Sabaa & Renee’s Advice for 2016!

Hey guys! At the beginning of 2015, we (Renee Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir) talked about keeping track of what we learned this year and then putting into one post at the end of the year. Here it is, in all its glory:


  1. Planning is helpful: Authors, this year is going to busier than you could possibly imagine. You think you’ll have a free minute, only to realize that, in fact, you have to make 12 calls and write 62 blogposts in those 60 seconds. The only way to stay sane is to plan ahead of time, learn to prioritize and accept that there are some things that just won’t get done. Like the laundry. Or showering. Or brushing your hair. Or sleeping. (Notice we say nothing about eating, because that ALWAYS gets done.)
  2. Too much planning is not helpful: You still want to be flexible. Because just when you thought you had everything under control, something is going to change. Make time in your schedule for the unexpected so you don’t turn into a planning psychopath.
  3. Make time to write. Seems obvious. And yet a week will go by and you’ll realize all you did was NOT write. It’s the reason you’re here, so make it a priority or you’ll turn into this guy:
  4. Care for your non-publishing relationships. We’ve all been in that place where the only people we talk to are book people, and the only things we talk about are booky things and guess what? That’s bad for you. Value the relationships you have that are outside of the book world—the people who were there before ANY of this stuff happened. They love you for YOU, not because you happen to be going through the same thing at the same time.

  1. Ask for help if you need it. There are times where you’ll feel like you’re underwater. Talk to your inner circle about getting help where you can—anything from a few hours of someone watching your kid so you can sleep, to having a friend read over your edits, to just having a conversation where you can vent. As Holly Goldberg Sloan once told Sabaa, FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS PUBLISH ALONE.
  2. Be kind to yourself: Take a day off. Go see a movie. Try to relax. Particularly around launch time, make sure and take a few moments to relax and breathe.
  3. Shake it off: You’ll get bad reviews. You’ll have unhappy readers. Other authors will talk trash about you. We’re not saying you can’t be upset about these things. There were certainly times where we both were. But eventually, if you want to keep going onward and upward, you’re going to have to get over it.


  1. Don’t talk trash. It’s bad for you. It’s bad for the world. And honestly? The stuff you say almost always makes it back to the person you said it about. And then all of a sudden, you’re in this situation:

Pt. 2 of this? Be respectful. Be gracious. Be kind. Stick to your guns. This community is awesome because the authors make it that way. So yeah. Don’t be a jerk.

  1. Comparisons are useless. There will ALWAYS be someone who has what you *think* you want—a bigger deal, more publicity, more acclaim, more sales, blah blah. Hope, dedication, ambition and drive are all great. You can use other people’s successes as motivation or inspiration. But don’t fall into the trap of jealousy and envy. They are poisonous—most of all to yourself. STOP.

  1. Enjoy yourself: YOU’VE BEEN PUBLISHED, YOU BADASS!!!!!!!!! CELEBRATE!!!!!

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