As an assistant editor and copy editor, Dahlia Adler is used to being on the other side of the submission process.
“I used to be the person who got these submissions and decided whether they were worth passing along to my boss,” said Adler.
With her debut novel, Behind the Scenes, Adler feels that knowing what the process looks like from the other side has made her own journey easier.
“I have a lot more empathy for the time it takes to respond, and the effort put in to constructive rejections. And being a copy editor is always a plus, because I can feel pretty confident my grammar won’t be why my book doesn’t sell. Who needs one more thing to stress about?”
Three main things that inspired parts of the manuscript are 90210, the realization that Adler couldn’t come up with anyone age-appropriate to cast as the Korean-American best friend, and Adler’s father – a combination even she acknowledges as weird.
Behind The Scenes began as a NaNoWriMo project in 2011 and it required three additional weeks to finish up the first draft, with two beta readers and an additional ten thousand words.
In 2012, Adler entered a Writer’s Voice contest, which helped her land her then-agent – Adler has since moved on – who offered to represent her roughly a week later.
“So, getting an agent? Very quick and painless. Selling the book? Ten months of misery. But in the end, I feel like it ended up in the right place, and I learned a ton from the experience. So, worth it!” said Adler.
One thing that really helped Adler? The OneFourKidLit group, a group for middle grade and young adult authors with books debuting in 2014. Adler first discovered the group while on Twitter, since a lot of her friends were in it.
“It’s been great talking to people who are further along and can advise on things I’ve barely even thought about, like swag, and blurbs, and launch parties. Plus, there are a few librarians and booksellers in the group and they’ve been incredible about sharing really useful information from those perspectives,” said Adler.Author Dahlia Adler.
Despite her background in copyediting, Adler said the first time she had to pass her book off to an editor, it was scary and nerve-racking. But, at the same time, it was a moment where she thought to herself, “Finally.”
As a 2014 debut author, Adler says she is excited for many new books that will be releasing this year.
“I think 2014 is gonna be an amazing year for both young adult and new adult,” said Adler, going on to name Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, The Fourth Wish Lindsay Ribar, Pointe by Brandy Colbert and Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour as some of the books she is anticipating.
Though Behind the Scenes won’t be out for several months, Adler is already hard at work on her next two novels, one the companion to Behind the Scenes.