My Experience with Box Set Publishing

The Rys Chronicles box set

Ebook box sets have emerged in the marketplace for two reasons. They offer readers excellent value and provide an additional platform for authors to promote their works of fiction and nonfiction and profit from them.

With digital publishing, enormous amounts of content can be packed into easily downloadable files.

As an author with 10 novels published, I began creating box sets a couple years ago. These extra items create additional points of discovery by readers browsing at online retailers.

My First Box Set

My first project bundled three free series starters. I called it the Beginnings Box Set, and it’s one of my top free downloads, especially at iBooks.

Then, I created The Rys Chronicles Complete Series box set. It bundled the four books from the first epic fantasy series that I wrote, and I sell it for $8.99. This bundle price offers readers a discount over buying the titles individually.

Does The Rys Chronicles Box Set lower my overall sales?

No. By selling the value priced bundle I believe that I capture some revenue that might not have been gained from readers who don’t continue after Book 2. Although I’ve long maintained a good sell through rate on each book of The Rys Chronicles series, there is an erosion of sales between each book in the series that is likely unavoidable. Even if people liked Book 2, they might see something else that interests them and move on. Or, a reader might like my work, but they’re not into paying for fiction, so the person goes back into the endless pool of free ebooks and forgoes ever reading a series all the way through.

Individual copies of The Rys Chronicles books continue to sell as well. Some people may not want to invest in a box set upfront, or they don’t notice its existence.

Participating in a Multi-Author Box Set


While I was entering the world of box sets, I happened to receive an invitation out of the blue to submit a novel to a multi-author fantasy theme box set that would be sold for only $0.99. A representative from Paper Gold Publishing contacted me on Facebook in 2015 and made the offer. I’d need to chip in on production, but afterwards I’d get my share of royalties.

As an independent author, I possess all rights to my written works, so I was able to make the decision to contribute Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale to the project. The publisher did not require exclusive rights, which meant that I could continue to publish Werelord Thal wherever I liked on my own.

I ended up with a slot on Legacy, which has gone on to sell over 8,000 copies on Amazon. Although my monthly share of royalties is modest, the box set promotes the sequel to Werelord Thal, Journey of the Hunted, which produces additional revenue each month. A few of those readers might even go on to buy more of my novels.

Producing my own Multi-Author Box Set


Encouraged by my experience with Legacy, I decided to venture into my own project. In a case of monkey see monkey do, I embarked upon finding authors to join me in an ebook box set production.

I eventually gained contributions from seven other indie authors and produced Outcast Journeys: Fantasy and Sci Fi Box Set by Eight Great Authors.

Unlike Legacy, which is only available on the Kindle platform, I chose to have Outcast Journeys distributed to all retailers available to me. I sell all of my other ebooks at multiple retailers and would not want to exclude my box set project from those opportunities.

A $0.99 box set containing multiple authors invites readers to impulse buy, especially when they’re searching for new authors. Every box set sold at Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and Google Play creates a chance that more of the contributors’ titles will be sold at those retailers.

I sell Outcast Journeys at Amazon too, and our promotional efforts have produced sales. The box set entered the top 20 in fantasy anthologies on September 15th. Although the Kindle store may emerge as our top source for sales, Amazon pays the lowest amount per unit on a $0.99 ebook, so the higher per unit revenues obtained at other retailers remain important to overall income.

Because Outcast Journeys was just released in August 2016, I’m still in the early stages of this project. Will box set sales hold steady? Will the publication slip into obscurity? Will something in between happen?

Even a value-priced, multi-author anthology faces competition. Promoting an ebook is hard work, but each ebook out there increases exposure for the author or authors. Each extra title in the marketplace gives readers one more chance to see my work.

At this point, I’m committed to developing more box set projects for myself and others. If you’re interested in collaborating with me on a box set, please contact me.

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Vintage corn bread recipe – moist and easy to make

Rich corn cake made from vintage recipe

The recipe that I use most often from My Grandma’s Vintage Recipes is the one that she labeled “rich corn cake.” It’s a nice and moist corn bread recipe. You only need a few ingredients, and you can whip it up any time you need a hearty side. I like to pair it with any barbecue meats, and it’s also a nice accompaniment for chili.

This corn bread produces a moist corn bread every time. The milk, eggs, and melted butter ensure this necessary result. The recipe also calls for 1/4 cup of sugar. I’ve tried making corn bread without sugar, and I’m just not on that team. I try to eat healthy, but corn bread needs some sweetness in it. I once made a sugar-free corn bread, and, outside of a survival situation, I did not find it edible. The recipe could have been put to better use making bricks to build a temple to the corn god.

The rich corn cake is pleasing fresh out of the oven with butter and honey on it. I use the leftovers to make breakfast. I warm up a chunk and put jam on it.

Rich Corn Cake Recipe

from My Grandma’s Vintage Recipes

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup white flour

1/2 t. salt

1/4 cup sugar

4 t. baking powder

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add eggs, well beaten. Add milk and melted butter. Beat. Bake in shallow buttered pan in a hot 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until done.

To study more vintage recipes likes this one, get the whole cookbook My Grandma’s Vintage Recipes: Old Standards for a New Age. Available as ebook or paperback.

Ebook $2.99

Select your format for instant download. Available worldwide. (Gifting available – select “gift” at checkout and enter recipient.)




Ebook also sold at these retailers:

Paperback $6.99

Sold at Createspace or Amazon

Amazon Canada

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Thinking about food security

Canned cherries

Modern so-called civilization has created a global food system. Most of the food on supermarket shelves is trucked in from hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Of more concern, millions of people live their lives without engaging in any type of food production activity.

In essence, most people depend on restocking their pantries with frequent trips to stores that are supplied from far away. When you think about it, this is extremely odd behavior for an animal. Most animals live near their food supply and concern themselves with food-gathering activities. Granted, we humans have higher pursuits like filling out insurance paperwork or playing games on smartphones, but, essentially, we’re dismissing our natural instinct to see after our own basic needs.

This does not set well with everyone, myself included. Although I’m still largely dependent on the global food system, primarily for flour and oil and luxuries like coffee and chocolate, I have taken many steps over the years to produce food at home. I grow fruit and vegetables and source local produce, meat, and eggs from local farmers markets. I keep a store of food that would feed my family for a few weeks. It’s not a food hoard, but I certainly won’t be desperate in under a week.

I believe that more people should engage in food production activities in order to supplement the supply of food distributed by giant companies. When more people take responsibility for feeding themselves, society as a whole is more resilient and protected from food shortages and price spikes.

Starting in 2006, I began learning how to preserve food with home canning. This skill is easy to master and incorporate into your lifestyle. Food preservation is an essential element in food security because it allows you to build up a small stockpile of shelf-stable food. As a bonus, the food you preserve at home will be tastier and higher quality than anything you can buy in a can at the store.

My humble attempt to encourage and enable people to educate themselves about food storage is The Home Canning Guide for Everyone Who Eats. The guide quickly explains the basics and provides a few recipes to get you started.

As a 99-cent ebook, it makes the information accessible. You can even print out the PDF version I sell at this website.

To read more about the guide visit the Home Canning page.

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Start researching recipes for your holiday baking

Since publishing My Grandma’s Vintage Recipes: Old Standards for a New Age in 2013, I’ve really benefited from putting together this memorial project. After salvaging over 60 recipes from a tattered notebook handwritten by my late grandmother since the 1920s, I’ve deepened my connection with my family heritage.

Other people have simply bought the book because the vintage recipes interested them. The recipes in this book hearken back to 1920s Ontario, Canada, where my grandmother grew up. Most of the recipes are quite simple and require few ingredients. They were written in a time before supermarkets when people cooked from scratch with pantry staples. This is good information these days as food budgets tighten, and people want to get away from processed snacks in wrappers.

This cookbook has a whole chapter on fruitcakes. I know they are a much-maligned and made-fun-of baked good, but they really don’t deserve their reputation, at least if you make one yourself.

Personally, I have not felt the need to age a fruitcake and soak it in brandy, as tradition holds, because a fruitcake is so delicious on day one!

Fruitcakes are super sweet treats. Make one, and you’ll add to the mood-altering festivities with each nibble.

If you’re curious about baking a fruitcake, this cookbook has a recipe that I heartily endorse. It has become a holiday tradition in my family. And last year, I discovered that they freeze well too.

To see ordering information for the ebook or paperback visit the Vintage Recipes page.

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