I'm the author of three novels, “Out of Office” and “Fire Horses" (both published by Legend Press), my new comic novel "Kidology," and a collection of short stories and creative non-fiction, "Militant Factions." Now a regular Spectator contributor, I've had dozens of major features in the Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, Independent, Mail, Express, Telegraph, Observer (though not for a while!) and many more. Email me at: [email protected]
|Posted on July 11, 2017 at 5:05 AM|
Pleased to see my letter (alright - whinge) about finding an agent published in the latest issue of The Author (Summer 2017, Vol CXXVIII No.2). Here is the full text. By the way I'm toying with the idea of listing agents who didn't even respond to my letter asking if they'd like to read a sample - and calling it something catchy like, ooh, I dunno, the Shit List. What do you think, agents?
I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry when I read your assertion that a publisher "offers an author that most crucial thing: capital investment" (Foreword, Vol. CXXVIII No.1 Spring 2017). My experiences as a published author who has been on the books of three literary agents have been so appalling that at times I was in despair, and having self-published feel I have some control again.
After years of near-misses, an agent advised me to complete an MA in novel writing, which made a huge difference. Almost immediately after completing the course my first novel "Fire Horses" was accepted by a (then) small publisher. The managing director and I got on well and despite the fact I received no advance and there was no money for promotion I was just happy to be published.
The same publisher accepted my second book, "Out Of Office", and now I was approached by a literary agent. He managed to negotiate a small increase in my advance (the increase was almost all taken back in commission), and with book two on the shelves I started work on a third. However sales of my first two were poor - not surprising, as they hardly had a review, despite being praised by other authors.
My agent was unable to sell my third book, even to my "own" publisher - which I found staggering as I thought it was far superior to the previous two. Nevertheless I started work on a fourth, a comedy, which my agent liked, but took so long suggesting amendments I lost patience. The final straw was my waiting a YEAR for feedback - when I gently enquired what was taking so long he said, "I thought I'd sent them". Despite his pleas, I sacked him.
By now relations with my first publisher were strained. Nevertheless he agreed to read my fourth novel. After 18 months, he said he liked it a lot, but they no longer publish comedy. I also wrote to around 40 agents asking if they'd like to see a sample; over 30 didn't respond whatsoever and 2 or 3 others said my submission wasn't right for them - even though I hadn't sent one. (Quite a few agents, of course, have a "no unsolicited submissions" policy - WHY!?)
I'm not exactly an unknown quantity. In the past few months I've had major features in the Sunday Times magazine and Spectator, generous bursaries from the Society of Authors and Royal Literary Fund, been interviewed on peak-time Radio 4 and have an occasional column at the Huffington Post.
Finally, after months of soul-searching (and, connectedly, my 50th birthday) I decided to self-publish the comedy, Kidology, and a collection of short stories and creative non-fiction, Militant Factions, on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. I don't feel the need to be validated by some multinational (weird how even one's right-on friends and family believe that's so important); I have complete creative control; I decide what to put in and leave out; I designed the cover; and there has been zero financial outlay. Obviously, now I have to try and promote my books - but that's the point: they are MINE. I'll stand and fall on writing quality alone. I feel liberated from the tyranny of imbeciles. It feels like the DIY punk ethos of '77: exhilarating, liberating, frightening.
It feels like freedom.
|Posted on July 2, 2017 at 5:20 AM|
Delighted to announce that the latest versions of all four of my books - "Fire Horses", "Out of Office", "Kidology" and "Militant Factions" - are now available on Kindle at just £3 each.
"Fire Horses" - my epic trawl through the gutter over a 25 year period - has been sharpened up for 2017, as has "Out of Office", with its topical plotline involving terrorism in London, militant Islam, the Far Right and, um, sea monsters.
"Kidology" - my comic novel about a middle-aged lecturer who turns to crime - is very much set in post-Brexit Britain, as are some of the short stories in my collection, "Militant Factions." The latter book also includes some of my creative non-fiction, plus samples from all three published novels.
For a limited time only, you can buy the Kindle version of all four books for just £3 each. All four books are of course still available in paperback. More details about my books can be found on my website, my Amazon author page and on Facebook. Links below. Happy reading!
Buy all four books in Kindle or paperback at:
PS Still unconvinced? Blimey - tough crowd. Okay, simply type these search terms into Twitter and get 100 quotes from each of the novels...
|Posted on June 30, 2017 at 7:30 PM|
On Tuesday, as I’m inspecting my navel (see past and indeed future blogs), out of the blue I get a call from the head of HR at the company that has been my main employer for almost four years.
“Hello Mark, we’re having to make a few savings by cutting back on freelance reporters at the moment so we won’t be requiring your help anymore. We’ll pay you for your next four shifts but you won’t be expected to work them...”
By the way you can read 100 extracts from my new comic novel, KIDOLOGY, by typing this into Twitter:
Thanks for listening folks!
|Posted on June 25, 2017 at 4:40 AM|
10 years after it was first accepted by Legend Press, my debut novel Fire Horses is finally available on Kindle. I've slightly revised the text, taking out a few passages that seemed to jar, but the spirit remains true. As a record of recent UK history as seen through the eyes of a degenerate, I think it holds up pretty well.
As Joe Noone might say: I'll let you be my judge...
|Posted on June 4, 2017 at 4:20 PM|
|Posted on May 28, 2017 at 10:15 AM|
"Daughter, 13, insists on being woken at 6.30am so she can watch Gumball from under blankets for 75 minutes before frantically dressing, filling her schoolbag (which weighs the same as a Stella 18-pack), and finding her phone, ID card and Oyster as I peer furtively through the blind in search of her three friends, who every morning on the dot of eight stand on the corner, waiting: punctual, punctilious. Often they're early – but then, they are only Year Eights..."
|Posted on May 27, 2017 at 5:20 AM|
...My home town.
Leave migrants alone. Fuck the Jihadists.
Manchester. A City United.
|Posted on May 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM|
"If you'd asked me at 20 where I expected to be 30 years later, I'd probably have said deep-sea diving on Europa; my friends placed bets on Hendon Crematorium. Instead of either of these eventualities, however, I am here: a mile down the road from the old Archway squat, older, wider, with two books on the shelf, two kids on the verge of adolescence, one remaining friend I barely see, and piles..."
Just had the first in what I'm hoping will be a regular blog published by The Independent. They are open to my writing a regular slot, so long as this first one does "well" - i.e., plenty of comments, likes or, if you aren't up to that, shares. I'd really appreciate any help.
While I'm on, the blog mentions my two new books - both available now in paperback and Kindle. "Kidology: the pre-cretinous era" is a comedy, yours for just four quid on Kindle, and you can read samples at:
Message ends. Enjoy your day. Right - back to the washing.
|Posted on April 27, 2017 at 6:15 AM|
"OK, hands up: I voted for Jeremy Corbyn to be the new Labour leader in 2015. My reasons were sound at the time: I woke up in the night in a cold sweat, realised my politics were beginning to drift to the right, decided that was a betrayal of all my family have stood for over the past 100 years and concluded that yes, I wanted Jezza to be our Great Leader. Then I went back to sleep..."
|Posted on April 18, 2017 at 4:45 PM|
Delighted to announce that my second novel to be published with Legend Press, "Out of Office", is finally available on Kindle, seven years after being published in paperback. With themes including Islamist terrorism, governments in turmoil (!) and multiculturalism, the book remains as relevant as ever - and it's available on Kindle for just £3!
What they said about “Out of Office”
“Piggott’s writing conjures evocative portraits of individuals lumbering between political correctness and more culturally ingrained biases. He possesses a way with metaphor and analogy which, when utilised sparingly and with a lightness of touch, rivals Martin Amis. He is expert at offering up succinct definitions of the quite complex web that multiculturalism, changing technologies and generational misunderstandings can weave around us.”
- “Outside Left” magazine, issue 22
“Mark Piggott is a talented and exciting writer; his novel is original, powerful and fast-moving, and takes the reader, all unprepared, into places he would probably have avoided had he been warned. But from page one it is too late; he is being hurtled along and he cannot get off.”
- Paula McMaster, “Bookgroup.info”
“This is a book that really makes you think about contemporary Britain and the difficult issues of race and class with which it is still grappling. It's also a book that resists easy answers and skewers political correctness. Mark Piggott wrote a few months ago in The Independent that British `state of the nation' novels tended to fall under the radar, but he has written one here that deserves a wide audience.”
- Andrew Blackman, author, “On the Holloway Road”
To read samples of the novel on Twitter just type:
|Posted on April 6, 2017 at 9:10 AM|
"The decision by the Supreme Court to find against parent Jon Platt in his battle with his local education authority is both outrageous and debatable. Mr Platt took his daughter on holiday for a week during the school term in 2015 and was arbitrarily fined by Isle of Wight council for doing so. Platt successfully fought the verdict in the high court, yet for reasons best known to themselves, the council decided to take it to a higher authority. Where next, if they had been unsuccessful, one wonders. The European Court of Human Rights? God..?"
|Posted on March 24, 2017 at 8:10 PM|
Delighted to announce that my latest novel, "Kidology", and my first collection of short stories, "Militant Factions," are available NOW from Amazon, in paperback or Kindle. Find out more about Kidology - a dark comedy about a lecturer who turns to crime - HERE and more about Militant Factions - which also includes some of my creative non-fiction and novel extracts - HERE.
To buy any of my books, visit my Amazon website here.
|Posted on January 29, 2017 at 4:00 AM|
Between 9th November 2015 and 9th November 2016 I didn't touch a drop of alcohol. Not even vodka on my cornflakes. I did it for a number of reasons - health, charity, just to make sure I could - and actually really enjoyed it. Except for a few times when I didn't so much.
Anyway, I'm delighted to announce that my feature about the experience is in today's Sunday Times Magazine. Here's the standfirst:
"For those nearing the end of dry January, what is it like to go teetotal for a year? It was his ever more debilitating hangovers that convinced the author Mark Piggott, 50, to give it a try"
By the way although the year is up, you can still donate to my Children in Need page here:
I'll match all donations up to the first £1,000.
Finally, if you are thinking of taking a year off, there's a fantastic support group on Facebook called One Year No Beer:
Right, I'm off to get my copy of the paper. And for a pint. Well, I did turn 50 yesterday. It'd be rude not to...
|Posted on January 4, 2017 at 2:05 PM|
Just been interviewed by Eddie Mair on Radio 4's PM about why I'm coming round to the idea of Brexit. Or rather, having "lost" (I voted remain), why I now think it's probably time to stop whinging and get on with it (as I wrote in a Spectator piece shortly after the referendum). Hopefully I managed to get a few progressive ideas across along with all the waffle...
Judge for yourself here - my bit's near the end. Listen to the whole show though - it's got some really interesting stuff on heroin in Vancouver, brothels in Newquay and much, much more...
|Posted on November 9, 2016 at 7:20 PM|
Well, I made it. Didn't touch a drop of booze between 9th November 2015 and 9th November 2016. What a bloody year. Bowie, Brexit, now Trump. Enough to drive you to drink. Many thanks to all who are sponsoring me for Children in Need. You can keep sponsoring me till November 2017 and I will MATCH all donations up to the first £1,000. That's the #PiggottPledge. (Type that into Twitter to see my relentlessly depressing updates from Day One).
By the way - I might have a can of Stella in my hand, but I haven't had a drink yet. School run, work, yada yada. To prove it I posted a video on the excellent One Year No Beer Facebook page. Time to show booze who's boss. (Who am I kidding? Stella, forgive me...)
|Posted on October 18, 2016 at 9:30 AM|
As my BILLIONS of regular followers will no doubt already be aware, on 9th November 2015 I commenced My Year Without Alcohol, vowing not to touch a drop of booze for one calendar year (which included 29th February - natch). Not that I'm counting the nanoseconds, but there are now just 21 days left.
I won't pretend this last year's been easy. Among other things, we moved house (again), I had a hernia (not recommended), both of our beloved cats died (RIP Katie and Marula), and we went camping in France, where the rivers all run claret - and I had to drink Diet Coke. It's enough to drive a man to drink.
I decided to have a "dry" year for a number of reasons: for a newspaper article (more details soon), for my health, my wallet, and to prove I could do it after 35 years of fairly remorseless imbibing. I do feel much better - rested, healthy, and I've finally completed two books I'd been arsing around with for way too long.
However, I also took the #PiggottPledge for Children in Need, hoping a few of you might sponsor my "dryathlon" (not to be confused with the admirable though frankly wimpish Dry September on behalf of Cancer Research UK). And, well... donations thus far have been - shall we say - "disappointing."
Therefore I'm making a generous, neigh, rash offer: because I've saved about £1,000 on booze, I'll match all donations to Children in Need till the total reaches £1,000. That would make £2,000 in total. If the total goes higher, I won't be able to match it but you'll have my undying affection. Or something.
You don't have to donate ONE PENNY till the year's up (FFS hurry up 9th November...) Just make a pledge on my Facebook page and who knows, it might even encourage others to do likewise. This offer remains open till 9th November 2017. So what you waiting for, peeps - blood?
Oh. Right. Well - at least it's alcohol-free. For now, anyway.
|Posted on September 18, 2016 at 8:15 AM|
It's so easy to make excuses for not writing. No time, no money, bills to pay, I must eat, etc. However I have found I am now completely out of excuses, thanks to an incredibly generous grant courtesy of the Royal Literary Fund which will enable me to complete two novels I've been working on for some time: All the Brutes (working title) and Emptiness. So, thanks a bunch RLF. Thanks to you, I'm going to have to write something good.
No excuses left.
|Posted on September 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM|
"The digital age brings new freedoms, new convenience, but also new irritations - and new forms of crime. The world of justice struggles to keep up with the myriad ways cyber criminals use the internet, social media and smartphones to steal our money, privacy and time.
New crimes mean new punishments. Sticking some autistic nerd in a prison cell is both archaic and counterproductive: he (always he...) will only make himself a Wifi connection out of soap and boot polish and escape down the information superhighway. What’s needed are cyber-punishments that fit the cyber-crimes. It’s not so much a case of what would Raskalnikov have done (worked out some sort of phishing scam to snare Alyona, I imagine, though not necessarily her sister) - it’s the punishment he’d receive. Would we sentence him to the UK version of Siberia (i.e., Suffolk) or be more... restorative in our justice..?"
|Posted on August 25, 2016 at 10:20 AM|
"Of all the guff churned out about Isis, the refrain that we are engaged in a ‘clash of civilisations’ and ‘battle of ideas’ is uniquely moronic. Isis doesn’t want civilisation. As for a battle of ideas – what ideas? Isis doesn’t have any, unless you count an apocalyptic fight to the death in Dabiq or Rome. We are reliably informed that Isis includes some very intelligent people who spend years planning terror attacks. Yet it took the, ahem, ‘conflicted’ Mohamed Bouhlel – that brave warrior who defecated on his own daughter’s bed – months to plan his terror attack, which consisted solely of getting in a lorry and putting his foot down. Has any moment more succinctly captured the utter hatred of these brainwashed idiots than the moment Bouhlel’s truck accelerated into the crowd?"
|Posted on August 24, 2016 at 3:55 AM|
To my amazement, I returned home from France (which was lovely - don't let a few idiots put you off) to discover I'm the recipient of a generous award from the Authors' Foundation 2016.
The award will help me complete two novels about which I have high hopes and enable me to think about plots and characters rather than how to pay the bills (for a while). Although of course many of the characters of my books also have to worry about bills, so I won't forget my roots...
Truly grateful to the Society of Authors - and I would advise all struggling authors to apply to the Foundation. If it happened to me, it can happen to anyone...