Wednesday, 21 May 2008
There may be no free lunch for goofy hero Hal Spacejock, but his fans worldwide are about to be served a big helping of science fiction – for nothing! Fremantle Press and Western Australian author, Simon Haynes, are giving away complete online copies of the novel Hal Spacejock 1. To coincide with the release of the fourth book; Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch, the first novel in the popular series will be available to download from June 2008.
Author Simon Haynes says there is a method to his madness.
“Science fiction readers are typically technologically savvy and familiar with E-books.
“They are often bloggers with many online connections and the spread of information across the online community is incredibly fast,” he said.
Haynes said he was keen to build an international following but in some countries his books were only available as an expensive import.
“Hal Spacejock 1 is now on its third reprint and I’ve proved there’s an audience for my particular brand of offbeat humour.
“By giving away the first novel as a free online download, I hope to reach a wider, international audience and, with any luck, get them hooked on the whole Hal Spacejock series,” said Haynes.
Although the practice is rare in Australia, free online books in the science fiction genre have been given away by overseas publishers such as Tor Books, HarperCollins and Baen with interesting results. Initial reports indicate that releasing “freebies” can lead to increased book sales.
According to Sales and Marketing Manager, Clive Newman, Fremantle Press was at first resistant to the idea of releasing a free online version of the novel.
“Giving away a free book, especially one that is on its third reprint, is not something we would normally contemplate.
“But this is a science fiction series and overseas readers aren’t going to buy the fourth novel, Hal Spacejock: No Free Lunch, if they haven’t even read the first,” he said.
Haynes also has his eye on the reluctant reader in the school system – especially boys. He said that while many potential readers may shudder at the thought of borrowing a book from the library, he hopes they may be more inclined to check out an E-book.
“If you’re a school librarian, a parent or an English teacher who wants a way to promote reading, you’ve really got nothing to lose by pointing kids in the direction of an online novel.
“I’m a parent and I figure that if my kids are going to spend more time in cyberspace then you’d better make books available to them there as well as in the school library,” he said.
The four Hal Spacejock books are a comic science fiction series that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes books by Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt or Jasper Fforde.
To download your free copy of Hal Spacejock 1 go to www.spacejock.com.au
The Hal Spacejock series is published by Fremantle Press and is available from all good bookstores and at www.fremantlepress.com.au
About the author
Simon Haynes is the author of four Hal Spacejock novels, a number of articles on writing and publishing, and several short stories, one of which collected an Aurealis Award in 2001. Born in the UK and raised in the south of Spain, he immigrated to Australia with his family in 1983. He’s a founding member of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and lives in Perth with his wife and two children. His goal is to write fifteen Hal Spacejock books before someone takes his keyboard away.
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Posted by Fremantle Press at 10:19 am