Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New year, new challenges?

By Peter Stuart Smith

I suppose everyone makes New Year resolutions, and I guess there's a fighting chance of one or two dedicated individuals actually keeping them, at least for a while. Personally, I never bother, working on the assumption that I'll just keep on plodding along, doing this year what I did last year because for me, that seems to work.

But actually this year might turn out to be a little different, because for the first time since I started writing as a profession, back in 2003, at this moment I'm actually out of contract with both my publishers, and in all three names. Of course, three books have yet to be produced, but the process is well underway. I've corrected the page proofs of Right and Glory; I'm about to look at the copy-editor's comments on Manhunt, and I'm just finishing off the manuscript of The Nosferatu Scroll. But the bulk of the work is done, and right now I have no new projects for which I have a contract.

And that's a rather strange feeling. Usually I write seven days a week, but for the first time in eight years there are no deadlines looming, no new work to be done. I'm hoping, of course, that my agent will rectify the situation fairly soon, but it's by no means certain that all three of my altar egos will be leaping into print again in 2012. The thriller market is uncertain, shall we say, with big contracts going to established names like Lee Child (who does actually write his own books), and people like Chris Ryan and Andy McNab (who of course don't). So whether Macmillan see a future for James Barrington and the 'Paul Richter' character is unknown. Sales in this genre have certainly been falling quite steadily, apart from the big names.

'James Becker' probably has a brighter future, with the first two books getting into the New York Times top forty best-seller lists, and the third one (The Messiah Secret) entering at number 27 in December last year. And as for 'Max Adams' and the WW2 series, right now we just don't know. The first book (To Do or Die) was offered in places like Waterstones on various promotions but we don't yet know what the sales have been like. It got decent reviews, though.

We shall see, and obviously you'll read about it here over the next few months. Of course, if the Maya are right, the world is going to end in December 2012 anyway, and if it does I guess that publishing contracts and pretty much everything else aren't going to seem particularly important. but whatever happens in 23 months or so, I'm reasonably certain that as the continents shatter and the oceans rise – or whatever it is that's supposed to happen – you'll still find me sitting in front of my laptop, writing something, even if it's only my Will!


  1. Hallo Peter

    First of all let me wish you a happy New Year and good luck with your novels. I've never been in the fortunate position of being published as widely as you seem to be, but at least I do have seven novels to my credit. My first actually was with Macmillan, but that was a million years ago. Anyway, you mention the Mayan Indians and their prohecy that the world will end on December 21 in 2012, which brings me to the reason for this post. In 2009 I joined up with a group of writers from around the world and collaborated on a novel titled PASSAGE TO REDEMPTION. It was an experiment to see if a group of people who had never met and from diverse cultures could successfully produce a novel. The story covers a period of about 250 years and concludes with an event in December 2012. The core of the Mayan prophecy is extremely well presented and backed up by some pretty remarkable 'facts'. The book is available on Amazon, and the group are given the name of The Crew. You can learn more about this endeavour by checking out the website of Acclaimed Books at Have a look, see what you think. Or you can find it at


    Michael Parker

  2. By Peter Stuart Smith

    Many thanks for that, Michael. I've not simply looked on Amazon, I've even bought the Kindle download! So how's that for a response?

    With very best wishes


  3. Well, thank you, Peter. Yes, what a response. I hope you enjoy the novel, and if you do, perhaps you would recommend it to friends. They could download it too.


  4. By Peter Stuart Smith

    I'm a writer. I don't have any friends!