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Kiwi anonymous in homeland

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A LIMOUSINE chauffeurs Richard Webster during his US book tours but when the author touches down on New Zealand soil he opts for the bus.

The unassuming Point View Heights resident is living his boyhood dream of being a successful professional writer, having 78 published books, printed in 20 languages.

“When I say successful, I mean selling more than 100,000 copies [of a title] — and I’ve done that three times,” said Mr Webster, whose books sold more than two million copies worldwide in the last eight years.

“I’m fairly well known in the States — in New Zealand I’m pretty anonymous.

“I call my self New Zealand’s least-known, best-selling author.”

His most popular titles, including his best selling 101 Feng Shui Tips for the Home, are non-fiction and often related to his hobbies and interests.

“I became interested in feng shui in Singapore in 1969 — I never thought it would become popular.

“When we were buying a house in Pakuranga 14 years ago the estate agents couldn’t get to grips with it at all.

“It was easier to find what we wanted when we were looking for this place,” said Mr Webster, who has penned seven feng shui titles.

“I’m all feng shui-ed out,” he jokes.

The former hypnotherapist said books on auras and angels were popular with Spanish speakers, while the Japanese like tips on success.

Receiving about 150 emails a day and two dozen letters a week from readers of his books, success is a concept closely connected to the writer.

Mr Webster is living out his dream, coined at age 6, of writing and travelling the world.

Having tried his hand at assorted jobs including performing, running a hotel and importing books, he is contracted to write four books a year for his American publisher and pens 2000 words each morning.

His method for commercial success began in 1992 and included researching a publisher and delivering copy in the style it liked.

He said a book’s topic and promotion is vital to its success.

“There’s about a one in 2000 chance of getting a book published.

“Statistically many more non-fiction books than fiction books are published each year.”

While Mr Webster enjoys writing marketable texts, he said his first full-length novel Enemy Within was his most enjoyable composition.

“I was on a high the whole time I was writing that,” he said of the action-packed historical novel.

“This I wrote for relaxation — I never meant for it to be published.”

Mr Webster mentors wannabe authors via an annual popular fiction award and provides a $5000 prize for the winning entry.

Mr Webster remembers the thrill of being published for the first time but doesn’t have a copy of his original text.

He gave away his last copy of Freedom to Read, expecting to find another.

“A run of 500 was printed in 1972 — I don’t have one.”

Mr Webster is sharing his knowledge of writing and getting published in a free talk, How to Write a Bestseller. It starts at 7.30pm, September 4, at te tuhi – the mark, 13 Reeves Road, Pakuranga.

Call Richard Webster on 535-2344 to register.


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