If you’ve shopped for e-books lately, you’ll see plenty of 99¢ deals. How did they come about, and are they something you want to try for your book? I’ll share the ones I know about and are connected to some of my books.
Simple and Direct
The publisher or author who has published an e-book through KDP submits a form to lower the price to 99¢ on Amazon. (Kindle Direct Publishing) This is a good time for authors to purchase several of their Kindle book gifts for future giveaways and other promotions.
Publishers and authors sometimes put books on sale for 99¢ in the pre-order periods to get books off to a good start. (See the example below for my book.)
KDP Select E-books
If the publisher or author who has self-published has entered the book on Amazon’s KDP Select program, they have agreed to sell the book only through the Kindle Store forever or for a period. During a KDP Select period, they can enter the book in a Kindle Countdown Deal in which the book price can start at 99¢ the first day. Each day after the first day the book price increases until it returns to the list price.
It seems there’s a trend to package books together in a box set and sell the set for 99¢. Many box sets are also on Kindle Unlimited. In Kindle Unlimited, authors are paid by the number of pages read by readers in the program who select their book.
Many times you’ll see the first book of a series free or priced at 99¢ to get readers hooked on buying all the books in a series.
Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.
Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.
What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?
Please welcome my guest, Marion Ueckermann, experienced in the ins and outs of box sets and one of the authors in the successful book set, SPLASH!. Be sure to learn more about SPLASH! and Marion’s novella, Orphaned Hearts, at the end of her post.
Box sets are a win/win for all:
Increased visibility — authors gain access to each other’s readers and social media circles.
Amazon’s bestseller lists — they rank well here, thereby ensuring continued reach (all contributing authors of SPLASH! are now ranking on Amazon’s Top 100 Authors in Religion & Spirituality, and have even all been in the top 40).
Readers get several books for next-to-nothing.
Authors make money — even with splitting the 35% royalty per copy sold, because enough readers take a chance.
Workload is shared.
Authors make great new friendships with each other, and new readers.
So how do you pull off publishing a great box set? First, there are important decisions to be made:
Prior to commencement
Brand-new titles or previously published titles?
How many titles in the set?
Pricing? (Your goals for the box set will determine your price.)
Distribution—Amazon exclusive (Kindle Direct Publishing Select program), or other retailers, too?
Release of individual titles (if never before published titles)?
Submission of ready-to-publish manuscripts?
Submission of individual covers?
Choice of box set title and artwork
Cover art costs
Up-front payment or deductions from earnings?
Distribution of earnings to authors—an outside party to handle for a fee, or someone in the group?
When to unpublish?
Then there’s the matter of front and back matter (and other matter). Each member needs the following information included in their submitted title (manuscript prepared for uploading):
Book description (long blurb)
Links to other published books
ISBN information (if previously published)
They will also require a short blurb for marketing purposes.
Here are a few pointers to what a successful box set needs:
1. Great Leader: Someone must lead the pack. For me, this is the No. 1 priority—having a leader who is:
• Preferably experienced in indie box sets.
• Has a mentor mindset.
SPLASH! is blessed with a knowledgeable and organized leader who has guided the authors through the planning, publishing and marketing waters, providing relevant information to ensure deadlines were met.
2. Great Authors:
Choose authors whose writing you, or other authors in the set, know.
Choose authors who write in the same genre as the set.
Great authors bring five star reviews.
3. Great Discipline:
Dedication to the project.
Disciplined to meet deadlines.
Committed to participate.
4.Great Teamwork in:
Checking the final box set file, ensuring links work and scanning for minor errors or formatting issues to finalize the manuscript prior to Amazon pre-order deadline.
Marketing the box set in social media circles through blog posts, tweets, Facebook postings, obtaining reviewers, etc.
Encouraging one another.
5. Great Communication:
You’ll need a place to interact—create a closed Facebook group.
Keep conversations to relevant threads.
Save all documents and artwork to the Facebook group folders—deadline checklists, submission guidelines, covers, memes, etc.
6. Great Title:
A theme makes it easier to decide on a title.
Ensure your title’s a good fit, will hook readers and offer great marketing possibilities.
The title will direct cover art choice.
7. Great Cover Art:
Hire a professional cover artist—it doesn’t need to cost a fortune and will be worth the money spent.
Group members to give input and agree on:
(Cover art for individual novellas are the authors’ responsibility)
Don’t finalize the box set’s cover art until the final manuscript submission deadline has passed—life happens…authors drop out.
8. Great Marketing:
Release at an appropriate time—SPLASH! is a collection of water-themed summer reads, so released the beginning of summer.
Place advertising timeously—SPLASH! avoided advertising running into autumn.
Create fun memes for the box set, as well as individual novellas, and use extensively in social media to create awareness.
Have a fun Facebook party on release day.
Interested in writing for box sets? Here’s what you need to know—inside and out.Click to tweet.
WARNING: Box sets are FUN and highly addictive!
I was privileged to be part of a box set collection, SPLASH!, which released June 23rd . With the following Amazon.com rankings, I can say this set has been very successful:
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Religious & Inspirational Fiction > Christian > Collections & Anthologies
#1 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Collections & Anthologies
#2 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Contemporary
We’ve seen similar top rankings for SPLASH! with Amazon UK, Australia and Canada.
Will his past, or her future, keep their hearts orphaned?
When his wife dies in childbirth, Zambian conservationist Simon Hartley pours his life into raising his daughter and his orphan elephants. He has no time, or desire, to fall in love again. Or so he thinks.
Wanting to escape English society and postpone an arranged marriage, Lady Abigail Chadwick heads to Africa for a year to teach the children of the Good Shepherd Orphanage. Upon her arrival she is left stranded at Livingstone airport…until a reluctant Simon comes to her rescue.
Now only fears born of his loss, and secrets of the life she’s tried to leave behind, can stonewall their romance, budding in the heart of Africa.
Marion Ueckermann’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven.
Marion loves writing Contemporary Inspirational Romances set in novel places and has three Passport to Romance novellas published and contracted through White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint: her debut novella, Helsinki Sunrise; Oslo Overtures (August 2015); and Glasgow Grace (2016).
She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.