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
- Story length?
- 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
- Advertising 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)
- Author bio
- Author photo
- Links to other published books
- ISBN information (if previously published)
- Cover art
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.
- Brainstorming together.
- 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:
- Stock photos
(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.
Other Titles by Marion Ueckermann
Passport to Romance
Helsinki Sunrise (2014)
Oslo Overtures (2015)
Glasgow Grace (2016)
I’d love to interact with readers at any of the following places:
Follow the tour tomorrow:
Friday 17th ~ Friday Weekend Escape to Zambia
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.
Sounds super fun Marion.
Oh it was, Kristen. I will miss it when the involvement in SPLASH! comes to an end.
Hi Zoe and Marion, what great info! I think boxed sets are the best thing! My publisher actually arranged it for several of us and yes, we are in the top 100 best sellers at Amazon. You get to meet and read a while collection of new stories. I am not sure I have the stamina to do this myself though.
Your hints are so helpful, Zoe, and Marion, I now have another of your books on my tbr list… For one thing, I am passionate about elephants. Your story really appeals to me for many reasons!
Best of luck to you both!
Hi Tanya. I think Marion’s right when she suggests having a strong, experienced leader.
That was absolutely crucial, Zoe. Tanya, I hope you get to spend time in Zambia with Orphaned Hearts.
What a great article. It gets my creative juices going. I need to share this with my writer’s group where there are some great authors, both self published and affiliated with publishers. I even have someone in mind who may be just the one to navigate! Thank you. Cheers
Wow, Marilyn. I can’t wait to see how you run with this.
Very thorough and interesting post, Zoe. Sounds fun!