As many of you will know, the “indie” (independent) publishing world is very co-operative, very inclusive and very helpful. I belong to a marvellous organisation called ALLi (sounds like “ally” and it’s the Alliance of Independent Authors) and their members’ forum on Facebook is the place to go with all manner of writerly and self-publisher-ly queries. The joy is being able to follow in successful footsteps of those who have gone before, and it is in that spirit that I have created my first box set of Sam books.
Before you get too excited, I should clarify that it is an e-box set of e-books – nothing physical here. The idea is that readers of series really like series, and box sets appeal to them. If you set the price right it can represent a saving on buying individual titles – and readers do love a bargain. And if your series is longer than the box set, you are encouraging people to persevere further into the series.
As for how much work is involved, it’s not too onerous. Obviously you have to create a single file out of the separate book files – for me, this was a fairly simple cut and paste exercise, with a bit of jigging to create one glossary out of two. You then have to put an overall title at the beginning; in my case, I went for the rather predictable “The Sam Plank Mysteries Box Set One: Books 1-3”, with the three separate titles listed below. (I said “Box Set One” in case I decide to do another one with later titles.) And then I put bookmarks and hyperlinks into this title so that people can jump straight to the book they want – although I imagine that most people will read straight through, and the Kindle keeps your place.
Then there’s the cover. I did contact my cover designer to ask about cost but decided that I could do something myself that is just good enough. After all, the individual covers are eye-catching and beautiful, so I simply created a single image out of the three covers. I have no talent at all for design, so I went to the ALLi forum and put up two different options for the cover – and people very kindly suggested various improvements (including having the faces looking at each other instead of turned away, although I do worry that the yellow fellow is now staring rather too appreciatively at the red girl). And here it is:
With combined interior file ready and cover assembled, all I had to do was upload them to KDP – and decide on the price. The total price of buying the first three Sam books in Kindle version is £9.97 so I priced the box set at £5.99 – in effect, people get the third book free. I uploaded it yesterday, and so far I have sold one. As ever, I’ll keep you posted.