Saturday, 17th April 2021


There is section of this website about my upcoming book. Since it has been upcoming for the nearly two years which I have been writing the blog you might just wonder when this book is actually arriving. Well it is a long story.

Before going further can I encourage you to read this Blog to the end because I will be asking for your help when you get there?


I started to write the book about five years ago and eventually, after about two and a half years, had it ready to burst upon an eager reading (and hopefully buying) public. I had carefully investigated the ways in which this might be achieved. I found three avenues:

  1. Self-publishing. You write the book, have it edited, format it and send it to one of a number of companies which can print as many or few copies as you think you can shift. It is also possible to have it printed on demand, saving on your attic space. Most of the profits reach your own pocket but you have the problem of marketing the book  – and  it is most unlikely to find its way into bookstores.
  2. Vanity publishing. The publisher charges you up front for getting the book into print but the charges are high and the attention to the details of editing, formatting and cover may not be to the high standard you seek.
  3. Traditional publisher publication: Very few publishers accept direct submissions from authors. They have to be approached by literary agents. That means finding an agent to take on the work – and agents need to be satisfied that the book will sell well and that their percentage cut will bring in sufficient dosh to pay for all the work they put in. Once accepted by an agent the spadework is done for you by the agent.  The publisher, driven as they are by their percentage share, will market the book and distribute to bookshops and other outlets. The share earned by the author is small but may be compensated for by the greater number of books shifted.

Finding an agent

The traditional publisher route was easily the best approach for me. So I set about finding an agent. The “Writers Handbook” gives a full listing of agents along with their particular interests – fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, young adults, poetry etc. I targeted any who claimed an interest in science, lifestyle or sport and started to compose submissions. Unfortunately each agent has his/her preferred format for what you send them. Some of the demands include a summary, a “pitch”, an outline, a sample of one or more chapters. Each demand has a word count particular to the agent. It takes a long time to tailor the submission to the requirements of each individual agent so I did a few at a time.

One more glitch. Nearly all agents declare that it may take between six and twelve weeks to reply and many don’t guarantee a reply at all.

I was filled with optimism as I emailed off half a dozen submissions. Twelve weeks later, somewhat discouraged but but by no means dismayed, I sent off the next batch – and repeated this cycle with increasing numbers on each occasion before discouragement did indeed morph into defeat.


By now nearly two years had passed since the book had been completed – it was clearly out of date and would need rewriting and I was grown weary of submitting to a group of people who were quite unable to recognise a dead cert when they saw it. Remind you of any thing – Rowling maybe? So I have spent the last year rewriting.

And publication – it had to be self-publishing.

Media presence

One reason given by several agents for rejecting my masterpiece is that I am no celebrity and I have neither a media nor a social media presence. For goodness sake! So I started writing this Blog which has now been running for coming on for two years.  It has an accompanying Facebook page. I have built a following of about 400 regular recipients of the Blog – though I have no idea of how many of you actually read what I write. At least you have my wonderful cartoonist’s entertaining pictures to distract you.

So that is what will happen. I have found an excellent editor who will bash the book into shape and iron out all my non-deliberate mistakes. In a future Blog I will let you what happens next.

Readers’ help

And your help? Just two things

1. A catchy, but informative, title is essential. I have a few candidates. The original was “Exercise, fitness and Health” – worthy but uninspiring. Or perhaps “How often, how long, how long – all the whys and wherefores of exercise”? Or “Don’t kill Granny – send her to the gym”? The latest possibility is given in Toni Goffe’s accompanying cartoon. I would be eternally grateful if you, the reader and hopefully book buyer, could either give your opinion on these or suggest better titles.

2. The success of the book depends upon letting people know about it and this Blog is my best way of publicising the book and its virtues. So more eternal gratitude to you dear readers if you could spread the word among your friends, colleagues,relatives and other folk and encourage them to sign up to receive the blog. If you know of willing recipients just send me their email addresses and I will do it for them.


I have received a response from a blog reader called Ann requesting help in deciding appropriate exercise heart rates.  Ann does not leave a return email address so I cannot respond. So Ann could you please send your email to me at ? Then I will reply.



13 responses to “A BOOK ABOUT EXERCISE”

  1. Charles Parselle says:

    Good titles are hard to think of, but here are a lot of good responses. I will add to the pile of possibles with:
    AMBLE AND THRIVE – Don’t Die on the Couch

  2. Rosie Hayward says:

    Although “Don’t Kill Granny -send her to the gym” is a catchy title I think it gives the wrong messages – that exercise can only be done in the gym and that the book is only relevant to older people. I think it would make most Grannies feel patronised.

    My favourite is “Get Off the Couch before its too late”. It is an eye-catching title which will inspire more curiosity than some of the more straightforward titles suggested. I prefer “couch” to “sofa” as it has the connotation of “don’t be a couch potato.” and has more of a ring to it.
    Good luck Hugh.

    • Hugh Bethell says:

      Thanks you very much Rosie – very helpful – and sensible. And I agree that sofa would be better than couch

  3. AW W says:

    Get off the Sofa & boost your energy

    Get off the sofa & enjoy life more

    I think Sofa is a better word than couch

  4. Pat says:

    Hugh I share your dismay about publication, I have seen so many books on nutrition written by celebrities say chef’s or tv doctors with the promise of getting you back to health, they are all worthy but say nothing new really, just written and published to appeal. So self publishing is the way forward and a bit of good PR. As for a title, hmm let me think. As I am a granny and now a little more restricted in what I can do the title will surely put me off. My brain suddenly said ‘ Don’t just sit there, do something! as a starter. Good Luck Hugh

  5. Jean Davies says:

    Just to let you know – I always read your blogs to the end! As I’m sure all your other recipients do.

  6. Mashud says:

    I suggest as a title ‘ Exercise,live longer’

  7. David Brodie says:

    Exercise – Why, When, How and Where
    Written by a GP for every patient who wants to live well.

    Exercise – the world’s best medicine
    Written by a GP for everyone who wants to live well

  8. Iain Ross says:

    “Is it your effort to live longer and better?”

  9. Steve Havers says:

    My daughter, Lizzie (Lakeside Weightlifting at Eastleigh), is also keen to expound the benefits of exercise and frequently uses the phrase ‘Use it or lose it’.

    With her help, and following open-heart surgery to replace an aortic valve, my only medication at age 76 is Clopidogrel.

    Kindest regards,

  10. Barbara says:

    Well, Hells Bells Hugh! So sorry it’s been so hard and taken so long. One of my sons has written a couple books and self published them on Amazon. He has written one now about one of his missions over Afghanistan, and is awaiting approval from the Air Force to publish it. lots of read tape and patience, as you’re finding out.
    anyway, I vote for “Don’t kill Granny – send her to the gym”. I think it’s catchy and would make me stop and look.

    “Don’t kill Granny – send her to the gym”?

  11. Ian Fleming says:

    Well done Hugh! I think your caption…Get off the couch before it`s too late! is a pretty good title

  12. I just love ‘Don’t Kill Granny – send her to the gym’!

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