Multi-author box sets

Secret Worlds

What’s the hottest new book marketing tactic I learned in 2015? Taking part in multi-author box sets!

This strategy is most appropriate for authors writing novels in a closely interlinked series and is an alternative to setting the first book free. Instead, you leave your book for sale, team up with several other authors writing in your genre, and sell the box set of first books in series as cheaply as you can.

Sell-through to other books in your series will be your primary income source. But if you enroll the box set in Kindle Unlimited, you might be surprised by how much the compilation itself brings in. For example, Secret Worlds, the box set I’m currently involved in, netted around $2,500 apiece for each author during its peak month! Meanwhile, my own book two hovered around a rank of 10,000 in the Amazon store for months, and book three launched with a bang due to the visibility of the box set.

Here are some tips if you want to follow my lead:

  • Choose an experienced box-set manager. Secret Worlds was spearheaded by the amazing Rebecca Hamilton, who carefully set up weekly marketing tasks for each participant. Expect to spend about an hour per week on the project — the time will be worth it! We also each chipped in a couple of hundred bucks up front to pay for promotional pushes.
  • Know your goals. The only downside of my current box-set experience is that we were shooting for the New York Times bestseller list at first, which required us to take all of our books out of KDP Select and list them wide. This really killed my sales on Amazon since I get a lot more borrows than buys. We ended up missing the list and not making much money during that period. But once we pulled the box set back into Select, borrows more than made up for the preorder push.
  • Look for a group of authors with diverse talents. I think part of the reason our box set did so well is because each author brought her own unique marketing tactics to the table. We have a couple of authors who make phenomenal promotional images, some authors who have huge email lists, and several authors who are pros at twitter or facebook groups. Combining all of those tactics together made an unbeatable team.
  • Plan to price your box set at 99 cents. This is a size issue — after your box-set file reaches a certain number of pages (not sure what), Amazon kicks your minimum price up above 99 cents. We got away with price matching with other sites while our box set was wide, which helped us get in the top 100 paid list. But sales of the box set have been slowly declining ever since we pulled the book off other sites and had to price it at $2.99. Remember, box-set buyers are bargain hunters, so they want to get their books dirt cheap. It might be safer to only put ten or so books in a box set rather than the 21 novels included in ours.

Wolf RampantSound intriguing? You can join this facebook group and keep an eye out for a box set that might suit your books. Good luck!

Aimee Easterling is the author of the Wolf Rampant series, along with several other short stories and novels. She’s currently hard at work on the first book in a brand new series.

6 thoughts on “Multi-author box sets

  1. Wow, Aimee. Great info here! Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve already tweeted, and will continue to do so over the next few days. And much good luck more ventures like this one. I’m so impressed with your marketing knowledge and progress. I have never even considered this for any of my books. Yet. But you’ve got me thinking.

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    • I’m glad I could give you some new ideas! I definitely highly recommend the box set as an additional funnel into a series. But, in your case, I might wait until I had the third book in one of my series ready to go. I wish I’d had book 3 out when I first entered the box set!

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