Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blooming Author: Adi Alsaid!

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan
Adi Alsaid is a literary fiction writer with a commercial slant whose book Somewhere Over the Sun will be available from Dog Ear Press in November 2010.

Tell us about Somewhere Over the Sun. What is it about and where will it be available?

The story follows Alan, a spirited young writer with a wandering imagination who has discovered that the stories he writes are suddenly coming to life. At the suggestion of his loving father, Alan embarks on a quixotic journey to visit friends and use his new-found gift to write them all happier lives.

There are a few limitations to his power; he can’t cure diseases, he can’t summon pots of gold, and each story leaves behind some physical discomfort. However, the appreciative and optimistic Alan is not deterred from creating fantastical characters and storylines to give his friends more literary lives.

Interlaced by the lovely and true to life vignettes he writes for his friends, the narrative takes us inside the imaginative Alan’s thoughts and those of his hosts; college friends, a childhood chum, his editor and a former love.

It will be available on,, and all other major online retailers. It will be distributed by Ingram, so it’ll be available internationally at brick-and-mortar stores.

What were your inspirations for Somewhere Over the Sun? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?

Like pretty much everything else I’ve ever written, it started as just a thought while lying in bed one night. I maneuvered through my dark room to turn the computer back on and write down the thought, then left it alone for months. By the time I was ready to write the novel, the idea had changed into what is now the basic synopsis.

I like to think that I can be inspired by anything. At some point in Somewhere Over the Sun, Alan, who as I mentioned is also a writer, talks about how writing is by and large waiting for inspiration to come, much like a surfer waits for a wave to form. I don’t think writers ever have a choice when it comes to inspiration. It’s just about being out in the ocean for long enough, waiting for the wave, and hoping to ride it as best as you possibly can while it’s there.

Unlike surfing, though, a writer can always be attacked by a silently approaching wave, even when you’re not aware that you’re in the ocean, so it’s crucial to always have a surfboard with you (in a writer’s case, pen, paper, a note-taking application on a cell phone).

Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing Somewhere Over the Sun? Do you think it was the optimal writing environment for you?

I wrote the outline for Somewhere Over the Sun while I was living in Las Vegas. That was a pretty big deal for me, because I usually just get a sentence in my head and try to form a story from that, which results in me never finishing anything I start writing.

But I knew I wanted to take a more organized approach to the book, so I got an outline together, threw a going-away party, and left everyone I know to go live on the coast of California. I’m a social guy, and having friends around would be too much of a distraction. So I moved to Monterey, CA, armed with an outline, free time, and an array of coffee shops to write at.

It turned out to be a good decision. I was writing 1,100 words a day for the first month, mostly in coffee shops during the day or on my inflatable mattress in the middle of the night. It gave me the opportunity, for the first time in my life, to fully submerge myself in my writing. I made it my full-time job, and in 3 months the book was done. I spent another month doing rewrites before I began sending out queries to agents.

Tell us about your "story of getting published." How long did you submit before you were accepted? How did it feel to get accepted?

I queried dozens of agents for a couple of months. Two of them requested my manuscript, and both of them passed because they felt it was not the right project for them, although they did have good things to say and assured me that the project would be right for someone else.

Unfortunately, time wasn’t on my side, and I could no longer sit around and wait for agents to respond. I am not a citizen of the U.S, and currently on what’s called an OPT visa which expires at the end of 2010. To ensure that my book would be published in time for me to get a new visa, I chose to go the self-publishing route. I’m thankful that the option exists. This way I can make some agents regret their decision to pass me up, and hopefully stay in the country to be able to promote my book.

What are the publicity plans you have coming up?

I’ve got my blog running at and have been steadily increasing my audience by promoting on my Facebook page and on my Twitter account @adialsaid. I recently held a writing contest in which I had readers submit a story that they would like to see come to life. The winner got to read my manuscript prior to publication.

The book will be announced by a press release to 1,000 targeted media outlets. I’m also putting together a virtual book tour which will hopefully lead to a non-virtual book tour. My plan is to mix guerilla marketing efforts with my ability to take rejection lightly. Even if the chances are slight, I’ll be sending emails or placing phone calls to everyone from local newspapers and book stores to Oprah and Jon Stewart.

I studied Marketing in college, and I am in talks with one of my former professors to present my case to his class in order to get some more input on promotional efforts. Because I went with the self-publishing route, there is even more pressure for me to conduct my own publicity. I’m up for the challenge, and confident I can succeed. This interview is one of the first steps, and I’d like to thank you and your readers for the opportunity. I try to be prompt with email responses, and welcome all questions or comments to

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