More than 10,000 readers have downloaded the free eBook or audiobook editions of The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman since Cemetery Dance Publications launched the special giveaway two weeks ago to promote this chilling new novella.

The marketing experiment has proven to be a huge success, creating word of mouth and media reports about the hardcover edition that never could have been achieved through traditional marketing, leading the publisher to double the planned first printing. Collectors reserved every available copy of the signed Limited Edition of the book less than 24 hours after it was announced, and preorders for the $19.99 trade hardcover are much stronger than originally expected.

“Although many people said we were crazy to give a book away for free, we believed this promotion would only help generate more word of mouth for this terrific book, which in turn would sell more copies of the hardcover,” said Cemetery Dance publisher Richard Chizmar. “Given the quick sellout of the signed edition and the tremendous preorder numbers for the trade hardcover, I think our little experiment has been a huge success.”

The Painted Darkness is the haunting story of an artist facing the demons of his past. The book has already received praise from legendary New York Times bestselling authors such as Richard Matheson, Stewart O’Nan, David Morrell, Tess Gerritsen, and Bentley Little. The free eBook can still be downloaded at Download The Darkness, but for a limited time only.

Cemetery Dance will publish the trade hardcover edition of The Painted Darkness in November with a retail price of $19.99, but many online stores are already taking reservations thanks to the wave of publicity from the campaign. The hardcover will include an exclusive introduction by Brian Keene and more than a half-dozen interior illustrations by Jill Bauman that won’t appear anywhere else.

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