• Burst pinata
  • Pre-orders
  • Third person

Dear Unpublished-Self (AKA Cassie).

How are you. hon? Freaking out? Excited? How’s the weather? The kids?

No need to answer, babe, I already know how you’re feeling. I can read your mind. I am your mind. Confusing, right? But let’s just go with it, even though the second person is not your natural voice.

You’ve just finished writing the acknowledgements for your first published book, and you’re crying, which is strange because you’re not, by nature, a crier. But your sense of gratitude to the world overwhelms you. You’re just so damn thankful to have won this golden ticket to publication, because you know there are a zillion wonderful unpublished manuscripts out there that will never see the light of day and you know this because you have two such novels in your proverbial bottom drawer, and this one, the one that’s being published, was an inch away from suffering the same fate.

You’ll always be grateful to the publishing assistant who plucked your story off the slush pile and gave it CPR. You’ll never forget the exhilaration of meeting with your wonderful publisher and having her tell you how much she loved the book. You still look at the cover and marvel at how perfectly the designers distilled the story into a single image, and magically chose your favourite colours.

Bottle those feelings. They’re the ones that will get you through the one-star Goodreads reviews, and the despair you experience when it feels like you’ve totally forgotten how to write a book.

After the Party is different to all the short stories you’ve had published. It’s playful, it has a plot, plus a little romance and mystery thrown in for good measure. Your publisher has called it ‘high-concept’, which you think means it asks one of those ‘what-if’ questions that will make people look at you and say ‘oooh’, while they back away slowly.

You know there will be people who don’t get it or like it, and that might sting momentarily, but you’ve washed and dried your big-girl pants and they’re good to go. Maybe pack a second pair just in case. The best laid plans etc etc

Also, hon, I don’t mean to burst your pinata (even though it’s your favourite scene in the book) but don’t go thinking that having this book published is going to change your life. You’ve listened to too many author-podcasts to think that publication will somehow make the kids eat their dinner any faster, or give you a self-cleaning toilet, or give you any greater confidence about what you write. It won’t.

To date, your friends and family have been nothing but supportive and kind. When they tell you they’ve pre-ordered, you feel like kissing their feet because pre-orders are, apparently, a BFD. At some point, their interest will fade. That is natural and normal. The book is not their baby but yours. Other writers will get it, but they also have their own work to worry about. My point is – keep it in perspective, hon. Keep your expectations low and your appreciation high. In the end, your writing matters – but being a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend are what really define you.

Your mum has always said that the best bit of going on a holiday is the anticipation – a sentiment that has always struck you as being a little disappointing, but possibly true (Mums are ALWAYS right, another truism, which is less disappointing now that you are one). My point is – enjoy the fact of being unpublished. Revel in all the little steps along the way – finishing a structural edit, seeing your cover, writing the acknowledgements. These things challenge you, but they are also a privilege. You are on the ride of your life. Just hold on and enjoy it. Fact is, despite everything you’ve written in this letter, you don’t actually know what lies ahead. You’re busy trying to anticipate everything, but then again, you’ve always been a bit of a control freak. Now’s the time to let go. Lose yourself in the imaginary world of your next book. Get back to doing what you got into this for … write. It’s really the only bit you can control.

Okay, well that’s probably enough blather from me. Take care. Kiss the girls, and don’t write any more letters to yourself.

It’s a bit weird.

And besides, you’re so much better in the third person.


Cassie Hamer has a professional background in journalism and PR, but now much prefers the world of fiction over fact. In 2015, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing, and has since achieved success in numerous short story competitions. After the Party is her first novel. 

Cassie lives in Sydney with her terrific husband and three, mostly-terrific daughters, who still believe piñatas are a fun and effective method of lolly-distribution. She is working on her second novel, but always has time to connect with other passionate readers via her website – CassieHamer.com – or through social media. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Buy her book (also available on Google Play, iTunes, Kobo and from bookshops):


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