The Writing Bar posts about Paulo Coelho's positive experience with giving away books for free online:
With his book, The Alchemist, only selling a mere 1,000 books, his publisher abandoned Paulo. After being picked up by a different publisher in 1996, Paulo took a risk and posted a digital Russian copy of his book on his own website.
The result? 10,000 copies of the book sold a year after, and 100,000 a year after that. By 2002, Paulo had sold one million copies of his various books. He says, “I’m convinced it was putting it up for free on the internet that made the difference.”
It's a worthwhile and interesting read. Obviously not everyone can just put all their writing up on a website and get instant fame, but it's important to get an idea on all the various avenues to success. Sure, if you can write then eventually some sort of success will follow...but...well...if there's a way to speed up that process just a little, shouldn't you take a look?