Yesterday I reviewed the book, The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton. I picked up Ms. Brighton's book late one night when I was having trouble falling asleep. I clicked that little shopping cart icon and when I got to Amazon searched "free" in the book category. I like paranormal books and this one had good reviews.
The book was good. The story ended, there was closure, but also the possibility of another adventure for the main character. The last pages showed me the additional books this writer had so back to Amazon I went.
This time I paid for the book and the writer made money.
I've read that Hugh Howey saw his book, Wool, was selling so that smart man turned it into a series. BAM! He's a best seller! Of course the writing has to be good.
David Rosenfelt is another writer with a lawyer series. All stand alones, but with the same main character. One free book and I came back for the others.
There's always been a lot of controversy over whether or not a writer should give away their books for free. I've run campaigns where I put my book up for free and saw a spurt of downloads. A review or two came back, but nothing to write home (or here) about. However, my books aren't a series so there was probably no reason to use the free book hook to suck in new readers. Live and learn.
Conclusion? If you have a series offering the first in the series for free could hook new readers. Otherwise? eh.