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

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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

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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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