Can you make money by giving something away? Evidently yes. My publisher asked if I wanted to enter my novel, Snarky and Sweet, in the KDP select program. It means giving exclusivity to Amazon for an ebook. (This basically means my Nook version disappears from Barnes and Noble for 90 days.) Since my book was almost completely undiscovered, I said yes. My editor then offered it for free for two days.
A minor miracle occurred. At the end of the two-day free period, my book made bestseller list after bestseller list, finally ending up on the biggie, the top 100 free Kindle books. I think my highest number was 17. I kept taking screenshots with my book on the same page as Tom Clancy, Sophie Kinsella, and Tina Fey.
The final numbers aren't in, but my book was downloaded more than 14,000 times in two days. And in four countries. Be still my beating heart!
So what happens when it's not free any more? That was the question. Right now, it's holding its own. Now I'm selling books. It's still on three bestseller lists and one of those lists is for all books, not just ebooks. This wave won't last forever, but I'm thrilled. So many people will be reading my book! And if they like it, perhaps they will buy the sequel which is coming out in a couple of months.
I kept saying silent prayers all weekend. Believe it or not, it wasn't prayers that my book would do well. It was prayers of gratitude. I didn't do this by myself. I had a lot of help.