“I Wish I’d Known…”: Advice for Debut Authors, Part 5

Here’s the final installment in our series where members of the Sweet Sixteens share what they’ve learned in their debut year.

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4

Sarah Ahiers, author of Assassin’s Heart and Thief’s Cunning

Sarah Ahiers   Assassins Heart   thief's cunning

Find her online at sarahahiers.com

“I wish I’d known that even though everyone says you shouldn’t read reviews, I shouldn’t really read reviews. But it also seems to be a lesson everyone needs to learn on their own.

Also, that writing book 2 will be the hardest thing ever, even though I had written books before, and after, I’d sold Assassin’s Heart. It didn’t matter. It was still really hard, just like for countless other debut authors before me. They were right all along.”


Laura Shovan, author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary


Find her online at laurashovan.com

“I wish I’d known that the middle grade “slow burn” was a real thing. My book came out in April. The first six weeks after launch were a roller-coaster. The book did well, but sales and readership really started taking off when the school year began. Teachers, librarians, and parents are still finding my book, talking about it, and sharing it with young readers.”


Cynthia Reeg, author of From the Grave

cynthia reeg   from-the-grave-monster-trilogy-1

Find her online at www.cynthiareeg.com

“I wish I’d known that publishing a first novel is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. That it is a marathon of edits and promotion and self-doubt and exhilaration. I feel extremely lucky to have joined with The Sweet Sixteens to weather the storms and to celebrate the highs. I’d encourage debut authors to find peer support in their writing community. It will make the adventure much easier and enjoyable!”


Lisa A. Koosis, author of Resurrecting Sunshine

Lisa A. Koosis   resurrectingsunshine

Find her online at www.lisakoosis.com

“I wish I’d known that as amazing as my debut year would be, it would also be terrifying, that there would be times when everything would be outside my comfort zone. I wish I’d known that I’d have moments when I’d want to make the whole thing just stop…and that it’s normal to feel that way, that it will eventually pass. I wish I’d known to trust myself more, that when it came time, I would find it in me to do what needed to be done (like speaking in front of people!). So trust yourself…and enjoy the ride!”


Harriet Reuter Hapgood, author of The Square Root of Summer

Harriet Reuter Hapgood   square root of summer

Find her online at harrietreuterhapgood.com

“I wish I’d known that I really was invited to the party! My first panels and green rooms and events were a crash-course in imposter syndrome. The thing is, I deserved to be there. I might not know everything (joke, I know everything), but I knew how to write get an agent, write a YA book, sell it – which qualified me to answer questions about YA, publishing, craft. I did all the things, but I wish I’d done so with way less anxiety and beta-blockers and self-doubt, and much more razzmatazz and balloons.”




Releasing Today: May 3, 2016

Congratulations to our members with books releasing today!  Click on the covers below for more information about each title:










Wandering Wild cover

Swing Sideways cover   square root of summer


Printable Release Calendar for May!

Here’s our handy printable release calendar to help you keep track of all the sweet May debuts coming at you soon!

Click here for the May 2016 calendar in .pdf format



Thanks to our printable calendar team: Sarah Alexander,  Jenn Nguyen, Dee Romito, Shari Schwarz, Kathy MacMillan, Randi Pink and Ava Jae!











Meet the Author: Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Harriet Reuter HapgoodHarriet Reuter Hapgood is a freelance journalist who has worked with Marie Claire, ELLE, and InStyle in the U.K. THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER was inspired by her German mathematician grandfather and her lifelong obsession with YA romance. She majored in Romantic Comedies at Newcastle University, and wrote her MA dissertation on teen television, particularly Dawson’s Creek. She lives in Nottingham.

Harriet’s debut, THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER (Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press, May 2016) is a contemporary Young Adult novel. Seventeen-year-old physics prodigy Gottie H. Oppenheimer navigates a summer of grief, world-stopping kisses, and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, always and forever
  • Childhood aspiration: Sweet shop owner
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Harriet avoids writing all day by snacking, procrastinating, and trying to find somewhere comfortable to sit, but early afternoons and in bed seem to work.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: THE BIG LIE by Julie Mayhew
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Swimming and big stompy walks in the wind and rain.
  • Favorite sports teams: ARSENAL! ARSENAL!
  • Surprising personal fact: Harriet once changed her name by deed poll, and has since changed it back, so her name is both her real, given name…but also brand-new.

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Add Book