Peter Hough

Peter Hough
Click on picture to go to my website

Friday, 25 November 2011

Stench of Evil

I've just published my novel, Stench of Evil, on Amazon as a Kindle download and a quality paperback. You won't find it in any book shop because I decided to give up on traditional publishers after trying and failing to get any of them to even view my new book. How is it that someone who has previously published 18 books, of which many sold foreign rights, newspaper serial rights and book club rights, found themselves in this position?

In the last few years print publishers has made a fundamental change in how they solicit new books. Unless you're a celebrity, or are already a top-ten best selling author, they will no longer deal with you personally. They will only deal with you through an agent.

I never needed an agent - even if I was approaching a publisher for the first time, after all that's someone else to dip into your advance and pocket their share. But now publishers have decided that's what you have to do - and it is all about saving money. If a publisher is relying on agents to sort the chaff from the wheat, they don't have to employ readers and support staff to handle queries from would-be authors.

The problem is that there are far fewer agents than publishing companies. Most of them are one man or two man (or women) outfits, already with a full list of clients. Becoming a published author has always been an uphill struggle - but it's even harder now. A lot of very talented writers will give up after trying in vain to attract the attentions of an agent. There will be dozens of best sellers out there which will remain as a file on a PC, and will never see the light of day.

Thankfully, for both published writers and newcomers, there is now another way.

It costs virtually nothing to put your paperback on Amazon, and your ebook on Kindle - if you do all the technical stuff yourself. You retain the copyright, and the only niggle is that the paperback can only be purchased from and not Amazon UK. But you can use your credit card to pay in dollars, and it will take longer to ship, but that's all. Some authors who spent years having their work rejected are now selling very well on Amazon.

I could have carried on in my attempts to find an agent, but even if I was successful, they would then have to get a publisher for my novel - and the fact of life is that from start to finish it can take months or more likely years before it is finally published. With Amazon it just takes days.

Read my paranormal thriller; Stench of Evil available only from Amazon:

UK paperback & Kindle ebook
US paperback and Kindle ebook:

Can be downloaded to Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android devices, PC, and Mac

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

28 weeks later...

It's almost 28 weeks since the Rage Virus spread through a large section of the voting public - and along with other colleagues - I lost my seat on Sefton Council.

During my five years as a councillor I've always given 100%, refusing to sit on the wall when difficult decisions had to be made, and championing residents causes when they were the victim of council bureaucracy. I even got some policy changes made which benefited local people. My achievements, and those of my former ward colleagues, are a matter of record. Many residents appreciated the hard work I put in, and contacted me to give their personal thanks.

So what happened on May 5th was that the Rage Virus turned people's heads towards central Government, and they wanted to send the Liberal Democrat coalition partners 'a message'. No cuts!  They did that by voting for the candidates of the party that is responsible (along with the bankers) for the financial mess we're now in.

Well, that makes sense then. But you can't expect logic when people are infected with the Rage Virus. Ask Danny Boyle.

We could let the economy go the way of Greece. They've already made cuts which are ten times higher than those being made by The Coalition - and are on the point of disappearing down a black hole. That's not to mention Italy and Spain.

The infected also wanted to send a message along the lines of: You traitors - why have you gone into government with the anti-Christ!

We could have let the Tories rule on their own. No doubt they would have won a second, autumn, election with a bigger, working majority, as the Millibands were still arguing over which of them was to be leader of the Labour Party. That would have been great. A right wing Tory government let loose on the country again - with no one to moderate them, and no implementation of Liberal Democrat policies like raising the tax threshold to £10,000 for the low paid or the extra £2.5 Billion funding for a million of the most disadvantaged pupils.

That makes sense too.

Their message also included: You reneged on your promise not to raise tuition fees!

That does have my sympathy. It was mismanaged - but Labour (who introduced tuition fees to begin with) have since said they would raise them too - capped at £6000 - a huge increase from their position during the election, when Ed and his buddies said they only needed to be increased by just a few hundred pounds! After studying the small print, the National Union of Students have now said that the changes made by The Coalition are 'relatively progressive'. That's thanks to Clegg and other LibDem ministers.

What was personally interesting for me, was how people reacted when I lost.

Several Labour councillors at the count shook my hand and said that it was not personal (having just shafted me!), and that I would be 'missed'. I received almost 60 emails from disappointed residents, plus letters, cards and phone calls.

While a number of my former LibDem colleagues contacted me to offer condolences - there were several others, who I thought I had a personal resonance with, who to this day (28 weeks later) have made no contact at all.

Perhaps their reaction was a consequence of how some people have a problem in dealing with other people's grief. They don't know what to say - so it is best avoided. Or perhaps they just decided to write me off. I seem to have been deleted from some email lists.

That's politics I suppose. Life's a bitch and then you're deleted.