Writer Interview: Dahlia Adler

Ok, guys, here's a writer you should all get to know.  Dahlia has a really interesting story about finding her agent-- it was 100% through a contest, and she hadn't queried it at all!  Still, she's been in the trenches and has great advice.  Plus, her book is out on submission-- cue the squees!  :)

AG: Tell us about your current project.

DA: The project I currently have out on submission is called BEHIND THE SCENES, and it’s about a girl who takes a job as her TV-star best friend’s assistant to make money for college and ends up falling for her friend’s co-star. There’s drama, of course, and lots and lots of kissing.

AG: Is it your first book?

DA: No, prior to BTS I wrote another standalone contemporary YA set in a New Hampshire boarding school, and prior to that I wrote a “New Adult” series that was just for fun. I queried the first one in the series a few years ago, learned very quickly not to bother trying to get an agent with it (although it was a strangely positive querying experience), but kept writing it anyway for another year or two.

AG: How did you tackle the revision process before you queried? Did you use CP’s?

DA: I used two betas before querying, one with whom I exchange everything and one who doesn’t write and has never read anything of mine before. The latter gave me some seriously scathing notes, and I’m glad she did because I think the manuscript is far better for it. My revisions ended up being quite extensive as a result, and by the time I had a finished product, it was 10K longer than when I’d sent it out.

AG: What was the querying process like for you? Any tips?

DA: I actually didn’t have a real querying process for this one because I didn’t query it prior to submitting it in the Writer’s Voice contest. I did query a few agents during and right after the contest - ones I had queried with my last manuscript and with whom I’d had very positive experiences - but I don’t think they numbered more than five. As far as tips go, I’d say:
1) Be on top of contests and enter any and all of them you possibly can. They’re a fantastic way to get access to agents and to meet people.
2) Keep track of who requested a full from you, even if they ultimately rejected it, because if you end up querying them with a new project, you’ll want to mention it.
3) Don’t send queries in massive batches, because if at some point you realize you want to overhaul your query (which I did with my last ms), you’re not going to have a very deep pool of agents left to wade into with the revision.

AG: Tell us how you ended up with your agent.

DA: You can read the longer version of the story on both my blog and CupidsLC’s, but the very short story is that she (aka Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc.) “voted” for BEHIND THE SCENES in The Writer’s Voice contest, I sent the partial as a result, she requested the full shortly after, and the rest is history.

AG: What is that relationship like? What is doing agent revisions like?

DA: Andrea is very professional, very quick, and very knowledgeable. I have the utmost faith in her choices, which is really nice for me to be able to say because I work in publishing and I’ve seen how this works from the other side. We do not have a “let’s talk about everything every day!” relationship, but again, the fact that I trust her completely to do the best she can by my book renders that totally unnecessary for me.

I can’t really speak to agent revisions because Andrea had exactly one minor scene she wanted me to fix. I did it, she liked it, and the whole process took about fifteen minutes.

AG: Tell us about the editor submission process from your experience.

DA: My experience is not very extensive; it’s only my third week on submission! It’s kind of like querying in the “cannot peel my eyes away from my inbox” sort of way, but there’s something calming in the fact that there’s someone in the middle to break the news to you, and that someone has as much invested in this working out as you do. It’s strangely nice to know you’ll be sharing both the highs and lows of the process with someone like that.

AG: Do you blog? Where can we find you on Twitter and the internet?

DA: I do! Not as often as I’d like, because when I do have time to write, I prefer to work on one of my WIPs rather than on blog posts. I have a (work-in-progress!) website at, which links to my blog, (Or you can go directly, of course.) I’m also on Twitter as @missdahlelama.

AG: What online resources have you used to help your writing and querying and revision process?

DA: I’m not a diehard devotee of any of the writers’ forums (fora?), but when I want the brutal truth about one of my queries, it’s Absolute Write all the way. I also did NaNoWriMo for my first time this past November, and the result was - ta da! - BEHIND THE SCENES. It’s one of those things I think every writer should attempt at least once, because I think it teaches invaluable lessons about discipline. I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but I am so, so glad I did it the first time.

What’s really helped me are the not-so-obvious resources out there - Twitter, for following agents, editors, and fellow writers, which in turn has built relationships, taught me some great tips, and made me aware of what people are looking for; Evernote, for jotting down notes on my phone at the most random times and places; and oh, have I mentioned contests?

And for the love of God, don’t give up. Enlist help, write something new, but whatever you do, if you love it, don’t ever stop.
Great advice, and BEHIND THE SCENES sounds really fantastic!  Hope you get that exciting email or call soon.  If you do-- TELL US!  :)


  1. I had a chance to read Behind the Scenes and absolutely loved it! Good luck to Dahlia and I can't wait to see BTS in stores!

    Great interview!

  2. LOVE Dahlia!! Great interview. Like, Melanie, I've read BTS too ;o) AND it's AMAZING!!! We'll be seeing it on the shelves, I'm sure ;o)

    Great job, Ladies <3<3

  3. Awesome! I hope submissions go well!

  4. Wowie! Good luck with submissions. May your inbox soon be overflowing with publishing love! :)

  5. Great interview! And I can't wait to hear about Dahlia's book deal in the near future :)