Haven river - final - small

I had all the fears that writers have when they pick up that pen (or tap on the keyboard) and start to write a novel.

Rachel McKee’s post Four Things That Scare Me While Writing a Novel was so me. I felt like this too. Rachel outlines four main points:

  • What if I don’t finish?
  • Will I like my story when I finish?
  • What if a publishing company doesn’t want my book?
  • What if I self-publish and nobody wants to read my book?

Well, I finished Haven River, I liked my story, I skipped the submit to publishing company bit, I self-published and I know people are reading my book (at least three!).

But what if people read it and they didn’t like it. And what if nobody had the guts to tell me so? What if I’d wasted my time? What if? What if? What if?  Arrrgghh!

If you’re anything like me, you want to be a good writer but you know that some people aren’t going to like your book. Could I handle the rejection? Could I be brave enough and look at a negative review constructively and think, “Well, they might have a point”?

I feared all those things and more so because I know some of the people who will read or have read Haven River are friends/colleagues. And our friends and colleagues will feel compound to give us a good review because, well, they’re our friends.

Without knowing it one of my friends read my book and emailed me a review. I was smiling before I even read the review because there was one single word she used in her email header that I knew that what I was about to read would be all good. That word was ‘Congratulations’.

We had a number of email conversations about her review and because we’d done business together over a number of years I knew she wasn’t just writing a good review because she knew me.

I’m no good at self-promotion. I just feel awkward and uncomfortable but I knew that if I was to get the word out further about Haven River I needed to maximise this opportunity. And if you go down the self-publishing track you’re responsible for marketing your book.

With my marketing hat on, I asked her would she be happy to write a testimonial that I could put on my website. She readily agreed to this.

And here’s what she had to say:

“I have just enjoyed reading Casey Fae Hewson’s first novel Haven River and look forward to her next novel.

Using the fictitious setting of Haven River in New Zealand, the story explores the interplay of five brothers and how their relationships change when Jamie enters their lives.

A delightful story – which in my case – rekindles the delicate and precarious path of young love. The narrative explores a love of books and writing and overcoming major events in life, all skilfully woven into the plot.

I would recommend Haven River to anyone wanting an undemanding read that has true empathy with discovering love for the first time.”

A Satisfied Reader, Wellington, New Zealand

I’m still uncomfortable at blowing my own trumpet but I sweated blood, cried tears and pulled my hair out over Haven River. I write because I love to write. I wrote Haven River because Luke asked me to tell his story, and I stand proud at this review.

However, I know that some readers will tear the book apart.

As writers we have to accept the bad with the good. And I promise you when I get that not-so-good review I won’t cry and say it was all for nothing. Besides, did everybody like Harry Potter?