Why I’m releasing my next novel for free

Hello everyone,

The end of this year has been hectic to say the least, but overall, full of amazing rewards, revelations and rejuvenating experiences from surprising corners. I hope those reading this also feel that, though there may have been hard times, we are ultimately glad to have experienced them, learned from them, and come out the other side.

With this in mind, I want to share some important information about next year and what that’s going to bring, because something has profoundly changed, and it’s hopefully going to benefit those wonderful loyal people who have supported my work (some of them for seven years or more). I’d also like to invite you into a discussion, but more on that anon.

So, what is this hair-brain scheme?

As you know I promised the release of two books this year: Across the Bitter Sea and Four Horsemen. Across the Bitter Sea is well on its way to being released. In fact, Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble and the many other markets have already received it and are now updating it in their stock/print runs. I’ll make an announcement when it becomes available.

Unfortunately for Four Horsemen, due to unforeseen circumstances, it will not be coming out this year. The lead editor at Dark Hall Press has met with some serious health issues and will not be able to proceed with publishing the project as we initially planned. I am wishing him a swift recovery and hope everyone will join me in this.

What does this mean for Four Horsemen? Will it be released?

Well, it wouldn’t mean anything much if it hadn’t been for visiting the Society of Authors AGM on the 19th of November. Attending this event changed everything. I met some wonderful writers, a few agents, publishers and some astonishing people who were so willing to help a young writer like me. In particular Daniel Hahn, Simon Cann, and Fleur Smithwick (all exceptional authors whose work you should check out) must be thanked for generously giving their time and energy to talking to a newbie!

The AGM opened my eyes to the current state of publishing, something I thought I already knew a lot about but really had only scratched the surface. Things are, in some ways, bleak but also there are opportunities for those willing to seize upon them. The one thing everyone agreed on was that the market is changing drastically.

It was not only the practical, financial, strategic advice that I benefitted from by going to the AGM. Meeting these extraordinary people and engaging in discussions on the fate of modern publishing reminded me of why I started writing in the first place, what I want to achieve with it. I realized that though I have still written every day and never lost ‘the faith’ as I like to call it, I have become misguided in terms of my end goals. It’s time to get back on track. This leads me on to the future of Four Horsemen…It is coming in January 2016.

Hold on, what even is Four Horsemen?


Four Horsemen - Promo Image.png

Four Horsemen is a collection of four dark novellas, each one modeled on a modern interpretation of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Each story stands alone (and can be read in isolation) but is linked to the others by subtle Easter-Egg secrets. A secret overarching narrative can be pieced together by re-reading certain passages in the light of one of the other stories, or by reading the stories in a different order. There are hidden references and intertextual allusions not only between the four novellas but to other novels as well. The whole creation is meant to be an epic, expansive universe which unfolds and unfolds. And, if it is well received, there are plans to expand it even further.

But that isn’t the half of it. Let’s number crunch. Four Horsemen is…

101,000 words

400 pages

5 years in the making

4 unique stories

Absolutely free.

Wait, what was that last one?

Yes, you have read correctly. I am going to be giving Four Horsemen away absolutely free. No DLC tricks. No ‘get the first part free: pay for the rest’. No micro-transaction pay-per-page bullsh*t. Free. Forever. All you will have to do is send an email to a specific address requesting one and you will be sent the link to download your free-pdf copy. You can also send the pdf to your Kindle/eBook/iPad reader’s address to read it on your device.

Why the hell are you doing this?

The first and most important reason is as a thank you. There are people who have spent huge amounts of time, money and energy investing in my writing. Without them, I would not still be writing today. Their feedback and encouragement has been the fuel that has kept the engine running even when I was sure there was no more gas left. So, it’s about time they got something back. Sure, I could have written them all a thank you note. But a 101,000 word novel feels a bit of a grander gesture.

There are other reasons.

One is that my perspective on art has been altered. Previously I would have thought you should pay for art. After all, how else is an artist/musician/writer to live? Now, I think that maybe this was heavy-handed. After all, the greatest art is free. Would I have encountered any of the life-shaping texts, songs and artwork if I hadn’t been able to access it free? Art should be as accessible by as many people as possible. I do not think it should always be free necessarily (after all, there is still that question of how a writer/artist/musician eats) but I do think we should make more effort not to put personal gain over its accessibility. I have novels which can be purchased. I am now releasing a novel for free. Not all of my novels henceforth are going to be free, but this one is (and it’s a big one so should keep you going for a while).

What do you get from this?

Well, I hope that if you enjoy the novel you will tell your friends about it. There’s nothing to lose, after all. I hope as many people as possible get to read it. What if we could get 1,000 people downloading Four Horsemen? What if we could get 10,000? It seems impossible now, but what’s to stop us? That’s what I hope I will get out of this: the knowledge I have reached people, which, for those wondering, is the big reason I started writing.

So, that’s enough from me for now: over to you. What do you think of the idea? Are you excited to read the novel? Please, comment below and let’s get this thing started. The Four Horsemen are coming. It’s going to be Biblical.


7 thoughts on “Why I’m releasing my next novel for free

    1. So glad you’re excited William! Hoping you enjoy it! Sure it will appeal to someone with such a feel for the fantastic as you have!

  1. Great blog, Jo – and I’m very excited too. Your last (and first) book was excellent, gripping and memorable. Can’t wait.

  2. Really enjoyed The Darkest Touch and glad that you have managed to “keep the faith” to get Four Horsemen out as well as Bitter Sea! Two books in one year is pretty astounding! Take a well deserved rest after and recharge the creative juices!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Paul! A rest is definitely in order I think lest I tucker out. Lucky that Christmas is coming!

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