Bethany Robison asked...
I know I personally have been following your blog, watching you try to get the "big break" and my thought has been, "Geez, if T can't break through, who can?" It seems to me that you were doing everything right - you had multiple complete manuscripts, an agent, a big (and loyal :)) blog following - what changed to enable the breakthrough? Was it just a matter of time and persistence, or did you actually start doing something different?

here is the truth:

we're not much different, you and i. we daydream at our day jobs about the days when we might spend our waking hours luxuriating in the arms of the written word. we're architects. historians. builders and purveyors. give us 26 letters and we'll construct monuments, galaxies, human philosophies about love and hope and horrible, beautiful, breathtaking adventures.

we need 26 letters to change the world.

so we write. we write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little dream every day. manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle around our necks. we plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs only to thread them in our hair. we write with no guarantees, no certainties, no promises of what might come and we do it anyway. 

this is who we are. we're punched in the face for every rejection that stacks up in our inbox. we're tossed off a cliff for every time an agent says no to our full. we bang our heads against our desks and wonder if we're wasting our time. we look around at our friends and co-workers and envy them their one full-time job, their ability to be satisfied with just enough and we wonder, we really wonder if we've lost our sanity.

the chances are slim to none, they say.

they say hey why don't you go back to school or hey maybe tuck in your shirt and hey how about Katie's kid? you know, the one in law school and oh, i hear she's graduating this year so how's that little story of yours coming along? they look at us like we're cute, like this phase will eventually end and we'll come to our senses, we'll wake up and get a real job and maybe we'll even get a haircut and it hurts. it's like a toothpick caught in your throat and you're choking but you're not crying, not quite, not just yet and no one understands.

and sometimes you want to quit.

every day you want to throw an expletive in the air and you don't really care where it lands you're just frustrated and rejection hurts, it hurts like hell and when will this ever end? when will you catch a break? why is it that every day someone else has an agent or a book deal and a goddamn golden retriever and what about you, why not you, you know what why don't i just kick a proper noun in the face.

the tricky part is pushing past those moments.

the secret is fighting when it hurts the most. when you think it's over, when you've tried everything, you've given it everything and it's still not working. the test is in the time and time again. it's in the hundreds of rejections that would make a grown man cry and it's in the heart and soul you've poured into every word on that page. you have to keep fighting no matter what.

trust yourself. trust that you are doing what you love and don't lose sight of that. there is no method to this madness and there is only one guarantee. there is only one thing in publishing -- and in life -- that is an absolute, verified guarantee.

if you give up, the game is over.

i've done exactly the same thing i've always done: i've avoided social responsibilities, inhaled too much caffeine, read far too many books and spent countless hours huddled in a small corner with only my laptop and my imagination. and somehow i got a book published.

so keep fighting.
keep writing.

and invite Rejection to get hit by a bus.




hee heeeeee



what a bamf.

what kind of animal would you like to ride to work every day?



ALSO: I HAVE FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF BOOK 2! HUZZAH! which is why you get this blog post about llamas.

but llamas are awesome anyway, so, really, everyone wins.




here are a couple of things to know:

IF YOU HAVE EMAILED ME in, like, the last couple of weeks? rest assured that i have received your email! but i am so sorry; it's going to take me a little while to dig through my inbox right now. i think i've answered exactly 3 people outside of my editor and my agent [and The Rejectionist who is always kind enough to send me funny cat videos]. but i do get all of your emails! and i read them! and i love them and i thank you for them.

i promise i will find a way to swim through everything fairly soon.

I WILL BE AT BEA! i just got confirmation on this last week. i'll probably be attached to Jodi's hip the entire time, but if you have plans to be at BEA (details here) please do let me know because i would like to say hello to you! in fact, i'll be doing a signing for my book! (which will be available at BEA!) SO PLEASE COME BECAUSE WHAT IF NO ONE COMES!

that would be sad.

I'M NOW ON FACEBOOK! i know, it's weird, right? facebook is so weird. but i won't be using it as a regular profile, so thank you very, very much for all of the friend requests, but i'll only be using facebook as a page. you can find me HERE! also maybe you can teach me how to use this thing.

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE ARC ENTHUSIASM! as soon as i actually have the ARCs in my possession and have clearance to give one or some away in any kind of contest, you will be the very first to know. i promise on Charlie Sheen's favorite t-shirt.

IN THE INTERIM! let's have a little contest of our own.

to play, just answer this question in the comments:

as a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

and random.org will choose a winner for a $20 amazon gift card!
contest closes Sunday, March 27 at 11:59pm PST.

i do hope all is well with YOU.




so. here is the sequel to part one.

this little line snuck into the PublishersWeekly post:

HC Children's Throws Down for Debut 
In a major pre-empt, Tara Weikum, editorial director at HarperTeen, took North American rights to a trilogy by 23-year-old debut novelist Tahereh Mafi, the first book of which is titled Shatter MeJodi Reamer at Writers House brokered the three-book deal. The story follows Juliette, a girl who kills people with her touch. According to HC, the series blends "a crumbling dystopian world with a compelling heroine who has inexplicable powers." The U.S. acquisition follows a number of foreign sales, with rights bought in 13 countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, and Russia; it's also rumored that the book has already been optioned in Hollywood. HarperTeen has scheduled Shatter Me for November 15, 2011.

and i've gotten a lot of questions about it that i couldn't answer! 

so... now, here is the answer, from Variety.com:

Fox to adapt 'Shatter Me' novel
Studio, Chernin Entertainment to produce pic


EXCLUSIVE: Twentieth Century Fox has acquired bigscreen rights to young adult novel "Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi.

Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark will produce the project through Fox-based Chernin Entertainment.

Emma Watts, Peter Kang and Daria Cercek will oversee the project for the studio.

Set in a dystopian world, "Shatter Me" is the story of a 17-year-old girl imprisoned for possessing a fatal touch. As she watches everything crumble around her, she must choose between relinquishing her power or use it to save the world.

HarperCollins will release the tome later this fall


anddddd... i do believe that's all.





so, here is some exciting news: i am going to have ARCs for SHATTER ME by the end of the month! so, basically in about 2 weeks!


that being said, i think, if you are interested, perhaps i will have a an ARC contest?

are you interested?

in other news: i was supposed to finish writing Book 2 last week but i got so distracted by all of the tinterwebs and the announcements and such that i was suddenly too tired and unfocused to get much work done. therefore! i will be scant this week on account of i am quite determined to finish writing the last 10k of this book, mostly because i am very curious to see what happens! cue intrigue.

and then we shall resume normal activities.




1. WE ARE WORKING. when you call and ask us to hang out (thank you kindly for the invitation!) and we say something to the effect of What ho! Sorry there, friend! Can't do, today! Working on the manuscript! and you LAUGH AT US? wellllllllll let's just say maybe we will be writing you into the first book in our series and maybe you will not show up in the second.

which brings us to:

2. YES IT IS A REAL JOB. maybe you sit in a cubicle or a fancy office all day and when you get home in the evenings you get to do something like watch a program on your television contraption. or maybe you look forward to your weekends because you get to spend time with family and/or friends who don't exist entirely inside of your internets, or maybe you still remember what it's like to taste fresh air. but 99% of writers work TWO full-time jobs. we work the day job to finance the dream and we forfeit weekends and forget family functions and fail to feed our children at regular intervals and if you think we don't take this thing seriously then maybe we will construct an unflattering metaphor inspired entirely by your person! and in our weak moments we will remind ourselves that though you may not squint in the face of natural light, WE WOULD TOTALLY OWN YOU IN A GAME OF SCRABBLE.


3. WE ARE NOT REBUILDING THE WHEEL. people have written books before! this has gone on for a very long time, actually, and what we are doing is not actually as weird and strange as you think it is! maybe now you can stop staring at us like we've just eaten the hind leg of a mule.

speaking of which,

4. WE WROTE ALMOST ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES. it's true! maybe google it, it is ALL OVER THE TINTERWEBS. so many brilliant novels have been adapted for the big screen, entertained the masses and won billions and trillions of awards. we are definitely the reason you and your Romantic Interest bonded at the movies and eventually fell in love and lived happily ever after. you're welcome.

and no,

5. WE'RE NOT CRAZY. maybe we are a little bit crazy, actually, there's no way of knowing for sure. but it's not our fault if we happen to enjoy the company of characters who can do/have done/will do things you've never even dared to contemplate. also the economy is tough right now. it's cheaper for them to live inside of our heads.

oh, and

6. WE DO NOT, IN FACT, HAVE A LOT OF FREE TIME. so please refrain from saying things like, "Oh I've always wanted to write a book, I've just never had the time, how nice for you that you can sit around and be a dreamer" because it makes us feel a little bit like crying and yelling simultaneously, mostly because we are so exhausted from our two full-time jobs (please see #2), our families, our laundry baskets, our homework assignments and our crying children that we cannot even find the words to tell you just how little we enjoy being patronized.

so do not be surprised that

7. WE WILL NOT WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOU. please stop asking.


8. WE WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WOULD COOK US DINNER EVERY NIGHT, ALSO SOMEONE NEEDS TO DO THE LAUNDRY, THAT WOULD BE EXCELLENT. it's been scientifically proven that writers have a difficult time maintaining any kind of active interest in household duties and/or activities while drafting a novel. maybe you should invest in a cookbook in order to keep us from starving to death, because really, we might forget to eat anything but caffeine and chocolate. also it will take us a long time to do the laundry, so maybe you should consider showering with your clothes on.

oh and one last thing. and this one is the most important:

9. WE ARE NEVER GOING TO STOP WRITING. not ever. so if you plan on being a part of our lives we highly recommend you fasten your seatbelt, on account of we will probably be trying to write down bits of dialogue and inspiration while driving this station wagon.





first and foremost, i want to say thank you, thank you, thank you so, so much for all of your unbelievably kind words and wishes on this post, on twitter, and in my inbox. i'm so humbled, so awed and inspired by your support. your friendship has been a steady, solid thing this past year that i've joined the writing community, and your generous comments, your unwavering enthusiasm, your many, many emails about all things funny, hopeful, discouraged and helpful have always been the bright spot in my day, no matter the setbacks in this journey. so many of us are chipping away at this Mountain We Call Publishing, trying to carve a clear path for ourselves and so far i've found it to be a world of patience and discovery and a million reminders to persevere every single day. to never give up. to never surrender.

i hope you never doubt your potential to be extraordinary.

i've gotten a lot of emails since the announcement -- questions about any number of things pertaining to the book deal. a lot of the questions were very similar, so i thought i'd answer them here on the blog. i hope this helps clarify some things.


How long have you had to wait to make the announcement?

almost exactly three months.

this has been particularly hard for me only because in this three-month period, i've completed my editorial revisions, my line-edits and my copy-edits. (the book is now almost completely finished. it's already gone to design, and we should have ARCs fairly soon.) i'm also almost finished writing the second book in the series.

all of this took quite a bit of time out of my life -- and i couldn't speak a single word of it to anyone, if only just to apologize about my response time on emails, my lackluster blog posts, my absence in the blogosphere, or even my daily tweets obsessing over just how much i miss my mattress.

suffice it to say i have been very tired lately. so happy! but very sleepy.

Your book is coming out this year! That's so soon! Is that normal?

i should start by saying that i don't think anything is normal in publishing. but my pub date does seem very soon, if only because of the three-month waiting period in between the deal and the announcement. i guess it is a little sooner than normal though, because it'll be hitting shelves less than a year from deal to release. this decision is entirely up to the publisher.

What is a pre-empt?

i've gotten this question from so many people! it's a term i wasn't familiar with for a long time, too. a pre-empt basically means the publisher makes a preemptive offer on the book -- one that they hope is appealing enough to prevent the book from going to auction with multiple bidders.

Do you have a cover? When will we get to see the cover?

i don't have a cover yet, but i will definitely keep you posted. :D

Can I pre-order your book? Is it on Amazon?

so, i have to say that i'm really blown away that i'm even getting asked this question. but what's really cool is that my book is, in fact, already up on Amazon. so... yes. if you're interested, you can pre-order my book right here. kind of crazy.

Are you on Goodreads? Will you be my friend?

yes! and yes! you can find me here.

Can I interview you on my blog? Can I set up a blog tour for your book? Are you interested in participating in [insert author feature] on my site?

thank you again and again for your offers! unfortunately, i can't commit to anything without my publicist's approval. her name is Allison Verost, and if you're interested, you can always contact her at Allison[dot]Verost[at]HarperCollins[dot]com.

Will we get to read an excerpt of your book? Can you share the first chapter?

oooh, probably not for a very long time. haha. in truth, i have no real idea. that decision is entirely up to my publisher. but for now, actual text from the book is basically under lock and key.

i am quite excited for you to read the book, though :D


there are a lot more questions that i hope to answer soon, but i don't want to overload you with too much at once. if you happen to have any new questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments, and i will definitely do my best to answer them.

thanks again for everything -- for all of your enthusiasm!
it's been wonderfully, amazingly, incredibly, adverbially overwhelming. hehe.

happy wednesday, everyone.




10 E 53rd Street, New York, New York 10022-5299 
Allison Verost, Assistant Director of Publicity


The first novel, Shatter Me, to be published November 2011 

New York, NY (March 2, 2011) – HarperCollins Children’s Books announced today that it has acquired North American rights to Shatter Me, a debut novel by Tahereh Mafi. Shatter Me is the first book in a riveting trilogy about a girl named Juliette who has the ability to kill people with a single touch—and the power to save her shattered world. Combining a crumbling dystopian world with a compelling heroine who has inexplicable powers, Shatter Me is a mesmerizingly romantic thriller with major teen appeal.

The three-book deal was negotiated by Tara Weikum, an Editorial Director at HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, with Jodi Reamer of Writers House, in a major preempt. The book is scheduled for publication on November 15, 2011.

Tara Weikum commented, “
Shatter Me has everything that we love in teen novels: fascinating characters, an imaginative world, a heart-stopping adventure, a spellbinding romance, and desperately high stakes.”

Foreign rights to
Shatter Me have already been sold in thirteen countries after a series of unprecedented pre-emptive offers were received within days of submission. Rights have been sold to Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Turkey.

Twenty-three year old Tahereh Mafi is a recent college graduate, and she lives outside of Los Angeles, California. Shatter Me is her first novel.

andddddddddd this, from PublishersWeekly.

HC Children's Throws Down for Debut
In a major pre-empt, Tara Weikum, editorial director at HarperTeen, took North American rights to a trilogy by 23-year-old debut novelist Tahereh Mafi, the first book of which is titled Shatter Me. Jodi Reamer at Writers House brokered the three-book deal. The story follows Juliette, a girl who kills people with her touch. According to HC, the series blends "a crumbling dystopian world with a compelling heroine who has inexplicable powers." The U.S. acquisition follows a number of foreign sales, with rights bought in 13 countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, and Russia; it's also rumored that the book has already been optioned in Hollywood. HarperTeen has scheduled Shatter Me for November 15, 2011.


so... yeah.

that happened.




so this is how i spent part of my weekend.

dearest Rejectionist in GRAY
yours truly in GREEN

i win everything.









CHECKLIST: 50 Important Things To Do Before Writing a Novel

1. feed your cat.
2. check your email.
3. update your status on facebook.
4. tweet something particularly witty. wait for the @ replies sure to follow.
5. make coffee.
6. check your email.
7. buy a new laptop. tell the sales guy that you're going to write a novel.
8. buy new shoes while you're buying your laptop. maybe you'll be walking a lot when you write this novel, you're not sure, you don't want to limit yourself.
9. stare at the walls.
10. check your email.
11. remind people via another facebook update that you're too busy to hang out, just in case they've forgotten that you're going to write a novel.
12. update your facebook page with pictures of your cat.
13. clear out all the blogs unread in your google reader. and by "clear out", you mean read all 163 of them.
14. call your mother.
15. check your email.
16. tell your mother that you won't be able to take her on tour with you, but thanks for everything and those nine months, etc etc
17. buy a lot of chocolate.
18. call your friends to let them know that you're going to be really busy, and not to invite you to anything, just in case they were going to, on account of you're so busy writing this new book.
19. drink a lot of coffee.
20. decide you're going to need a new wardrobe for when you go on tour without your mother.
21. seriously consider quitting your job, because you've heard writers make a crapton of money.
22. turn on your new laptop.
23. realize you have no idea how to use a mac. ignore this detail.
24. eat 90% of the chocolate you've just purchased.
25. wonder how many children you'll have to sell in order to buy the iPad 2.
26. scratch the back of your head.
27. stare at all the books on your shelf. ponder upon how quickly you will be joining their ranks.
28. stare at your word document.
29. eat a banana.
30. answer your phone on the first ring. try to convince the caller that even though they dialed a wrong number, you're actually wildly entertaining, and they should give you a chance.
31. check your email.
32. stand up.
33. sit down.
34. stare out the window.
35. try to count how long you can hold your breath.
36. clear your throat.
37. call your mother, tell her you've changed your mind, maybe you'll let her come on tour if she buys you an iPad 2.
38. check the news. try not to throw up. quickly defer to the entertainment outlets updating you on Justin Bieber's latest exploits.
39. check your email.
40. wonder why no one has responded to your witty tweet yet.
41. consider calling your friends to remind them of your busy schedule, just in case they forgot.
42. try on your new shoes.
43. accidentally step on the new laptop you left on the floor, right next to the box of shoes.
44. inspect the laptop for damage. find it broken.
45. curse the fates for coming between you and your novel-writing. you were so ready to write that book before this tragedy occurred.
46. tell everyone how your novel writing has been hindered because of circumstances outside of your control.
47. shake your fist at the heavens.
48. wait for your computer to be repaired.
49. pick up your newly repaired computer.
50. repeat steps 1-50.


in other news: congratulations to Caitlin R. O'Connell! you've won a $30 amazon gift card! if you would please email me at thmafi at gmail dot com, i will send it right over.



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