Yesterday we introduced Pub Crawl’s newest member, Janice Hardy! If you missed her interview, check it out! There’s a chance to win one of Janice’s books.
And on to our newest member…
Welcome, Adam Silvera!
We are so excited that Adam is joining the Pub Crawl gang, and bringing some much needed male insight to our publishing discussions. And boy do those insights cover a ton of ground…
Adam was born and raised in the Bronx where he wrote fan-fiction in between competitive online gaming and napping. His first foray into the publishing industry came with a job working in the children’s department at Barnes and Noble. He also worked as a marketing assistant at Paper Lantern Lit and currently reviews children’s and young adult novels for Shelf Awareness. His debut novel, More Happy Than Not, will be available from Soho Teen in fall 2015, and you can visit him via his website or Twitter.
I (Erin) had the pleasure of meeting Adam at BEA last year, and rest assured he is just as fun in person as he is online. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Adam, kindly answering my questions for today’s intro post:
1. As a soon-to-be-published author who previously worked in other areas of the industry, you bring some unique insights to PubCrawl. Can you tell us a bit about what you did at Figment and Paper Lantern Lit? How about your current job as a bookseller and reviewer for Shelf Awareness?
For anyone who isn’t familiar, Figment is a website geared towards young writers who are sharing their stories—sometimes finished novels, other times published serially. It’s a really awesome platform to receive feedback and meet critique partners. I assisted with moderating the forums, judging some contests, writing fun posts about YA, and working with guest authors who would (virtually) stop by to share tips. Figment really prepared me for my role as a marketing assistant at Paper Lantern Lit —a literary development company—where I created campaigns for each PLL title across all social media networks. And I was fortunate enough to assist editorially from time to time.
As for bookselling, I actually started off working in the café at Barnes and Noble and was eventually relocated to the children’s department when my managers caught on that I was talking up new favorite releases while brewing coffee. But I also wanted to work in publishing so I applied to become a book reviewer for Shelf Awareness and I’ve been happily reviewing children’s and young adult titles for almost three years. I mean, I get free books all the time. It’s awesome.
2. Ha! I love that you were babbling about books while brewing coffee. Speaking of books, when we first approached you to join PubCrawl, your deal for More Happy Than Not hadn’t even been announced yet! Was it difficult to stay hush-hush about the news? And while we’re on the topic of challenges, what was the biggest challenge in writing MHTN?
I know! It’s crazy. I think we were putting the finishing touches on the submission list at that time and everything happened fairly quickly from there. We sold the book exactly one month after going on sub and we thankfully only had to wait a few days before we could announce it. (Confession: I told a good 20 people before the announcement went live.) (Confession Part 2: I actually told a good 30 people.)
The biggest challenge with writing More Happy Than Not was cleaning up the many messes I made in the 95,000 word first draft. There was a character that did NOT belong in this book and I was so stubborn because I had put so much time into making him a primary player and it just never clicked. Eventually he got the boot and the book was finally, you know, kind of readable afterwards.
3. I’ve been there before with cutting (or sometimes combining) characters. Acknowledging the edit is needed is a huge part of the battle. On that note, do you use a critique partner or beta reader as part of your writing process?
Nope, no critique partners. I have a very solid agent (shout-out to Brooks Sherman!) who is on the same wavelength as me—usually way more elevated than me, actually—and that’s sort of enough for me. Yes, I will sometimes share snippets with my best friend and he’ll throw out some praise and helpful tips, but that’s about it. (And he’s awesome about making sure I’m using “bring” and “take” correctly because I’m simply not wired in the head to get that right.)
But before I even share revisions with Brooks I find it helpful to review my own book. I get how this can sound egotistical, but it’s not! You write about what you believe the strengths are and ESPECIALLY tackle the things you know aren’t working. And after each revision, you write a new review until you are personally glowing about your own book. (Okay, I’m an egotist after all.) I learned a lot about the book with this method.
4. Love this strategy of reviewing your own work to help pinpoint existing weak spots. Do you think working on the business end of things has better prepared you for what lies ahead as a debut author?
Totally! I understood how subjective this business is when we launched into submission and was lucky enough to have very honest conversations with Brooks about how we would proceed since I understood how some gears turned. But knowing how everything goes down was admittedly once a noisy hindrance because I’ve followed so many blogs over the years where one author says this do this, another says do that, and I treated their word like law because they’re bestsellers, award-winners, etc. I eventually accepted that we all have our own methods and that I wasn’t expected to freak out if I operated differently.
5. YES. Couldn’t agree more. Uh-oh… There’s a creeper at the pub! What book are you reading to avoid him?
Hold up—is this creeper tall, handsome, smart, funny, and a Harry Potter fan by any chance? If so I’ll put down whatever I’m reading and will propose on the spot. If not I’ll probably read more of Tim Federle’s literary cocktail guide, Tequila Mockingbird, to help the bartender mix me a Berry Potter. (Fingers crossed this bartender is tall, handsome, smart, and funny.)
6. I might have to fight you for that tall/handsome/smart HP fan. 😉 Eep—Looks like a pub brawl is breaking out! What weapon are you wielding?
I grew up in the South Bronx—I AM THE WEAPON.
(Just kidding. Brooks fights my battles for me. He really works for his cut, you know.)
Ha! Thanks so much for answering all our questions, Adam!
And now for our readers… We’re offering up one of Adam’s favorite YA reads. To enter the giveaway, use the widget below for a chance to win a paperback copy of Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. The contest is open internationally, and we’ll draw a winner a week from today.
We also have one more new member being introduced tomorrow, so stay tuned!