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Robert New

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August 2016

You make how much from writing?

When I was at the Continuum (Speculative Fiction) Convention in June, promoting my novel Incite Insight, I was on a panel with Steve Cameron, who by everyone’s measure was a successful writer. He’d had about 30 stories, scripts and articles published, had great reviews, won some major awards and been shortlisted for others. He’d been regularly published in major magazines and anthologies. In short he was someone people like me are envious of. His success was daunting and here I was sitting next  to him (feeling a little out of my league) on the appropriately themed panel of “writers and doubt.” Like me he had a day job as a teacher.

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During the panel Steve casually mentioned something that raised my eyebrows:
“I make about $300 to $350 a year from writing. It’s enough to keep me in teaching.”
I recall a few jaws dropping when he said this. I mean he was a success and that was all he earned? What hope did the rest of us have of making a profit? But this served to remind me that the reason why I, and the reason why nearly all writers write, is because they have to. It is an urge that we have to satisfy. Simply put, I don’t write for money or glory, I write because I want, and well, need to.

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300 Sales! A Marketing and Promotion Update.

I recently entered Incite Insight into a competition. In order to enter, I had to list all the marketing for the book. When I wrote it all down, I was surprised at how much had been done:

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– Book launch at Readings Bookstore (+inclusion in their catalogue and display window at store).
– Paid inclusion in Ingram’s Advance Catalogue.
– Paid promotion of e-book through Book Gorilla, Booksends, eBook Lister, Fussy Librarian, and eReader News Today, in conjunction with KDP Select price promotion.
– Social Media Campaign (Facebook and Twitter).
– Panellist at Continuum (Science Fiction) Convention (additionally, bookmarks promoting the text were included in the gift bag given to all delegates.)
– Retail table at Continuum Convention.
– Free Bookmarks and book displays advertising the book at various retailers.
– Website of publisher.
– Website of author, including blog.
– Guest Speaking at Writers Groups.
– Amazon Marketing Service (paid advertisements on Amazon.com)
– Ditmar award entry.
– Book available for borrowing from 7 Libraries.
– Displays in 3 retailers.
– Emailed bloggers asking them to read and review the book.

All this has resulted in 300 sales. So not exactly setting the world on fire, but actually not too bad. As a comparison:

“The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, aka J K Rowling, could not have received better reviews. Yet before the secret broke, the Bookseller reported The Cuckoo’s Calling had sold a total of 449 copies through BookScan since its April release.” (SPN, 2013).

While I still have a long way to go before I reach 449 copies (and to be fair that was print copies – my total of 300 includes only 90 print copies), I am really happy with my progress to date. I’ll keep up the marketing and hopefully keep the sales coming while I work on my collection of short stories which should be out early next year.

View from a Barred Window

Just under two years ago, I knew no one who had published a novel. I wanted to improve my writing and publishing contacts so I joined Writers Victoria and the Monash Writers’ Group. One of the Monash Writers, Katherina Fares had a book launch for her novel View from a Barred Window last weekend, which I enjoyed going to. The photo below was taken at the launch (I’m in the middle). What amazes me is that out of the seven people in the photo only one hasn’t published a story, at least not yet (they will likely publish their first story later this year). I’m proud to say that all these people have become my friends. Over the last two years they have been a great source of inspiration and advice, and have introduced me to my editor, helped me get my book into libraries, told me when I’ve headed down the wrong path and helped me get published. So my advice to people who want to write stories is to get involved in your writing community, you never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities it presents.

Photo 31-07-2016, 20 01 17

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