Robert New


An Unexpected Compliment

There are a handful of authors that I really admire. One such author is Peter Hoeg. His most famous work is Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. I was given a copy of it twenty two years ago when I was still in high school. I’d been captain of the school’s debating team and the teacher in charge gave me a copy as a thank you for the role. I didn’t read it right away; in fact it probably took close to two years to read it, but it was always on ‘the list.’ I loved the book, especially the philosophical elements. The description of Mathematics in it is beautiful. Soon, I had read all of the books Hoeg had published. He is an author whose works mean something to me.

In a delightful twist of fate, seventeen years after I received the book, I wound up working at a school with with the teacher who’d given it to me, and I was able to tell her how much the book meant to me and that I’d really appreciated her gift. If you ever want to know what keeps teachers going, little thank yous like this are certainly one of them. She was quite moved by my story and she let me know that she’d chosen it for me quite deliberately, as she herself had enjoyed it.

Hoeg wrote a book called The Susan Effect in his native Danish in 2014. It was translated and (finally) published this month. I am still reading it so will hold any reviews for now, although first impressions are that it is a great story, but the translation could be more polished. The other night, my wife picked up the book and read the blurb. Her response was that “no wonder you wanted this book, it sounds just like something you’d write!” Even though I don’t think I’m worthy of such a comparison, I accepted it as an unexpected compliment.




Over the Queen’s birthday weekend, I’ll be at the Continuum Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne. I’m on the panels for Stranger Things (The Upside Down) [Friday at 5pm], the Art and Science of Publishing [Saturday 9am], and Westworld [Saturday at 6pm].

Continuum is at The Jasper Hotel, 489 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000. 5pm-9.30pm Friday, 9am-9pm Sat/Sun and 9.30am-2pm Monday.

Friday evening is only $5 for entry.


Radio Ga Ga

A month ago I had my first radio interview. It was nerve-racking, but a lot of fun. Today I had my second interview – this time on radio 3wbc (94.4fm). The host, Barry, gave me no indication of what he was going to ask as, in his words, he likes to ‘play it by ear’ and ‘keep it loose.’ The fact that the show was being broadcast live added to my jitters, but I think I responded well to the questions I was asked. I was able to do a reading of the prologue from my novel Incite Insight, which is the first time I have read a passage from the book to an audience since the launch. I also managed to get in a plug for the Writers Group I’m currently chairing and their recent anthology (which I have a story in). Click here to open a powerpoint show with the audio of the interview.

A Face for Radio

I was recently interviewed on 3SER radio by Henry Grossek. You can hear me discuss my novel Incite Insight and publishing here. The other part of the interview deals with my experience in education. It can be heard here.

Apparently I have a great face for radio as I have also been invited to appear on another radio station in a couple of weeks. More on that once it’s gone to air!

Video killed the radio star…

Promoting a book you’ve already written is a great distraction from the one you should be sitting down and writing. To this end, I spent yesterday evening recording my first radio interview as an author. One of Tale Publishing’s authors was featured on the show a few weeks ago and with the contact established, I was invited to pre-record an interview for broadcast next week. I don’t know what I’d been expecting, but I was surprised at how much the studio was like the ones you see on the news when they speak to a talkback host. There were pictures of prime ministers and other notables who’d previously been interviewed by the host, Henry. And here he was interviewing me…


I was nervous. At the start it felt like an interview for a job you’d forgotten applying for, especially since the first half was about my experiences as a teacher. I began to relax, but then came a curly question that could identify the school where I work, and that was better avoided (like most schools, we have a strict media policy). There is no ‘kill switch’ in a pre-record, but there is an editor/producer and he assured me I would this bit would be cut. He also said I’d be amazed at how I’d sound in the broadcast, which made me wonder if I’d met a miracle worker. For someone who spends much of their day verbally communicating, I’d really noticed my ‘ums’ and ‘ahs,’ and knew I’d repeated myself a couple of times. It will be interesting to hear how it all turns out next week. I’ll post a copy of the interview once it’s aired in a part 2 to this post.

One last blitz.

Book Hippo

Lots has been happening in my writing world. Last year I sold a story to The Gandhi Experiment for use as part of a lesson plan for teachers. There are many interesting lessons you can get from this site and many are free.

My editor has given me her edits on the first half of my next book. It will be a collection of short stories based around the theme of shifting perceptions. As I move into trying to market that book in the lead up to its release, I’ve decided to have one last marketing splurge for Incite Insight.

The e-book for Incite Insight is on sale from now until the 3rd March at and for 99c/99p. Please let friends and family know if you think they’d be interested in reading it. This will most likely be the last time I discount it until the new book is out.

The book will be featured on many websites over the next week. I’ll post a wrap up about them in a future post. In the meantime, if you see the book advertised somewhere, please drop me a line to let me know.

Until next time,



Thanks to and Ashfield Library, I’ve had my first media interview published. The full interview is below and you can obtain a copy of the Ashfield Gazette here. The gazette contains interviews with other authors such as Tracy Joyce (who I had the pleasure of being on a panel with at the Continuum Convention earlier this year) and Queenie Chan (Author and owner of thebentonet), so is worth a read. If you have not picked up a copy of Incite Insight yet, you can do so here (in either e-book or hardcopy).


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.


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.


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:


– 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
– 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.

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