…one of the really good guys in the authors’ community, my pal, Matt Hilton, has his latest Joe Hunter crime thriller, MARKED FOR DEATH, launching soon… here he shares some of that arduous journey that leads to what’s laughingly called ‘being an overnight success – after decades of hard slog!’… I salute you, that man…
Rocky Road Blues (or My Path To Publication)
For more than almost three decades I aspired to be a published author, and in any spare time I had between working and raising a family, I would be working on my next book, short story or article. Other than a few articles in ‘Combat’, a monthly magazine dedicated to the martial arts, I had no success in placing any of my work with a publisher. I started writing early, penning short stories as a child, and even completed my first novel – a coming of age tale – when I was in my early teens. I then switched to writing heroic fantasy, along the lines of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian tales, but was unfortunately never going to break into the market with them. However, in my early twenties I began writing crime thrillers, quite simply because they were the kind of books I enjoyed reading, many of which were penned by American authors. Seven novels, and around five hundred short stories and almost twenty years later and I was still unpublished. I had lost count of the number of rejections received back from the dozens of publishers and agents I’d submitted to. You’d think by then I’d have got the message that I wasn’t much of a writer and given up on my dream, but call me stubborn.
I was still hopeful of getting a book published, and although my career to date had been one of rejection there had been a few near misses. I entered a competition run by my local arts council for aspiring authors to be mentored by a published author. My novel was placed second. I entered another competition in a writers’ magazine where the winner had their novel published, and again came second. In the late 1990’s I submitted a novel to one of the Big Five publishers and entered into communication with them towards publication. However they chose to pass in the end, deciding that my book wasn’t as commercially viable as they hoped. Some people might see those near misses as cause to spiral into depression, and it would have been easy to throw my toys out of the pram, but I decided to look at them as ‘almost there’ rather than ‘not near enough’. It gave me the encouragement to carry on.
It took an epiphany of sorts on my part before I discovered the strategy that finally got me a deal. You see, that term ‘commercial viability’ had stuck with me, and I only had to take a cursory look back at the seven novels I’d previously submitted to show me where I was going wrong. They were all standalone books, with no prospect of a follow up. Publishers are in the market of establishing authors and characters that readers return to time and time again. I only had to look at my own reading habit to see that I followed authors writing series’ with recurring characters and themes. At the time, Simon Kernick had just hit the big time and a quick glance in the acknowledgements gave me the name of his agent. I decided to send out a submission to his agent, who by chance had just been named literary agent of the year. In my accompanying letter, I explained how this was the first in a planned series, and name-dropped a few huge names in the action thriller genre that the books might appeal to. On the back of that I was invited to London to meet with the agent, and given a pile of homework to re-write and edit my book. I worked at it feverishly over the next few months, and then resubmitted my book to said agent, who snapped it up and immediately sent it to auction with a group of publishers all competing to be my publisher. As fate would have it, the publisher that won was the same one I’d interested in one of my earlier books, albeit nine years earlier. Any way, my debut novel – Dead Men’s Dust – became the first in my on-going series of action-packed thrillers featuring vigilante with a heart, Joe Hunter. I was lauded as a break out success and an overnight sensation. If only those who thought I’d been successful with my first book knew the truth. My overnight was one almost thirty years in the making!
My road to publication had some rocky patches, and there were times when I grew despondent, but I just had to hitch up my trousers and carry on. I’m seriously glad that I did. My twelfth Joe Hunter thriller – MARKED FOR DEATH – is about to be published on 17th July 2017.
Matt Hilton is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, and the Tess Grey and Po Villere thrillers. His first book, ‘Dead Men’s Dust’, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers’ Debut Book of 2009 Award, and was a Sunday Times bestseller, also being named as a ‘thriller of the year 2009’ by The Daily Telegraph. Dead Men’s Dust was also a top ten Kindle bestseller in 2013 and 2016.
Matt has published novels in the supernatural/horror genre, namely ‘Preternatural’, ‘Dominion’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘The Shadows Call’.
His next Joe Hunter novel, Marked For Death, will be published 17th July 2017, and his next Tess and Po novel, Worst Fear, on 29th September 2017.
https://twitter.com/MHiltonauthor @MHiltonauthor Twitter
www.facebook.com/MattHiltonBooks official author page at Facebook
About the book:
Joe Hunter has been Marked for Death in his most explosive outing to date
It should be a routine job. Joe Hunter and his associates are hired to provide security for an elite event in Miami. Wear a tux, stay professional, job done.
But things go wrong.
Hunter is drawn into what appears to be a domestic altercation. When he crosses the mysterious Mikhail however, he soon finds something altogether more sinister…
Before long this chance encounter has serious repercussions for Hunter and his friends. Good people are being killed. On the run, in the line of fire, the clock is ticking.
From the bars of Miami Beach to car chases and superyacht grenade battles, bestseller Matt Hilton dials up the intensity in this rip-roaring, set-piece filled thriller perfect for fans of Lee Child, David Baldacci and Stephen Leather.
Available for pre-order now: http://amzn.eu/8jiDk7w
….cheeeeeeeeeers, that man, Matt… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!
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