“YOU’VE got to put yourself out there,” said Martyn Shah.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest writer in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re Hemingway, it doesn’t matter if you’re King, Crichton, Brown – if people don’t see your work and they don’t know about you, you won’t go anywhere. That’s why it’s so important.

“It was me putting myself out there that actually led to my getting a publishing deal.”

By the time Martyn decided he was meant to be a writer, he had been plenty of other things.

His CV includes stints in advertising, publishing and compiling amusing film clips for Granada TV’s You’ve Been Framed.

Originally from Manchester, he spent time as a young man at the University of Miami, studying film, psychology and - briefly - philosophy, after his parents went to the US for business reasons.

About five years ago, something strange happened as Martyn walked in Chester with the girlfriend who is now his wife.

“I was fairly lost and like many people trying to find my way in the world – what I was best suited to, what was going to make me happy.

“I’ve heard interviews before when people said, ‘I suddenly had this bolt from the blue.’ I’d never had that before except for that one moment, which was as close to an epiphany as I’ve ever had.

“There was a little Zippo shop – I used to smoke but I quit – and I went in and bought a Zippo because I just wanted to remember that moment. I could then say it did happen. It wasn’t a flight of fancy. It was a realisation that I should be a writer.”

Two decades or so earlier, in Miami, he had enjoyed sitting up all night, developing synopses and script ideas, but had not given the matter much thought since.

“Some of the best nights of my life were spent starting and developing a screenplay. Pack of cigarettes, coffee!

“I literally just forgot that at one point that was what I wanted to do. You meet people, you get a job and that suddenly becomes it. It was almost as if writing had been put at the back of my mind and it wasn’t until that day in Chester that it all came back.”

Within an hour he had begun outlining what would be his first novel, a conspiracy thriller called Relics.

It duly became a 140,000-word manuscript.

In time-honoured fashion, he simply wrote the type of story he enjoyed reading.

“I love fast-paced page-turners, so I try to write books which from the first page, the first chapter, are just going to be like a whirlwind, just one thing after another.

“You have to teach yourself to become disciplined. There’s no easy way around it.

“You just have to make a decision to yourself. ‘Is this what I want to do?’ You have to be honest with yourself.

“Don’t think, ‘I’m going to write a book, I’m going to be Stephen King, I’m going to make millions.’ Do you love doing this? Does this give you an immense sense of satisfaction? If it does, the cost is sitting down to write.”

The manuscript was edited by a friend of a family member who had retired from the publishing industry. To market it, Martyn began with the traditional method of sending it to conventional publishers - only to be told they didn’t accept manuscripts other than via an agent.

Martyn decided to use Amazon’s publishing platform instead. In spite of his deciding to charge for his debut work rather than offering it free, Relics sold about 30,000 copies following a home-grown publicity campaign on social media.

More volumes of what became a trilogy of thrillers followed before Martyn was approached by a digital publisher, Canelo. He is currently under contract and welcomes inquiries from agents.

His advice to would-be writers?

“Give it a shot. It’s as simple as that. What I’ve found is that the amount of ability which gets lost because people don’t have the self-confidence to just go for it could be measured in tonnes.

“Trust yourself and trust your own instincts.

“If you want to give it a shot, do it, and don’t allow anyone else to convince you otherwise.”

His website is rd-shah.com