30 Posts in 30 Days #20: Smaller publishers trying out ‘free’

freeman03I buy a lot of books from small horror and science fiction publishers. One of my favorites is Cemetery Dance. (Full disclosure: for the past ten years I’ve had a contract with them to publish a book of mine. That’s a long story I’m not going to get into here.) One of their forthcoming books is The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman. I’ve ordered my copy and I’ve already started reading it. Wait. What? Let me explain.

Cemetery Dance is pulling what I’d like to call a “modified Doctorow”. While Cory Doctorow makes all of his books available online for free day and date with the release of print editions, Cemetery Dance this time is releasing a free eBook version and a free streaming audio version of this title in advance of the print publication. But only for a limited time. At some point prior to print publication the free versions will be removed from distribution.

Granted, once it’s out on the Internet it will never technically go away but I’m still intrigued by this. For decades now publishers have released printed bound proofs and advance reading copies. (Yes, those are two different things.) But this way there’s practically no cost for the pre-publication publicity and you get the content into many more reviewers.

Additionally, they’ve started a contest. Download and review the book this week on the Cemetery Dance site and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $100 Cemetery Dance gift certificate. For sure will I be posting a review later this week!

What’s more interesting for those not aware of how publishers like this work, here’s some more details on the e- and print editions:


  • An exclusive new interview with Ray Bradbury: "We Have Too Many Inventions!"
  • Comments from bestselling authors such as Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, William Peter Blatty, Jodi Picoult, Anne Perry, Jane Green, M.J. Rose, Douglas Clegg, J.A. Konrath, Seth Godin, Michael Marshall Smith, Scott Adams, and many others about eBooks and the future of publishing.
  • $5.00 off discount coupon valid on the purchase of the trade hardcover edition of The Painted Darkness for a limited time only! (So if you’re on this page to buy the book, go grab the eBook first and save $5.00 off your order!)
  • Author’s Afterword: "Did I Really Commit ‘Career Suicide’ By Giving The Painted Darkness Away For Free?"
  • Norman Prentiss interviews Brian James Freeman about The Painted Darkness

And three different versions in print:

  • Trade Hardcover Edition with full color dust jacket ($19.99)
  • Slipcased Hardcover Limited Edition of 750 signed (by Brian James Freeman and Brian Keene) and numbered copies bound in full-cloth and Smyth sewn with a tipped-in frontispiece ($75)
  • Traycased Hardcover Lettered Edition of 26 signed (by Brian James Freeman, Brian Keene, and Jill Bauman) and lettered copies bound in leather and Smyth sewn with a satin ribbon page marker and a different frontispiece ($175)

I’ll be receiving one of the 26 lettered copies which is already sold out.

Head on over and download it while you can. The rainy weather we’re having here in Nebraska is perfect for it. The rest of you will just have to use your imagination.

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