Box sets have been a marketing staple in the publishing industry, but a lot of people are ready to call the technique dead and bury it. Queue the band and plan the funeral.
The opportunities presented by setting up a box set remain as numerous—and practical—as ever. The sets offer a chance to collaborate with other authors to reach a different group of readers.
In well run ventures, many hands mean a combined promotional effort that expands the reach of an individual. And on a practical level, the book is already written, so the set adds another potential income stream.
Genres sets tend to perform better than literary sets, especially if the books share a similar audience. Many of the current box sets share a theme, setting, or type of hero/heroine.
Does that mean you should dive into the next set you hear about?
From the author’s perspective, understand why you’re joining the set and who you’re teaming with. Are their readers potentially your readers? On a more personal level, will the other members of the team pull their weight and take responsibility for their marketing or preparation tasks? Other decisions include financial management of royalties and/or required buy-in of advertising dollars.
Let’s say you’ve considered the options and assembled a team, chosen a theme and established a time line. What’s not to like about this decision?
The biggest criticism of the box sets is the same disdain leveled at other forms of “cheap marketing”—i.e. free or very inexpensive books.
“They devalue the written word.”
“They’re destroying the industry.
Yeah, yeah, the sky is falling.
There’s also the naysayers’ claim the book hoarders simply snap up the inexpensive sets and place them on their e-reader, where they disappear among the pixels.
That may happen. But there are also readers who dip and sample through the set (or even better, voraciously read all the stories). And they just might tell their friends about a new –to-them author (you!).
Because word of mouth marketing is still the best kind.
I’m sure you’re surprised to hear I joined a box set that released this week. LUCK OF THE DRAW features thirteen brand new stories centered on a life-changing stroke of luck. (Special release week price at Amazon)
My contribution to the set is DOUBLE DOWN. Murder isn’t supposed to be in the cards for blackjack dealer Maddie Larsson. A single mom, struggling to make ends meet, dealing at the Tom Tom Casino pays better than anything else she’s currently qualified to do. Busted takes on a new meaning, however, when her favorite customer, a former Poker World Tour champion, is murdered. His family claims—loudly and often—that Maddie is a gold-digging murderer. She better prove she's on the level before the real killer cashes in her chips.
If the victim’s body had been dumped five hundred yards up the road, Franklin County Sheriff’s Detective JC Dimitrak wouldn’t have been assigned to the Tom Tom Casino murder case. Instead, he’s hunting for suspects and evidence while dealing with a nemesis from the past and trying to preserve his own future. He better play his cards correctly and find the killer before an innocent woman takes the ultimate hit.