Exciting writing news for 2015!

I have some exciting news.

Wright_Military History CoversFrom the mid-1990s through to 2009 I wrote 16 books on New Zealand’s military history, spanning the period from the ‘musket’ wars of the early nineteenth century, through the ‘New Zealand’ wars of the mid-nineteenth century, to the major campaigns of the First and Second World Wars, and some of the conflicts beyond.

They ran the gamut from standard campaign histories through to the development of the RNZAF, the story of New Zealand’s long involvement with sea power, the politics behind it, the adventures of POW escapers in the Second World War, and I wrote a psychological study of heroism. I looked into the wars as a social experience for the soldiers. I examined the ‘musket’ wars and New Zealand Wars from the perspective of sociological culture-collision. I also wrote a biography of New Zealand’s key commander in the Second World War, Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Freyberg.

I wrote the lot on my own initiative, sold on merits to Penguin, Random House and Reed NZ Ltd, and funded exclusively through sales. Although I’d written principally for a commercial market, the scholarship I showed in these books was received at the Royal Military College in Sandhurst, with sufficient acclaim that I was nominated to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. And I was elected a Fellow, on the worth of my contribution to military history.

It is one of the highest accolades possible to get in history, anywhere in the world.

Most of my campaign histories – A Near-Run Affair, Desert Duel, and so on – were published by Reed NZ Ltd, New Zealand’s oldest and best known publisher, on the back of a multi-book contract they offered me in 2002. (This was unheard of in New Zealand, but they offered me one anyway).

Then in 2008, Reed were taken over by Pearson Group – Penguin. I had a close relationship with Penguin – they’d been publishing my social histories for a while. However, talk of reissuing my campaign histories as a Penguin omnibus edition fell through, and with the industry in general churn-over, my back-list – military and social histories alike – quietly fell into the out-of-print box. I began retrieving the licenses and seeing what I could do to have the highights of my back-list republished alongside my new titles. That led, among other things, to the reissue in 2014 of my Illustrated History of New Zealand in a fully re-written and revised edition by Bateman Publishing.

I also re-wrote and re-published one of my New Zealand Wars books for Libro International.

And now I’m pleased to announce another step. It’s taken some effort, but I’m delighted to say that at least seven, and possibly more, of my military campaign histories will be republished in 2015 and 2016.

heroesIt’s a true twenty-first century effort, embracing the e-book revolution and taking advantage of the way e-readers have exploded into life in the last few years. That means they can be bought with the click of a button – from anywhere in the world. Print will follow if demand warrants it.

The imprint is Intruder Press, and the first of my titles to be reissued is Kiwi Air Power, a history of the RNZAF originally published by Reed NZ Ltd in 1998. It’s been out of print for 15 years – and it’s going to be available in a few weeks. The second release will be my book on the New Zealand Division in the Western Front, in time for this year’s Anzac Day.

Watch this space for cover reveals and more details. Soon.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015


18 thoughts on “Exciting writing news for 2015!

    1. Thank you! The hard work is only beginning… but it’s going to be fantastic to see these titles back in print and in the hands of readers. I get queries about them fairly often and it’s been frustrating to have to say ‘sorry, out of print’. Now that changes – for some of them, anyway.

    1. Thanks. And a lot of hard work (much of it still to come as I dust off the old manuscripts and they go back through the publishing process) – but it’s something I’ve been hoping to do for a while.

  1. Wonderful news, Matthew! This is so exciting for you but best of all, readers will be able to access your work, which would have been quite difficult if not for e-books. I could not be more delighted. I hope to join the e-book revolution myself, perhaps even this year. So, yes, it is true that I am asking you to tell us of your experiences. You have done some general posts in the past, I know, but I am curious to know how this turns out for you. Thanks, Matthew!

    1. Yes, this is something I think it’s worth sharing. I don’t usually blog about the ‘nuts and bolts’ behind what I’m doing, but this time I think it’s appropriate. The key thing at this stage is that I’ve got such a range of books – the militaries are only a small part of what I’ve done, albeit numerous. Certainly they caused me to be labelled a ‘military’ historian, which isn’t how I view myself. The campaign histories were fairly strictly ‘military’, but the larger part of my work in that field has been on the social and human experience. The main issue for me is juggling the re-issue programme with the ‘forward list’ of new titles, which is also happening. There’s more than I can put in a comment, I think I can feel a blog post looming…

  2. Excellent news! There really is no need for any book to be left behind as ‘out of print’ or ‘unavailable’. Your Amazon page is going to look pretty damn impressive!

    1. It will, won’t it… 🙂 Not all of my militaries will be republished by Intruder – the campaign histories will be at this stage, but not the others. And I haven’t retrieved my rights to all of them yet. I’m also in negotiation with other publishers. But I think these days they’ll all end up on Amazon, one way or another.

  3. Brilliant and well done for taking the initiative. I mentioned one of my favourite reads on a fellow bloggers site today and so many people showed interest in the book, Hummingbird by James George and I’m not sure how widely available it is internationally, but really wish it was available as an ebook, they could have made quite a few sales today is so. I did contact the author and suggest it, such a talented author, I wish he was more widely known.

    Your books are going to to find a great audience I am sure Matthew.

    1. Thanks. It’s been a lot of work to organise – the market these days being what it is, publishers are increasingly risk-averse; and these military campaign books are definitely ‘niche’, I think, in ways that they weren’t originally. But I’m delighted to get them back into print. I get asked about them reasonably often and it’ll be great to be able to point readers to where they can buy them – rather than having to say ‘sorry, out of print’. It leads me to wonder where the e-revolution will take us. Nothing will ever be really ‘out of print’ as it used to be.

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