Podcast Archive

Building Characters – Part 1 (February 2018)

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2018 New Year’s Special! (January 2018)

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BookBub, Book Funnel, & More (November 2017)

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The One Where We Talk About E-mail Lists (October 2017)

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Blood, Sweat, & Book Launches (September 2017)

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What We Learned at RWA (August 2017)

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Networking at Conferences (July 2017)

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Scheduling Gymnastics (June 2017)

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Author Collaborations (May 2017)

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Scrivener: Software for Writers (April 2017)

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

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Tackling Revisions (February 2017)

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Setting Goals (and How to Achieve Them) in the New Year (January 2017)

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Our Favorite Books of 2016 (December 2016)

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Avoiding the Dreaded “Info Dump” (October 2016)

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Publishing Journeys: Julia Kelly (September 2016)

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The Planning Challenge: #ReadWritePlan (August 2016)

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RWA Three Different Ways (July 2016)

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Our Paths to Publishing (June 2016)

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Finding Your Own Truth in the World of Publishing (May 2016)

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The Making of Book Covers: Indie vs Traditional Publishing (April 2016)

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Surviving Your Book Launch (February 2016)

We’re talking book launches on the show this month. Not how to launch a book, but how to survive your book launch. Survive your book launch, you ask? Isn’t it the happiest day ever? Your words in the world! People buying them! Everyone congratulating you!

And yes, it is all those wonderful things, truly it is.

But there’s also a lot of vulnerability in putting a thing out there and saying “Hey, stranger– I made this, you should spend your time and money on it,” or “Hello, I love this, but you might hate it and if so, you’ll probably tell me.” Also, while I’m being really honest, it doesn’t always (ever?) turn out quite like the dream in your head from a sales perspective. You might not hit all the lists.

So how do you manage all that and still celebrate your HUGE accomplishment? One big thing we’ll chat about is making sure you do something, even just a little something, special on launch day. It does’t have to be big, or flashy– just something you wouldn’t ordinarily do, that feels like a little party.

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Books That Have Inspired Us (January 2016)

We had a fantastic, thoughtful discussion with Laura von Holt Tuesday about the books that have inspired us from novels to non-fiction.

It’s a long First Draught, but well worth it because there’s some great advice in there from Laura who’s currently leading a free series in New York City about how to get creatively unstuck.

Or listen on iTunes


Our Favorite Holiday Foods and Books (December 2015)

Happy holidays! We’re right in the middle of the holiday crush which means that it’s time for a First Draught tradition: talking about all the food.

This month Elisabeth Lane, the wonderful reviewer behind Cooking Up Romance, joined us to talk about our holiday food traditions and tricks for getting through the holiday cooking rush

Or listen on iTunes


Finding Your People (November 2015)

November’s show is all about finding your support system as a writer. You know, the folks who will encourage you when you’re down, push you forward when you’re stuck, celebrate wins with you, tell you what they love about your writing and what you could do even better. The ones who will share every ounce of knowledge with you and enthusiastically support your choice of pumpkin-flavored things they dislike — those people.
**Special guest MM Finnick

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Writing Serials (October 2015)

This month First Draught is grabbing a six pack of pumpkin beer and settling in to talk about serials. Alexis is very well-versed in launching and following through with serials, and Julia tried her hand at one this past summer under the pen name Vivienne Thorne. Now we’re ready to pool all of our knowledge and try to give you a crash course in what’s involved with serializing a novel.

Or listen on iTunes


Decoding Social Media (September 2015)

We’re always looking for new strategies to use social media in our writing lives, so we thought we’d talk to three people we think are particularly social media savvy. This month, Molly O’Keefe, Codi Gary, and Julie Valerie are joining us to share their strategies, tips, and tricks for tackling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more.

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Hooking Readers with Gripping First Chapters (August 2015)

We had a fantastic First Draught talking about hooking readers with gripping first chapters. Alyssa Cole and Lindsay Emory shared their techniques and thoughts about emotional impact, tone, and characterization. We also broke down the beginnings of their books Radio Silence and Sisterhood is Deadly, respectively.


Surviving RWA (July 2015)

It’s July and in Romancelandia that can only mean one thing: RWA is on the horizon! This month Alexis, Julia, and Mary Chris are breaking down everything you need to know about heading to your first conference including picking workshops, going to signings, and socializing (we promise, you don’t have to eat dinner alone). We’ll be joined by Katie Dunneback (@younglibrian) who has been running the fantastic #RWA1st Twitter chats for first timers to ask questions and get answers about heading to New York City.


Size Does Matter: Serials, Series, Novellas, & Novels (June 2015)

What’s the difference between a series and a serial? When should you consider a novella instead of a novel? Is there one right answer for everyone? (Hint: there almost never is.) Join us as we tackle the tricky subject of length and get closer to figuring out what might be best for your next project. We’re thrilled to be joined by our friend Lindsay Emory on this show!


How to Write the Best Pitches, Blurbs, and Synopses (May 2015)

First Draught is talking about how to write the best pitches, blurbs, and synopses for your book. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, summing up your book and talking to people about it is tough. That’s why we’re inviting Shari Slade and T.J. Kline to share their stories and strategies. 


How to Build Your Author Brand (April 2015)

First Draught is thrilled to welcome Laura von Holt and Amy Jo Cousins on to talk about building an author brand. We’ll talk about the decisions that go into marketing your books and the tools you need to have in place to get the most out of your relationship with readers.


Problematic Heroines (March 2015)

First Draught tackles the issue of problematic heroines. Do readers have to be able to relate to your heroine? Can she have unredeemable qualities? And is there any room left in romance novels for the To Stupid to Live leading lady?


Old is New Again (October 2014)

The old is new again as we talk about pulling out old manuscripts that didn’t quite work and revising them. Alexis Anne and Mary Chris Escobar walk us through the process they went through to get from revision to publication on two of their recent books.


Protect Your Writing Time (September 2014)

We’re back from RWA 2014 and a little burned out, but we wanted to make sure we talked about one of the big topics of discussion down in San Antonio. How do you protect your writing time?


Learn to Love Your Research (August 2014)

An episode all about research and writing. How we research, and why it isn’t just important for historical authors.


So You’re Going to RWA- Part 2 (July 2014)

If you’re headed to the Romance Writers of America Conference, you don’t want to miss this chat! We’re talking about what to bring, how to pack, and what to expect when you get to San Antonio!  


So You’re Going to RWA – Part 1 (June 2014)

We’ll be discussing the RWA 2014 conference in San Antonio, Texas, why we go, why you should go, and what to expect out of your experience.


Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Critique Partners (But Were Too Afraid to Ask) (June 2014)

Alexis Anne, Mary Chris Escobar, and Julia Kelly talk about critique partners. What are they? How do you find them? And how do you navigate the sometimes tricky task of criticizing someone else’s writing?


Music as Muse (April 2014)

Does music inspire you in your writing process? Authors Mary Chris Escobar, Julia Kelly, and Alexis Anne with special guests Lashell Collins and Tracie Puckett discuss how music plays a roll in the things they write.


Plotters vs. Pantsters (March 2014)

Do you write by the seat of your pants or plot everything out before you start? Join Alexis Anne, Mary Chris Escobar, and Julia Kelly as they debate the best of both styles. 


The Balance Myth (January 2014)

Is there such a thing as balance? In this episode we discuss how we manage busy lives and a writing schedule, whether it is possible to find balance, and ways to keep a healthy perspective.


Romance and the Holidays (December 2013)

Romance authors Alexis Anne, Mary Chris Escobar, and Julia Kelly discuss how authors incorporate holidays into romance novels.

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