remember last year when Amazon posted my ebook, Monster in The Mirror for free, but still paid me commissions for each sale. I'd made a little over $2k in the process. Well they've done it again, but this time they've modified their sales agreement so that they don't pay the commission when an ebook goes free (you can prevent your books from going free, if you want).
But, even if I'm, not getting paid, giving away an ebook, especially if it's a novella or collection of shorts is a great way to introduce readers to one's work. It's not a guaranteed way to get readers to buy your other titles, but it does help. Especially if you have a good backlist (which I don't). I'm working to get a couple more titles that are almost finished out ASAP, so I can capitalize on all this free publicity.
So while ranking higher than War and Peace (again) on Amazon's Bestseller list looks good, it doesn't equate to success. Unless you can turn those free ebook readers into paying fans it's not doing a lot to advance your career.
For those of you who are curious, I've have over 5,000 downloads over the last several days, which has resulted in about 7 (Paid) sales over my average. So, it takes a lot a free ebooks to equal one sale. I'd estimate I get 1 extra sale for every 1,000 (or maybe 900) free downloads. Now, I know some of my fellow authors are doing better (a few worse). These are the one's who have lots of other ebooks for readers to buy.
So, with a little luck, by expanding the number of ebooks I have out, I can use this giveaway to build a bigger readership. Oh, in case you are wondering: Yes, I laughed out loud when I passed War & Peace in the rankings.