Last month, my co-author Meagan Spooner and I released a free short story set in the same world as our Starbound trilogy. Titled This Night So Dark, it's designed to be read before or after These Broken Stars.
We had heaps of fun writing and releasing it, and the response from fans has been amazing! We've been asked lots of questions about it, so today I'm going to talk about the best reasons to release a free story like this, and why we did it.
It's a chance to give something back to the fans.
This is, above anything else, the best reason to write and release a story for free. We've been bowled over by the response to These Broken Stars -- from the emails to the letters, the awesome fan art (hoooow do you guys do that stuff?) to the recipes! Quite simply, we wanted to thank our readers for being amazing, and a free story felt like the best way to do it.
You can tell a story that doesn't fit into the big picture.
At the start of These Broken Stars, you learn two things about Tarver very quickly. First, he's considered a 'war hero'. Second, he doesn't want to talk about how he earned those medals. Meg and I always knew the story behind his fame, but there wasn't any place in the novel to tell it. It would have been a distraction from the main storyline. Releasing it as a short story gave us the chance to share it in a different forum, so those who have been wondering (and judging by the emails, you guys really wanted to know!) can find out the truth about Tarver.
It's a chance to meet new readers.
Picking up a whole novel is an investment in terms of time and money -- a short story is a way for an author and reader to get to know each other with less commitment. Think of it as catching up for a coffee, instead of launching into a dinner-and-a-movie date straight away. Short stories and novellas are a great way to check out the writing and world of a new author, to see if you want to jump into the series. We hope This Night So Dark will be a chance for new readers to check out the series, and perhaps join in the fun.
It helps with the wait!
Authors are readers too, and we hate waiting for the next book in our favourite series as much as you guys do! We can't waaaait to share This Shattered World with you all, next month. In the meantime, short stories are a great way to bridge the gap, help with the agony of waiting for the next instalment, and they're also a great way to ease you back into a world before you pick up the next book.
What about you guys? Do you read e-shorts and e-novellas? I'd love to hear your favourites!