Single and multi-author ebook boxed sets have become all the rage in the self-publishing world. Bargain hunter readers love them. What frugal reader wouldn't love twelve books for a dollar? (Or even two or three dollars?) Authors by the hundreds have jumped on the boxed set bandwagon, offering readers boxed set bargains galore. Some authors have complained about $0.99 boxed sets, claiming they "devalue" books (usually fully novels) by selling them at an incredible loss (sometimes $0.12 each!) What these authors don't realize is that there is room for boxed sets as a short-term marketing tool in the self-publishing repertoire. If they're done correctly (and there is a right way and a wrong way to do a boxed set) they can be big money makers and boost your readership.
An ebook boxed set is far more simple than a print one--ebook boxed sets are just one large file consisting of several ebooks. Single author boxed sets can combine serial novels so readers can read them all at once. Multiple author boxed sets usually publish novels along the same theme or in the same genre. Either way, both authors and readers can benefit from boxed sets!
BENEFITS FOR READERS
- For single-author bundles, the discount over buying all of the books in a series separately is a great selling point - readers save money and the author makes a sale! Readers also don't have to worry about cliffhangers or series that don't have an ending yet.
- For multi-author bundles, the discount for 6-12 books is enormous! Sometimes the bargain is just too good to pass up, even if there's just one book in the bundle they really want!
- Readers can use these bundles to "try out" new-to-them authors.
BENEFITS FOR AUTHORS
- Authors can gain new readers and obtain visibility, which is hard to come by in the self-publishing world right now, in a way they might not be able to do on their own. Some boxed sets make it to Amazon's top 100, some even to the top 10. This creates huge visibility for authors and improves Amazon author rank at the same time!
- You make money! While it may seem counterintuitive to price 12 books at $0.99, you have to understand how well these boxed sets sell (when they're distributed and marketed correctly!) When done right, boxed sets can often make an author more (even split twelve ways) than they make on individual books. Depending on the author, sometimes all of their individual books combined! In some cases authors have made thousands of dollars each. Boxed sets can be quite lucrative. The whole can be greater than the sum of its parts!
- If a boxed set sells well enough, it can also hit the USA Today bestseller list, or even the New York Times bestseller list. As an writer, you can then forever claim to be a "USA Today" or "New York Times" bestselling author!
I've heard authors say boxed sets devalue ebooks but it's just not true. Boxed sets are simply another marketing technique, one that self-published authors can take much better advantage of than legacy publishers can. We can afford to set a 12-book boxed set to $0.99 for a few weeks, raise the price to $2.99, and then sit back and let the money roll in. We have enough control over our pricing and pay close enough attention to our ranks that we can adjust our price to maximize both our exposure and our profit. Authors who haven't done a box set seem to be under the impression that they don't make any money, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
I've also heard other authors expressing concerns about creating their own single-author boxed set, too afraid the boxed set will cannibalize sales of their individual titles. In my experience, the profit at the higher price point more than makes up for any sales you lose of individual titles.
WHY CAN’T WE DO THIS ON OUR OWN?
Anyone can do a boxed set on their own, but it involves a lot of know-how and experience to do a boxed set well. We've done so many of our own boxed sets at Excessica that I've actually started a service for boxed sets alone. If you are an author who is interested in boxed sets, you can join our Excessica author forum. We put out calls for submissions for boxed sets there. If you already have a bunch of authors together and aren't quite sure how to proceed, you can check out our Excessica Boxed Sets page.
Goals: Are you looking to make the most money possible? Do you want to make the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists? Excessica can help you clarify your goals and attain them!
Planning & Production: Working with up to a dozen authors can be like herding cats. There’s a lot of work involved in planning and producing a boxed set, from commissioning a cover, to formatting and uploading, to contracts, to working out all the financial details! It can be a great big headache. Excessica can help you with all of that!
Marketing: Marketing is KEY for these boxed sets. I've seen some boxed sets that should have easily hit Amazon's top 100, struggle to get into the 1000's and then drop off a cliff. You have to know where to market, how to market, and when to market. At Excessica, we have a very clear, specific marketing plan to help launch boxed sets as high as they can go!
Pricing: Most multi-author boxed sets aren't going to get much traction unless they start out at $0.99 but you won't keep your boxed set at this price forever. So how do you know when to change your price? At Excessica, we have very specific things we do with prices to maximize our bundle profits!
Limited Time Only: Multi-author boxed sets are usually limited time only. Think of them like concerts for books. They're a one-time experience. The reason for this is obvious - boxed sets are short-term marketing tools that work very well when utilized correctly. But long-term, they can cannibalize sales and start to be a detriment to authors. At Excessica, we can advise you, as a group, when it’s the best time for the ride to be over.
Boxed sets are simply another short-term marketing tool self-published authors can utilize to maximize both their exposure and their profits. Granted, there are no guarantees. I've had experiences where we've done everything right and a boxed set didn't perform as well as we expected. Sometimes genre is a limiting factor--boxed sets don't get home runs in every genre--but overall, especially in romance and erotic romance, boxed sets can do very well. In the end, they can be a win-win for both readers and authors!
Check out our BOXED SET service!
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