Monday, 28 March 2016

GUEST BLOG: Matt Hilton

Shy Bairns Get Nowt by Matt Hilton

I think, in a similar fashion to a number of other mid-list authors these days, I’ve become a bit of a hybrid beast when it comes to my out put. I have had the support of various traditional publishers (Hodder, Harper Collins, and Severn House) and one independent (Down and Out Books). But I’ve also self-published some of my genre fiction through my own independent arm (Sempre Vigile Press). So my books appear across various platforms, to varying degrees of success.

Because of having different publishers, it’s not uncommon for a number of my books to be published in any one year, and 2016 is no different.

Probably the most imminent, is the publication of ‘The Devil’s Anvil’ by my US publisher, Down and Out Books, this April. It is the tenth in my Joe Hunter thriller series, and this time sees Hunter trying to protect a woman from professional killers who need her in order to spring a trap for her missing husband who has stolen a bundle of money. As with all the Hunter books, all is not as it might at first seem, and Hunter is caught between various factions, with no real idea who he can and can’t trust.  
Then…after a successful ten books run with Hodder, I’m about to embark on a scary new route with my Joe Hunter thriller series. Although I have amicably split with my publisher, and a few smaller publishers were keen to pick up the reins, I have decided to bite the bullet and use my own indie publishing arm to publish the next Joe Hunter thriller. It is called ‘No Safe Place’, and this time sees Hunter in the familiar role of protector, but he also gets an opportunity to exercise his detective skills this time out. After a violent home invasion, where his mother is killed, young Cole Clayton is now under threat by hostile forces, and Hunter agrees to protect the boy. But it’s soon apparent that Andrew Clayton, Cole’s father, knows more about the killer than he’s letting on, and his silence soon places the boy in the killer’s sights. The book will be released simultaneously in hardback, paperback and ebook on 31st May 2016.

Up next will be the second in my Tess Grey and Nicolas ‘Po’ Villere series, due for publication by Severn House Publishers on 28th August 2016, and this time finds the mismatched pair hunting for a missing woman who – while trying to avoid one danger – has fallen into a worse situation. 

So…the next few months are going to be busy ones for me as I try to juggle the various dates and obligations to each of the books. But I think that of them all, it’s probably my new venture that shall bring me most work. Setting out on a independent venture can be fraught with plenty of headaches, and trying to negotiate all the different things an indie author must do simply to get their books in readers’ hands has been a huge (but mostly satisfying) learning curve. There’ll be some of you that think I must be insane to try to do it myself, and you could very well be correct. But it’s something I’ve wanted to have a go at for a while – I’ve self-published some of my other genre work, but never taking the process too seriously, just intending getting the books ‘out there’. With the ever-changing face of publishing, I hope to get on the front foot, and learn what I need to know for the future. Who knows where it will lead any of us next? 

Is indie publishing the next book in a successful series the right way to go? It’s a question I’ve asked myself numerous times, and to be honest, I don’t know the answer yet. But I won’t know the answer until I give it a try, I guess. Despite how my intro might sound, I’m not the best when it comes to marketing myself, and am a bit shy in coming forward. But one thing I’ve learned is that the old adage that ‘shy bairns get nowt’ is true. Unless I throw myself at this project, it is destined to fail. So I guess it’s time to put on my game face.

Thankfully the next Hunter won’t wholly be indie published by me. I’m only taking the UK and associated market. My US publisher – Down and Out Books – will be publishing a US edition later this year (possibly in December). The rest though, as they say, is down to me. Wish me luck.

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Matt Hilton is the author of the high-octane Joe Hunter thriller series, including his most recent novels ‘The Devil’s Anvil’ – Joe Hunter 10 - published in June 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton and Blood Tracks, the first in anew series from Severn House publishers in November 2015. Joe Hunter 11 – No Safe Place - will be published by Sempre Vigile Press May 2016; Tess and Po 2 – Painted Skins - will be published by Severn House in August 2016. Matt’s 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.