Diane Capri, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of twelve #1 thriller/mystery/suspense books, explains how offering boxed sets can help you reach eager readers and open up opportunities to sell more self-published books beyond those boxed.
Readaholics love e-books. We can buy e-books any time, anywhere, and carry thousands of e-books along everywhere we go. One of the most convenient ways to buy and read e-books is boxed sets. Boxed set readers are a smaller market segment than the number of readers who prefer to buy books individually. But these are power readers who read lots of books every month.
An e-book boxed set is really one large file containing several books. Readers who enjoy serial novels or books in a series can read each story immediately and in order. Multi-genre and multi-author boxed sets bring readers entire new worlds all in one convenient place. As a bonus, boxed sets are cheaper than buying each book separately. One download. One price point. One long lovely read. What’s not to like?
As authors, we should embrace boxed sets because power readers love them.
How I Use Boxed Sets for My Books
My mystery/thriller/suspense fiction has been available as individual books and as boxed sets since 2012. Sales of the sets are much lower volume than my individual titles. Currently, I offer twelve books and seven boxed sets. Five sets contain my titles only. Two sets combine my books with titles by other authors. Pricing varies.
Feedback from power readers has been extremely positive, which is reason enough to offer sets. But boxed sets present several more opportunities for authors and readers alike. So much so that my personal experience led me to spearhead a multi-author boxed set presented by our author collective.
Boxed Sets for Collectives
The Twelve are experienced authors who work together on common projects. Our members are J. Carson Black, Cheryl Bradshaw, M.A. Comley, Joshua Graham, Alan Leverone, Carol Davis Luce, Aaron Patterson, J.F. Penn, Linda S. Prather, Michele Scott, Vincent Zandri, and me, Diane Capri.
We combined some of our best and most popular work in a limited release boxed set we offered as a reader reward we called Deadly Dozen presented by The Twelve.
Deadly Dozen was published by Steel Magnolia Press and shepherded through the marketing morass expertly by Phoenix Sullivan.
The Twelve, Deadly Dozen, and Phoenix Sullivan proved to be a winning combination for readers, writers, and publishers alike. Deadly Dozen quickly sold more than 50,000 copies and is still going strong.
Reader response catapulted Deadly Dozen onto three New York Times Bestseller lists and four USA Today Bestseller lists, as well as online bestseller lists at Amazon (.com, UK, and CA), iBooks (worldwide), Nook, Kobo, IndieReader, and more.
We are all thrilled and amazed and extremely grateful for the astonishing results, which exceeded our wildest expectations.
Helpful Lessons from the Deadly Dozen
Can The Twelve catch lightning in a bottle again? Who knows? But here’s what we learned from Deadly Dozen:
1) Give Readers What They Want
We created Deadly Dozen with readers as our top priority. We packaged an incredible value. 12 Books from The Twelve at 99 cents. We did everything possible to offer Deadly Dozen everywhere. Our goal was to make sure everyone who wanted an electronic copy of Deadly Dozen had the opportunity to pick one up with no friction whatsoever.
2) Be Inclusive Not Exclusive
We often speak of reaching readers as if readers were a homogenous group. But reader preferences vary widely. Some will read only tree books and one regret we have is that we couldn’t make Deadly Dozen available in paper. e-Book readers are intensely loyal to their format of choice: Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, and Nook have their devoted fans. e-Book reader preferences don't end there. We located and served as many preferences as we could.
3) Be Generous
Authors have asked me how my reduced price boxed sets can benefit an author. Aren't we authors better off selling a reader six books individually at regular prices instead of two reduced price volumes at cheaper prices? Since the success of Deadly Dozen, industry professionals are asking how The Twelve can possibly afford to sell 12 books for 99c, or a profit per author of three cents each.
The answer for both single-author boxed sets and multi-author sets is the same. Our goals are to reward our loyal readers and find new loyal readers for our work. I believe we do that best when we serve readers’ best interests. Readers appreciate our attention to their needs.
When authors offer both individual books and boxed sets, we serve reader preferences. The happy paradox has been that individual book buyers and power readers can be two different audiences and one does not adversely impact the other. Instead of costing authors money in lost individual sales, boxed sets usually have the positive result of generating additional revenue when the new readers buy our other books, along with creating more satisfied readers who know we are putting them first. Everybody wins.
Have you tried offering your work in boxed sets? What results have you experienced? Have you read boxed sets? What do you love about buying books in sets?
Like to share this helpful information with other author friends? Here's our suggested tweet to make it easier:
“How to use #BoxedSets to sell more books: http://wp.me/p44e6Y-1HM with @DianeCapri via @IndieAuthorAlli”