Last week I ran a 5-day giveaway of my scifi story, "Novum" on Amazon, and during that short window, more than 5,000 copies were downloaded. You might ask why I, or any other author, would give away so many free copies of their book. For me, the answer is simple: publicity. Novum is the first book in a series, and I felt giving away copies would help get the word out. A good book, or even a halfway decent book, means very little if no one knows it exists. Also, while 5,000 copies seems like a lot of books to just give away, it is actually a tiny drop in a very large bucket in terms of potential readers.
Now I have to say the biggest surprise to me, and the real "payback" for this effort, is that Novum has received 12 new reviews in the past 11 days, which is more than double what it had before (5 of those reviews came within the last 24 hours, including one as I was writing this!) Even including the few "expected" negative reviews centered on the fact that Novum is short (it is a 26,000-word novella, compared to my first book, Cyberdrome, which is a full 96,000-word novel) the reviews have all been overwhelmingly positive.
During March, I also ran a promotion on Goodreads.com to give away 10
paperback copies of Novum. That promotion generated over 700 people who
wanted a copy, so I have to include that number as additional potential
All in all, I believe I received far more than I gave...