It’s not just self-publishers who are using short stories as a marketing tool. I came across a good example by Tess Gerritsen (Random House) currently available for free.
Freaks by Tess Gerritsen (Randomhouse)
Rating: 3.5 stars
A yound girl is found dead in a cathedral and it seems her boyfriend might be the culprit. A vampiric twist on a simple who-dunnit…
If you’ve read other books by this author then you’d probably be familiar with The Surgeon, one of the first books from the Rizzoli and Isles series. If not, then this is a lukewarm introduction as demonstrated by some of the disappointed reviews online (see below). This isn’t to say that it was poorly written, or not worth the time spent reading it; just a reflection of the standard expected from this author based on her extremely popular series. (The series that is cleverly marketed at the end of this short in < 50 words per title and which is enjoying the added publicity of a TV series…)
You could argue that the author didn’t need the publicity with such an extensive fanbase and the added interest that a new TV series could bring. It is, however, a great example of how even the big guys see the potential draw of short stories as a marketing tool.
So what do others have to say on this free story?
Amazon (UK) – Average rating of 3.5/5. Of 18 reviews, the majority gave 4/5 but there were a few that expected more of the author. This is the intrinsic difficulty with short stories as it is difficult to develop a substantial plot with the limited length that they offer you.
Goodreads – Average rating of 3.1/5. Similar spread as Amazon with some who clearly enjoyed the free taster and others familiar with the series already who wanted a little more.
See also – Reviews: Some general rules