Killing Readers

by | November 6, 2020 | General | 2 comments

by Ashley Lister

As most people reading my posts here are ‘well aware’ (translate = sick to death of hearing) I’m currently enjoying an adventure in self-publishing.

One of the steepest learning curves I’m currently hurtling along (I can’t remember if I’m supposed to go up a learning curve or down that damned thing) is the whole notion of publicity and marketing. I’m a shy and retiring person by nature and don’t like to brag about any of the 50+ novels I’ve published or the 100+ short stories, or my PhD, or the medals I’ve received for participating in 10K fun runs, or the success of my poetry or my charity work…

However, being a shy and retiring person means I’m ill-equipped for the pressures of trying to promote and market my work. Which is why I’m currently hoping to cultivate publicity by killing a reader.

I can imagine now that some of you are thinking this is a little extreme, and potentially harmful to the ends I want to achieve. To start with, killing readers is a sure fire way of stopping them from purchasing future books, which means it’s a short-sighted plan. Also, there are legal ramifications to killing people which are seldom positive. And there’s also the negative word of mouth such a campaign can cause: “I wouldn’t buy one of his books. I had a friend who bought one of his books and he went and killed him/her.”

Nevertheless, this is what I’m currently planning to do.

Obviously the murder won’t be an actual murder. My intention, as it’s a horror novella I’m currently working on, is to give one lucky reader the opportunity to lend their name to a character who is going to be brutally murdered in the story. There are a handful of legal terms and conditions that I’ve included by way of a disclaimer (all of which can be seen on my website) and I mention this here because it’s been such a fun promotional idea.

I’ve had dozens of emails from readers (and potential readers) asking me to kill them. I’m able to tell people that I’m running a competition that won’t have a winner: it will have a victim. In the past I’ve done book promotions, blog tours and giveaways but none of it has had the daring feel of promising to kill a reader.



In the comments box below, if there’s a competition you’d love to see an author running, let me know and I’ll see if I can find a way to use that in future. And, if you want to run the risk of having me kill you, why not drop me an email so I can put your name in the draw?

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    This is brilliant, Ashley!

    Wish I’d thought of it – though of course I don’t in general write horror or mysteries.

    But I’ll think about whether the general idea could be warped into my genre.

    • Ashley Lister


      I think this could be worked into erotica by asking readers if they want to be the sly liaison that a main character enjoys, or the influential lover that sets them off on a path of sexual discovery.

      If you run a promo like that, I’ll be sending you my name 🙂


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