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.**

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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!

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!)

RSVP: Hooking Readers with Gripping First Chapters

We are back from RWA and (mostly) recovered. We had an incredible time meeting a bunch of you who watched the show to prep for the big conference, and we wanted to say again how thankful we were for all of your kind words!

We’ve been talking a lot about career-related topics in the last few months, so we thought we’d switch it up for August. This month, we’re tacking how to write first chapters that hook readers.

Alyssa Cole will be joining us. She’s written some beautiful books, but we thought of her for this month’s topic in particular because of her novella “Be Not Afraid” in the anthology For Love & Liberty. It features the only “the main characters met over a dead body” meet cute in a historical romance that Julia can think of off the top of her head. If you have a chance to give “Be Not Afraid” a read before the show, we highly recommend it.

And Lindsay Emory is coming back to First Draught to talk about the beginning of her fantastic cozy mystery Sisterhood is Deadly. We also recommend reading the first chapter of this one before the show (you’ll understand why when you do).

The show hits the air at 8:30 PM EST on Tuesday, August 4th. You can RSVP on Google Hangouts and then check back to watch it live with your favorite drink!

If you can’t make it to the live broadcast, you can watch all of our back episodes in our video archive. Also, don’t forget that you can get our podcast feed on iTunes or Soundcloud. Subscribe to listen to our entire audio archive!

Thank You from RWA

RWA 2015 is over and hopefully everyone’s safely made their way back home now. We had an incredible time at the conference, and it was made even better by all of the people who approached us about the show. Your kind words really mean the world to us (trust me, we were stunned each and every time someone said, “I watched your Surviving RWA video!”). We wanted to say thank you, so right before Mary Chris and Alexis left NYC we recorded a video on 45th and 8th (note the honking car cameo midway through).

We’ll see you in San Diego next July!

Show Notes: Surviving RWA

RWA15The women behind First Draught are thrilled that RWA Nationals is almost here! We had a fantastic time talking to Katie Dunneback (@younglibrarian) talking about what first timers can expect when they head to the big conference. We covered common questions, planning workshops, hitting signings, social life, and also staying healthy throughout a really busy few days.

The show is also available as a podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Please take a moment and leave us a rating or review on the podcast as it helps other writers find us!

And in case you’re looking for a few other RWA prep resources, check out these links:

Erin Knightley’s famous conference packing video

Julia’s recommendations for bars around the conference hotel

How do I get to the conference hotel?

Gail Carriger’s 10 conference commandments

Alexis’s Packing List from RWA 2014

Alexis and Mary Chris and our sometimes guest Anne L. Parks will be hosting the Surviving Self-Publishing When the Success Is Slow to Come workshop at RWA on Saturday from 3:15-4:15 PM. They’d love to see you there! Here’s a quick description of the workshop.

You did what you were supposed to: you wrote a novel, had it edited, polished it to a shiny gleam, added a fabulous cover, and hit publish. But the readers and money didn’t come. Three indie authors talk about managing your expectations and persevering to write the next book. Get strategies for staying positive and celebrating little wins in a publishing landscape where there is no magic formula for success.

Alexis and Julia both have serials releasing this month. You can click on the cover images to learn more about these books!

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RSVP: Surviving RWA

It’s July and in the romance industry that can only mean one thing: RWA Nationals is almost here! 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.

The show hits the air at 8:30 PM EST on Tuesday, July 7th.

So click here to RSVP on Google Hangouts and get ready to kick back with your favorite drink!

Can’t make it to the live broadcast? You can watch all of our back episodes in our video archive. Also, don’t forget that you can get our podcast feed on iTunes or Soundcloud. Subscribe to listen to our entire audio archive!