Okay, so it's only been a week since I did the free weekend thing for Dying Embers.
Now, it seems anti-intuitive to make money by giving books away. At least to me. But the popular advice around the self-publishing interwebs is that making a book free can increase sales - not only for the book but for other books you may have out.
So, here's how it shakes out for anyone else who might be a doubting Thomas like me:
I gave away approx. 2500 copies of Dying Embers worldwide on February 13th & 14th. Prior to that weekend, I had not sold a single copy of DE and only 3.39 other books in the month of Feb. In January, I only sold 6 copies of DE and 15 copies total for all 4 books. Starting with that weekend to this morning, I have moved 15 copies of DE and 4 copies of Accidental Death - both thru sales of either book and pages read for DE (since AD is currently out of the Kindle Select program and is unavailable for Kindle Unlimited.)
This is all without any additional advertising. (I do have advertising going out tomorrow, so that might skew any more sales data from the 'free weekend' thing.)
In addition to hard-number sales, though, I have seen an uptick in interest. The rankings for all 4 books is up, which is always good. And I've seen an increase in reviews and ratings for DE.
Before the free weekend, Dying Embers had 20 reviews on Amazon. Now it has 21. One seems like a minor addition, but it was a 5-star, so I'll call that a win. Also, DE had 31 ratings and 16 reviews on Goodreads. Today, it has 38 ratings and 17 reviews. The review was a 5-star. The ratings? Not exactly sure, but I do know a couple were 5, a couple were 3, and I got my first 1-star. (Not every book is for every person.)
Okay, so I'm not burning up the bestseller lists, but this definitely makes me way more hopeful than I was at the beginning of the month. And I hope my experience here helps you make a decision when you're thinking about whether to do a free day or weekend or whatever.