I’m back from maternity leave! Wow, that went fast. It’s hard to believe my newbie is 2 months old already. What’s that you say? You want pictures? Well, okay…
I may be a bit biased, but I think he’s pretty darn cute.
While I was away playing Mommy, another fabulous thing happened –my High Heels Mysteries Boxed Set hit the New York Times Bestseller list… again! It hit the first time back in February, so I was shocked and beyond thrilled that it hit again six months later. Not only that, but the books in this set are all from 2006-2009 – at least three years old! If this isn’t proof that ebooks have no shelf life, I don’t know what is.
Considering this recent excitement, I wanted to talk today about boxed sets. As you can tell, they have been very good to me. I love boxed sets because not only do they give you another title to put out, but they also give you a title at a higher price point. By far, my bestselling title is my boxed set of the first 5 books in my High Heels series… which usually sells for $9.99. I get the highest 70% royalty possible at Amazon with this book, which, as you can imagine, also makes it my biggest money maker. So, today I’ve put together my list of Dos and Don’ts when publishing a boxed set.
DO: bundle similar books. But they don’t all have to be a part of a series! Any books you write in a similar tone, bundle those. Or any books you have out that could have a common thread – time period, genre, length, etc. You can bundle anything!
DO: make a 3D cover. Something about a cover that shows how many books you’re getting right in the picture tends to entice readers more than a flat cover telling readers how many books they get. Most people are very visual, so seeing two books for one price feels like more of a bargain. (Note: one exception to this is Smashwords, which does not allow 3D covers. You’ll have to go flat there, but in my opinion, it’s worth doing two covers to get a 3D one at the other sites.)
DO: price it lower than the books bought separately would cost. It doesn’t have to be significantly lower, but low enough that the reader is getting a deal. For example, my boxed set of 3 books normally sells for $6.99, where each book is $4.99 sold separately. My boxed set of 5 books sells for $9.99 – mostly so I can get the 70% still. I have a bundle of short stories that sells for $3.99.
DO: use your boxed set for sales. Just like you would any other title, feel free to put this on sale! Don’t be afraid of losing money by pricing low – in most cases you will make up for it in quantity. I know I always do!
DON’T: EVER make your boxed set free. If you have all of your books available for free, there’s nothing left for fans to buy once they finish it. This way you will see sales drop. And fast! Even if you do have other books to purchase, don’t make your boxed set free. You can gain just as much visibility putting a single book free as a boxed set without giving away so much.
DON’T: include too many books in one boxed set. I’ve noticed significant issues with my 5 book boxed set as far as loading on devices go. (Especially at Nook!) It’s just a huge file, and it slows people’s ereaders down. I’ve gotten WAY more 1 star reviews than I care to count just because of file and loading problems. Which really sucks, since it has nothing to do with the actual stories, you know? If I could do it again, I’d break it up into smaller sets. 3-4 books seems almost perfect, from what I’ve seen.
DO: have a follow up book! I see my highest sales on a) my 5 books boxed set and b) book #6 in the series. People buy the boxed set, then are hungry for book #6. I have NEVER put book #6 on sale. It always sells at $4.99, because my hope is that by the time I’ve hooked them with my bargain boxed set, they are fans who are willing to pay a little more to keep reading the series. (Note: this doesn’t mean that you have to wait until you have a follow up book to make a boxed set, but if you have, say, 4 books – box 3 and let 4 stand alone as your big money maker.)
DON’T: worry about boxed set sales cannibalizing sales of your single titles. I have never experienced this myself. If anything, having more titles out gives you more visibility and adds to overall higher sales.
It’s Your Turn, WG2E-Land: Any other thoughts, questions, ideas? Feel free to shout them out. I’m around today and checking the thread often!
Gemma Halliday is a New York Times Bestselling Author, who had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She worked as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic, before finally selling her first book, Spying in High Heels, in 2005 and deciding to be a writer. Since then, she has written several mystery novels and been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations. Her books have hit both the USA Today and the New York Times Bestseller lists. And she’s a proud member of our WG2E Family.