you didn’t think we’d forget to show off these two beautiful covers we talked about, did you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for watching/listening and reading! See you next month!

Note: This show was not sponsored by Scrivener/Literature & Latte. We just like their product and wanted to share. 

I Wish That I Knew What I Know Now … (March 2017)

We’ve been at this writing and publishing game for a few years now; which means we’re far enough in to have learned some big lessons, and close enough to the beginning to remember what it felt like to be new to the arena. This month we’re sharing some of the things we wish we’d known when we started: everything from setting our own pace and owning our identity as writers (even if we didn’t quite believe it yet), to navigating the often sticky terrain of etiquette among writers. Grab a drink, and join us:

Or if you prefer take our chat on the go, you can find this episode on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Special thanks to Katie DunnebackZoe York, Dana Volney, and Karen Booth, for commenting on Alexis’ Facebook page and on Twitter so we could pass along their sage wisdom. (And to Heather Gardner whose post we ran out of time before getting to, but who also offered excellent insight.)

As always, thank you for your support of First Draught. Got an idea for a future show? Please don’t hesitate to let us know about it in the comments below.

And finally, we offer the below, with apologies in advance for the earworm: