Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lists and Goals

Before I began querying, I made a list of my most important goals. I keep it in a file labeled "silly crap."

But there's nothing really silly about it. To me it's a way of putting my wants out there, like an adult version of a letter to Santa. The act of writing these things down gave them weight--something that casting them to the air and hoping for the best could never achieve.

There seems to be a mindset amongst some writers that publishing is a crapshoot, a game of chance, like a lottery. Manuscripts are tickets and the more you have out there, the higher the chances of winning.

That's simply not true.

You have to have goals right from the beginning beyond "I want to be published." You have to take serious steps towards fulfilling them. Hoping is lovely, but it's most effective when it walks hand in hand with hard work. You have to create something worth selling. It's not easy. And it's not a lottery.

One of my early goals (one I kept in my head) was to write something commercially viable. I wanted to shoot for as broad a spectrum as readers as possible, which meant steering my story down a different path to the one I might have taken if I'd gone SFF.

My next goal was to find representation with an agent who loves (and sells) Commercial fiction. So I made another list.

Lately, I've been called "lucky" a lot. I can't deny a certain number of things lined up in such a way that a wonderful opportunity came my way. But a lot of hard work went into creating that luck (and not just on my part. Anyone who questions whether or not they need an agent, or whines about that percentage, has no idea how hard agents work). And it all began with goals scratched onto a list.

My list has eight items. I've acheived three so far:

- Get a great agent.
- A contract with a fantastic publisher for at least two books.
- Enough money to keep writing.

Do you like lists? If so, what's on yours?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Week of Firsts

As the old cliche goes: There's a first time for everything. It's been cool/exciting/interesting week or so filled with firsts around here.

- My first book deal.

- My first spam from PR companies.

- My mother's first threat to sell my old report cards on eBay. And my school photos (she emailed me one. I rue the day she bought a scanner.)

- My first batch of Italian Wedding Soup this fall (but not the last, I'm sure).

- My first brilliant self-promo idea, which I'm planning as I write this.

Did you have any cool/weird/funny firsts this week?

Monday, November 8, 2010


So I've been sitting on incredible news for a week or so now. My debut novel, WHITE HORSE has sold to Atria (Simon and Schuster).

From Publishers Marketplace:

Alex Adams' debut WHITE HORSE, a post-apocalyptic quest novel about a woman who must guard and protect her unborn child while searching the desolate world for her lost lover, to Emily Bestler, in a major deal, including two additional books in a planned HORSE series, by Alexandra Machinist at the Linda Chester Literary Agency (world).
Film rights: Justin Manask at Office for Literary Adaptation

And from Publishers Weekly:

Alexandra Machinist at the Linda Chester Literary Agency closed a nearly seven-figure three-book world rights deal for author Alex Adams. Emily Bestler at Atria bought Adams's debut, White Horse, along with its planned sequel and another title, at auction. Horse, which Machinist called a "postapocalyptic quest novel," follows a woman searching for her lost lover while protecting her unborn child. Justin Manask at Office for Literary Adaptation is shopping the film rights.

My agent Alexandra is an amazing and brilliant woman. I'm so thrilled to be working with Emily and the team at Atria.

I'm so excited...and stunned...and excited all over again. :D

Friday, November 5, 2010

No No, NaNo

I'm a fan of NaNoWriMo...for other writers. For me it just doesn't work, so I'm not joining in all the fun and games (again) this year.


Well, I don't like to rush through a first draft. I feel like I lose something if I do. When I write, I nail most of my prose in that initial "telling." The way my main characters express themselves on the page goes a long way to me understanding who they are. I like learning how they see the world, hearing the little stories that have made them who they are. Who they are is what drives the plot. It's slower, but hey, I love doing all the heavy lifting up front.

And I really don't want to lose what--for me--is part of the magic of storytelling.

I can pound out 50,000 words in a month (and more), but they have to come naturally because the story is dragging me there.

So, once again, it's no, no to NaNo. But for those of you doing NaNo this year, good luck. I'll be cheering you all from the sidelines.

(And for the sake of clarity: I love that we each have our different processes. It makes talk about books and writing even more fascinating.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'm a lazy blogger. It's not that I don't have things to say, it's just that I feel my words are best used in my WIP or as a direct answer to a question--usually when someone needs help (or an opinion) over at Absolute Write.

I'm not much of a ranter. I'm too easy going and live-and-let-live to get offended by much (except what's with jeggings? With stirrups, no less!) And I'd write about writing but my peers already do an amazing job of that. I'm too busy reading their blogs to do a rehash of their great advice. Look to your right and down a bit. There they are. Go read them, too.

Which leaves me with a handful of my favorite things: books; food; LOLcats.

So let me tell you what I've been reading lately that I loved:

Lee Child's WORTH DYING FOR. Reacher is BACK.

Beth Bernobich's PASSION PLAY. Such a beautiful cover.


Jackie Morse Kessler's HUNGER.

Emma Donoghue's ROOM.

And I've just cracked the spine on Christopher Farnsworth's BLOOD OATH; it's a really fresh and riveting take on vampires.

This LOLcat is cracking me up.

And if anyone would like to bring me a bacon cheeseburger right about now, that would be swell. I'd be super-grateful.

Also, if you've read something drop-dead amazing lately, please share. I'm always looking for my next favorite book.