Reviews and Freebies

I like the word freebie, it sounds friendly and fun.

This is not going to be as long as I’d like or planned. There is a longer draft of this newsletter but, unfortunately, I have simply run out of time to edit and send it.

Sending a newsletter which includes group promotion opportunities is not the same as sharing something focussed solely on myself. Other people are counting on their books being shared with my readers, their novels, novellas or short stories placed somewhere others can see them. That’s the whole point of the group promotion — we are each supposed to share the link and gently direct you to have a look. It is, in theory, a win-win situation. 

The reader can discover new books, and the author can find new readers. 

However, sometimes people sign up for a promotion and then do not share, or do so badly. That doesn’t seem fair to me, we — as writers — should be supporting our fellows. This business is not like others, something big industry often fails to grasp and then struggles to comprehend how to make money from authors. When they talk about competitors, this is not really the case for authors. How can we compete against one another? It is not logical. 

Even the most prolific writer can only turn out so many novels per year. Are their fans then expected to sit around, waiting for the next book from their favourite author? No, of course not — readers do not read books from only one person. Instead, they (you, and me) search out other works, things which people recommend, things that look similar from their blurbs, or even their covers. Readers listen and they talk, it has been the way of story since the days before writing itself — good tales have a habit of making themselves known.

We, the authors, hold one another up, we support and we help lift one another ever higher — unlike in other industries, where the goal always seems to be to trample over your competitors. There are certainly those who see the process differently, of course there are, but I do not think there are many of them. 

For this reason, I cannot in all good conscience fail to send a scheduled newsletter — as I would have done had this been a blog post, for example. Others are relying on me too. In all honesty, you, the reader, won’t miss out on anything. Those already-drafted words will be repurposed, woven seamlessly into a future missive, shared at a later date. Those photos I had been considering are going nowhere, they can wait too. 

For now, however, it is paramount that I share the following.

Review Copies and (still) Free Books

Reviews are the lifeblood of book marketing. Without them, it is considerably harder to find new readers, harder to find traction and share your work. For this reason my novella, Death & Taxes, is enrolled in a group review promotion, here, where you can find a host of other books too. Each is free in exchange for the hope of an honest review.

I have now had a few reviews from these promotions and each has delighted me and some of the reviewers continue to message me, which makes me very happy indeed. I should also say — if you share a review for one of my works, I will keep a note of this and (for the time being) offer free copies of future stories too, as a way to say thank you. If you want to be a part of my review team in this manner, simply follow the link and download Death & Taxes — and please check out the other books there too.

The first of the Tales of the Lesser Evil, Only One Death, is also free, still available here at StoryOrigin, along with over 50 other stories, and also here, at BookCave, with nearly 40 others (and the chance to win $25 of book vouchers). Do please have a look at both promotions, if you haven’t already!

I should take this opportunity to remind you that, should you download either of my Tales, you will also find a link in each to another free story. For Only One Death you can download Dust & Death and, for Death & Taxes, you can download A Clean Death. That’s a lot of free stuff for, err, free. 


The ‘why?’ behind the fact I have run out of time to edit my longer, planned newsletter, is a complicated matter. Partially, it can be attributed to a vicious migraine this week, and the lingering pain and after effects (only my third this year, which vastly beats the days when I would get clusters of thirty or more in a week). My brain is not good with words when I’ve had a migraine. Not at all. Things do not look normal, they become strangers to my eyes, phrases I have used for over forty years suddenly take on new meaning, and words I have had no trouble spelling begin to twist themselves into curious shapes, no longer seeming real.

I also suspect that, like so many others, the ongoing issues surrounding Covid (being unable to travel to see family and friends, for example) are having an impact on my brain. I feel tired and weary, a little burnt at both ends, edges singed. I know I am in a good position, I am happy, I am healthy — but that does not mean I cannot accept that I need to keep a sharp eye on myself, nevertheless. This week and last have proven harder to scribble and draft and edit, no matter the words. Perhaps I just need a few days off but, for the freelancer and, especially, the freelance writer, this is easier said than done.

I turned 44 last week. This is a good number. In the non-edited version of this note, I talk more about how double digits carry personal meaning for me — I was born on the 11th, after all, and every 11 years is a time for reckoning, self-examination, and big change. I shall, no doubt, share these words at some point soon, along with the notes on fledgling birds, on the continued mountain greening, and the shifting of the seasons. 

Now would seem to be a good point to remind you that, if you are on twitter, I am also there — @AlexanderMCrow and also @ButAWriter. The former is my personal account and the latter is the one I will increasingly be using for promotional tweets, sharing news of works in progress and, indeed, the work of others too. If you are on twitter, do say hello.

Until next time (which will not be that long), take care of yourselves, allow yourselves time to rest and recover if you need to, and always, always, think of others.

Photos, as ever, are mine. For some reason, migraines make me think of shells.

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