I'm a great believer in giving away things for free. And giving away books and short stories is a great way of pulling in new readers. I gave away close to 40,000 PDF downloads of my book Private Dancer before publishing it as a paperback and I'm convinced that's one of the reasons it continues to sell so well.
Anyway, I'm planning to put up a free short story on Smashwords - the first of my Inspector Zhang stories. Inspector Zhang is a detective in SIngapore who loves mysteries but they are few and far between in the low-crime city state. He finally gets his wish when a dead body is found in a locked hotel room. The story is titled Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish and is about 8,000 words long. It has already been published in an anthology out of Singapore and sold by my good friend Phil Tatham at Monsoon Books. I'm planning to do a collection of short stories about Inspector Zhang and I though this might get some interest going - and also give me the incentive to write more. I already have five done but figure that I need a dozen to make a book.
I have asked Stuart Bache, who does many of my covers for Hodder and Stoughton, to come up with the cover and he's given me two great ideas to think about.
The one problem is going to be offering it on Kindle, as Amazon won't let self-publishers offer their work for free. I'll almost certainly have to sell it at the Amazon minimum (99 cents, equivalent to about 62p in the UK). Hopefully Amazon will eventually spot that it's free on Smashwords and will then do the same as part of their price-matching guarantee! We'll see.