Author Topic: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series  (Read 2525 times)

alhawke

The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« on: October 04, 2020, 04:47:41 AM »
I'm planning on selling a boxed set, or box set, Tomato/Tomato, of one of my series.

Ignorantly, including not knowing exactly how to say this, I thought I could create a lovely trilogy paperback collection to sell on Amazon with three individual books. Apparently, this isn't done very often in the indie world. In fact, I think many writers don't even bother with a collection of paperbacks.

Creating an ebook collection seems simple enough. Just create an image and combine all three ebooks and sell it. I use vellum and can do this super easy.

So here are some questions for those who've done it and can help me out.
For the ebook collection, do you include the cover for every book? This will increase the file size, but be nice for the consumer.

For the paperback collection, do you combine all thee books into one and just sell it as one paperback or do you somehow sell a collection of three in one? (I could conceivably tie all three books together as one book, change the cover, and sell it as a single book at a higher price. Some writers are doing that).

And finally, perhaps most importantly, when do you release a collection? Do you do it immediately after releasing a final book or do you consider it a few months later in order to not decrease sales of the final installment?
 

LilyBLily

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2020, 09:47:35 AM »
I'm waiting a year after releasing the last books in one of my series before I do a box set of the first three. I don't know if that's good practice or not, but that's my plan.
 
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alhawke

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2020, 03:43:41 PM »
I'm waiting a year after releasing the last books in one of my series before I do a box set of the first three. I don't know if that's good practice or not, but that's my plan.
Thanks LilyBLily.
I wonder how much a collection takes away from single book sales? Perhaps one strategy would be to plan a release during a lull between other book releases? I don't know, this is all new territory for me.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2020, 05:01:25 PM »
I wonder how much a collection takes away from single book sales? Perhaps one strategy would be to plan a release during a lull between other book releases? I don't know, this is all new territory for me.

It depends.

When I tried it, the singles kept on selling at the same rate.

The bundles never performed at all, and I ended up unpublishing them, and not doing the 3rd one.

Even with 35 novels out now, I have no plans for doing bundles again.

I probably never will, at least until a series stops selling. But the way I'm doing things at the moment, series 5 is pushing new readers back into series 1, and my plans for the future include a 'push' back into my second series. As the worst performing, even the second series hasn't performed so badly that I've even considered doing a bundle of it.

I'd say don't do it until the whole series more or less stops selling.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit, with a touch of the Supernatural. Also Spiritual and Games.



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Simon Haynes

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2020, 06:50:02 PM »
Box sets are gravy. I've done them for years. I don't include individual covers (file size!)

They're very attractive to the Bookbub folk. A massively-reduced 99c box set is popular with their subscribers.

It also makes writing a fourth book in a series economical, because there are now two routes to book 4. (Or book 7, or 10).  If someone buys the omnibus with 1-3 in it, book 4 is then available as a single title. Or they might work their way through books 1-3 individually before picking up book 4. Just make sure the box set includes a link to the next in series, whether that's a singleton or the next box set.

I recently published two five-book omnibus editions with books 1-5 and 6-10, giving me a third way to advertise the same books.



You can even have series pages for box sets.
 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2020, 08:58:31 PM »
Box sets are gravy.

Mine were skim milk.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit, with a touch of the Supernatural. Also Spiritual and Games.



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alhawke

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2020, 11:56:39 PM »
I'd say don't do it until the whole series more or less stops selling.
Thanks, Tim, for your advice. I'll consider this.
Box sets are gravy. I've done them for years. I don't include individual covers (file size!)

They're very attractive to the Bookbub folk. A massively-reduced 99c box set is popular with their subscribers.

Thanks, Simon. Yeah, covers would be pretty but the file size is unwieldy. And I have had my eye on BB for the series for the future.


It also makes writing a fourth book in a series economical, because there are now two routes to book 4. (Or book 7, or 10).
I'm okay with busting out a trilogy. But 4? 5? 9? Series make marketing sense and are fun in their own way, but, honestly, I can't stomach the idea of pushing out more than three books in one series at the moment. I don't know how you guys do that.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2020, 12:45:36 AM »
I don't know how you guys do that.

I was a total failure at writing stand alones.

In my first series, I planned for 6, 3 became 3,4 &5. I ended up with 14.

2nd series was supposed to be a trilogy, but ended up 6.

3rd series was supposed to be a stand alone and ended up a trilogy by reader demand.

4th series is at book 8, book 9 planned, and my fans don't want me to end it.

5th series is at book 6 in progress now, and the next 3 are already in planning.

But then, I write serial. And over #36 novels, they cover just over 3 years in the main timeline, with only a few being prequel. Series 4 and 5 haven't caught up to series 2 time wise yet.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit, with a touch of the Supernatural. Also Spiritual and Games.



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Simon Haynes

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2020, 06:57:50 AM »
I have 10 novels in progress on my desktop right now. I'm writing the second in my gaslamp series (which is definitely going to hit three, and maybe four.)

After that I've already got the first 10k or so for book 11 in my longest-running series. I just don't seem to run out of ideas with that one, and the characters are like a comfy pair of slippers. By the end of each novel they're smouldering wrecks, mind you.

Then I've promised myself book three in my 'serious' space opera series. There's a ton of combat in those, which is very quick to write and just seems to flow onto the page. I doubt I'll write any more past book three.

After that it's book four in my female scifi cop series, with the rough plot and chapter 1 ready. Again, book four will probably be the last.

Book 12 in the Hal series, with 13 through 20 on the drawing board, lol. (They tend to 80k each, not exactly short!)

Finally, I'm planning a second trilogy in my comedy fantasy series (Dragon and Chips books 4-6)

If I write at this year's rate, excluding this week, that lot will take me until 2023. If I write at 2018 speed, they'll be done by November next year. If I write at the same pace I've managed these past two days, I could write 800,000 (all ten novels) in five months. And then have a nice memorial service for my wrists and fingers.

 

idontknowyet

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2020, 09:28:17 AM »
Box sets are gravy. I've done them for years. I don't include individual covers (file size!)

They're very attractive to the Bookbub folk. A massively-reduced 99c box set is popular with their subscribers.

It also makes writing a fourth book in a series economical, because there are now two routes to book 4. (Or book 7, or 10).  If someone buys the omnibus with 1-3 in it, book 4 is then available as a single title. Or they might work their way through books 1-3 individually before picking up book 4. Just make sure the box set includes a link to the next in series, whether that's a singleton or the next box set.

I recently published two five-book omnibus editions with books 1-5 and 6-10, giving me a third way to advertise the same books.



You can even have series pages for box sets.
Does that mean i can have multiple groupings for box sets???

Here's what I would like to do ideally.

I write in trilogies, so I would like to create a box set for each trilogy.
The main story line is going to be books 1-3, 4-6 and 14-16.  I would like to put these together into a box set.

Then i have a whole family storyline running through 7 books 1-3, 7-9,10.

Would i be allowed to create all three box sets?
 

Simon Haynes

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2020, 04:50:34 PM »
I believe so, but you need to obey any KU rules.  If you include a KU title in the box set, then you can't publish the box set wide.  (I used to have a box set where book one was wide and permafree, so the box set was exclusive to Amazon, but not in KU. Books 2 and 3 WERE in KU.)

But there doesn't appear to be an issue with slicing and dicing your works in different ways.  You won't get KU income for anything over 3000 pages though, and there was that kerfuffle a couple of years back where bad actors would put a new title at the back of a box set, meaning people had to 'read' - or jump - several thousand KU pages to get to it. I think that's been stamped out now.

* all of the above is based on hearsay and my own understanding of various situations. Don't quote me.

 
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Doglover

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2020, 11:36:55 PM »
Firstly, before I forget, doing a trilogy of paperbacks isn't possible; you would have to do it as one chunky great paperback. That's fine, except you can't have one book that is more than 1000 pages (kdp won't let you) and the price of that one book puts people off buying it.

As to boxed sets, I think it all depends on what you're planning. If you want to advertise on Facebook, I've found the boxed sets do a lot better than individual books. Amazon ads, on the other hand, don't seem to do so well, at least for me.


 
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Simon Haynes

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2020, 06:49:35 PM »
I don't mean to contradict but I have paperbacks for all my Omnibus editions aside from the new 5-book sets.

They have to be less than 760 pages I think, but I managed it.  I've sold some too, despite the price.

Bear in mind the price of the omnibus is less than the price of the three individual paperbacks it contains, and they get the short story/novella too which is not available in print.

I created the paperbacks by using 'live' imports of the export files from the individual paperbacks (yWriter) so the only effort was creating the frontmatter and putting together a cover of sorts.

 

Doglover

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2020, 06:54:00 PM »
I don't mean to contradict but I have paperbacks for all my Omnibus editions aside from the new 5-book sets.

They have to be less than 760 pages I think, but I managed it.  I've sold some too, despite the price.

Bear in mind the price of the omnibus is less than the price of the three individual paperbacks it contains, and they get the short story/novella too which is not available in print.

I created the paperbacks by using 'live' imports of the export files from the individual paperbacks (yWriter) so the only effort was creating the frontmatter and putting together a cover of sorts.
Yes, you can do it with one paperback for all of them. I did it for one of my trilogies, but I don't think it's been as popular as the individual paperbacks.
 

alhawke

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2020, 01:28:58 AM »
This is helpful, guys. I'll take a look at how you did your paperback series.

I was hoping for a way to sell paperbacks in a box, literally. There must be a way to do a "literal" series set in cardboard, but it's probably through some company outside of Ingram? Trad publishers have collections for sale on B&N and so forth. Maybe it's cost prohibitive?
 

RPatton

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2020, 04:34:52 AM »
This is helpful, guys. I'll take a look at how you did your paperback series.

I was hoping for a way to sell paperbacks in a box, literally. There must be a way to do a "literal" series set in cardboard, but it's probably through some company outside of Ingram? Trad publishers have collections for sale on B&N and so forth. Maybe it's cost prohibitive?

You'd probably have to go through an off-set printer. POD, by definition, isn't set up to build true box sets.
 
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alhawke

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2020, 06:31:39 AM »
Thanks, RPatton. That makes tons of sense.

You inspired me to look up non-POD options and I finally stumbled an informative article for those interested:

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2017/01/creating-print-book-box-set.html

Looks like omnibus package, like Doglover or Simon Haynes did, is the best option.
 

RPatton

Re: The Boxed Set, or box set, for a series
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2020, 08:16:17 AM »
Thanks, RPatton. That makes tons of sense.

You inspired me to look up non-POD options and I finally stumbled an informative article for those interested:

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2017/01/creating-print-book-box-set.html

Looks like omnibus package, like Doglover or Simon Haynes did, is the best option.

With what Ingram has been doing with hardcovers, they might figure out a way to do a modified box set. They've been super helpful with the flip-flopped back to back print book I want to try. (We have the PDF set, but working out how to create two books back to back so there are two fronts and the ends meet in the middle.