Building Characters- Part 1 (February 2018)

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).

 

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Book Bub, Book Funnel, & More (November 2017)

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.

Cheers!

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

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!

Cheers!

 

Blood, Sweat, & Book Launches (September 2017)

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!

 

 

Show Notes: Our Favorite Books of 2016 (December 2016)

We missed you last month! Sincere apologies for the radio silence. Our regular recording schedule was derailed by germ-y fall crud and then by, well… November. Hope those of you that were celebrating Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. One of the biggest things on all our gratitude lists is YOU! Thank you so much for going on this journey with us.

We’re all healthy, (mostly) rested, and back this month talking about some of the best things we read in 2016. We could have gone on for hours on this one, because is there really anything better than talking with friends about that amazing book you just read? Grab a beverage of choice (see ours here) and enjoy this month’s episode (which is not actually hours long). Then when you’re done watching/listening, join in the conversation by sharing some of your 2016 favorites in the comments!

(Just want to listen? Check out iTunes or Soundcloud.)

And to save you the trouble of frantically jotting down titles while you’re listening here are our lists:

Alexis’ List:

Mary Chris’ List:

Julia’s List:

Again, we’d love to hear about your favorite books of 2016 in the comments, as well as any suggestions you have for topics you’d like to see us cover in 2017.

Cheers! And happiest of holidays!

Show Notes: Avoiding the Dreaded Info Dump (October 2016)

We had a lovely e-mail from a listener a couple of weeks ago (hi, Ellen!) asking a question about one of our craft-related topics from a previous show, and it reminded us just how much we enjoy talking about that stuff. Since we hadn’t done a show focused on craft in a while, we capitalized on this good energy and decided to dive into the mechanics of writing.

This month, we tackle how to tell the “story behind the story” without just dumping it all on the page (aka, The Info. Dump). When you delve too deeply into back story you run the risk of losing your reader, so we’re giving you tips on how not to do that. And also taking cookie analogies way too far… you don’t want to miss this.

Watch the show here:

Or listen on Soundcloud or iTunes.

While you’re watching/listening, we’d suggest you sip on an Oktoberfest, some hot chocolate, or– if you’ve just run 8 miles or aren’t feeling so great– some good ‘ole fashioned water (but, in a fun mug).

And finally, here are a couple things we mentioned on the show:

  • Sarah MacLean’s Rule of Scoundrels series
  • The example of “weaving in back story” or “leaving breadcrumbs/cookie crumbs” that we mentioned from Alexis Anne’s The Storm Inside (breadcrumbs in bold):

    Jake nipped my earlobe at the exact same moment he flexed his hips into mine, and I forgot everything I was thinking. Everything but him. I didn’t think about the ten years he’d been gone or how much I hated him. All I could feel was his hard body pressed up against mine, his rough hands as they desperately roamed over my skin, and the intensity in his kiss. We’d always made an explosive combination; that clearly hadn’t changed.

Thanks so much for watching/listening and please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know what topics you’d love to see on future shows. Cheers!

 

 

Show Notes: RWA Three Different Ways (July 2016)

It’s July, which in Romancelandia means one thing, and one thing only– it’s time for the Romance Writers of America national conference (RWA). It’s an especially significant time of the year for us here at First Draught, because we met as first time RWA attendees back in 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. Every year we dedicate our July show to offering helpful conference tips to our viewers/listeners.

This year we’re offering tips on how to get the most out of the conference whether you are attending as a full registrant, a lobby con-er, or a home observer. Watch the show on YouTube, or listen to the podcast (Soundcloud, iTunes). Even though we were drinking coffee this month, we highly recommend sipping a Bell’s Oberon while you’re watching/listening.

And no matter how you’re attending RWA this year be sure to say  “hi” if you see us in person or online.

Here are some helpful links that we mentioned (and some we didn’t):

  • The official hashtag for the conference is #RWA16. People will be tweeting about the RITA and Golden Heart awards ceremony on #RITAGH and if it’s your first time at the conference be sure to check out #RWA1st (and wear your First Timer ribbon on your name tag).
  • Stream the RITAs at rwa.org and find details about the open-to-the public Literacy Autographing here.
  • The famous Erin Knightly packing video.
  • Keynote speakers are: Beverly Jenkins, Sherry Thomas, and Dr. Valerie Young (Julia was right!)