We’re revisiting our roots this month and getting back into the craft of writing with the start of a series on character development. Being romance and women’s fiction authors, we feel strongly that characters are the most important part of your story. The decisions they make drive plot and, when they’re written well, they can feel so real that readers form deep connections to them. We’ve all read that book where we desperately wanted to have a beer with the main character– that’s the feeling you want to create as an author!
In our February episode, Alexis and Julia kicked off the conversation with a discussion about building characters. Both of them talk about the different techniques they use to before and during the writing process, as well as some tricks to help them continue to strengthen those characters through the editing process. Check it out here:
Or, as always, give us a listen on iTunes or SoundCloud.
Here are links to some of the things we mention in the show:
Thank you so much for listening/watching! We’ll see you in March with more fun craft of writing talk (which is seriously one of our favorite things, ever!).
If you found this episode helpful, please consider leaving a review wherever you watched/listened to it. And if you feel inclined to drop a dollar in our tip jar, check out our Patreon page for more information (and fun bonuses).
This month, each of us founders stole some time away from the holidays to record a quick video talking about what we’re drinking this holiday season, what we’re reading, what we’re looking forward to in the new year– including the word each of us has picked to guide our year.
Watch us here:
or listen in on iTunes or SoundCloud. When you’re done- we’d love to know what your word for 2018 is (or, you know, what you’re drinking, that’s cool too) – leave us a comment below or come chat on our Facebook page.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe for Julia’s fabulous cocktail:
- Juice of 1 clementine or juice of 1/2 orange
- 40 ml gin
- 10 ml creme de cassis
- 5ml Campari
Squeeze the juice over cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour in the liquors. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass or a rocks glass
And a few beer suggestions from Mary Chris (in case you can’t find the giant bottle of hyper-local beer she’s drinking, but want something similar):
And links to a couple other things we mention on the show:
As always, thanks for listening/watching, and generally being a part of our lives for this coming year and every year. Here’s to a authentically connected year of living fearlessly!
Want to support our show? Check out our Patreon page for info, and fun bonuses!
We’re wrapping up our three-part series on book marketing this month with a discussion about paid options like Book Bub, Book Funnel, and Instafreebie, as well as some other no-cost options for helping readers discover your beautiful book.
If you’re curious about those ever-elusive Book Bub ads, listen in as Julia and Alexis share their recent experiences with the service (hint: all that exclusivity is a good thing).
We’ll also explain exactly what book funneling services do, why you might want to think about posting a video to Facebook, and how collaboration makes all of this more fun. Plus, we admit that sometimes we feel a little squidgy about trying out new marketing tricks and talk about strategies we use to move forward anyway.
Grab your pumpkin beer and join us:
You can also find us on iTunes and Soundcloud (and you can also drink something other than pumpkin beer, should you prefer).
Thank you so much for your support of First Draught– we’re grateful that you chose to spend a little bit of your month with us! Don’t forget to check out the cool stuff we’re offering over on our Patreon page and we’ll see you in November.
This month we’re adding our voices to the topic “du jour” in the world of book marketing (drumroll, please) … The Email List. Listen in as we cover the who, what, when, where, why of this massively popular way to connect with readers:
- Who to target with your newsletters
- What to send them
- When (i.e. how often) to send messages
- Where to find readers
- Why e-mail is the gold-standard in communicating with them
- How to go about getting into readers inboxes (hint: by asking nicely and adding value to their lives)
- Plus, a few tricks of the trade to make this all seem a little less overwhelming
Grab your drinks and join us!
Or listen in via iTunes or Soundcloud.
The two e-mail marketing services we mentioned in the show are MailChimp and MailerLite. They aren’t buying us any drinks for mentioning them, we just wanted you to have the links right here in case you’re curious.
As a bonus for Patreon subscribers this month Alexis Anne created a video demo about how to set up automation in MailerLite. Check out the subscription information here.
Finally, as always, if you want more details on what we’re drinking, you can find them here (including Julia’s French 75 recipe this month). It’s fitting that Julia’s drinking a fancy cocktail with sparkling wine this month, since her new Scottish historical series, The Matchmaker of Edinburgh, launches this month with the first title The Look of Love out October 9. Congrats!
Thanks so much for supporting First Draught and spending time with us each month!
You wrote it. You edited it. (Go you! Woohoo!) Now it’s time to send it out into the world. But you can’t just push your book out of the nest and expect it to fly– book launches require strategy, research, and some good ‘ole fashioned sweat equity.
While their own recent launches are fresh on their minds, Julia and Alexis share their top tips for making the most of your book launch, from how to leverage a following from one pen name to another (for example, Julia Kelly to Julia Blake) to why you really should consider going live on Facebook.
Pour a pint, and check out all the good stuff here:
Or take us on the go, the podcast is available on iTunes and Soundcloud.
We’ll be back next month to chat about everything you need to know about e-mail newsletters! Want the show delivered to your inbox? Sign up here.
Thank you so much for watching/listening. If you’d like to support our show and help us grow, please be sure to check out our Patreon page (there are some great thank you gifts for your donations)!
Oh, and speaking of book launches– congrats to Alexis on 7 Dirty Lies and Julia on Changing the Play!
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.**
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!
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!
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.
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).
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:
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.