Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are Box Sets a Good Idea for Series Authors?

The Steve Dancy Box Set
Many series authors issue box sets, including me. A box set includes multiple e-books presented as a collection. I was asked about the profitability of box sets at the Tucson Festival of Books. Not having kept close track, I gave a weak answer. Now that I have my spreadsheets in front of me, I can say categorically that my wishy-washy answer was probably not wishy-washy enough.

The Steve Dancy Box Set includes the first three novels in the series for $9.99. If bought individually, The Shopkeeper, Leadville, and Murder at Thumb Butte would cost $12.97, so the collection is offered at a 23% discount. Since introduction, I've sold over 300 of these sets.

What does this mean? The royalties for these sales are welcome, but short of what I need for my dream house in the Hamptons. I’d be disappointed, but I didn’t issue a box set for the direct income. I wanted to draw new readers into the series. The Shopkeeper was published over six years ago, so anyone coming into the series this late would be a new reader, and hopefully they’ll become a fan who would buy the more recent books.

Will 300 make a big difference? Who knows? But, I don’t think of it as only 300. I believe word-of-mouth is the paramount sales tool for books. After reading three Steve Dancy novels in a row, these happy readers will likely tell their friends, family and neighbors about the books. Three hundred new sales people is well worth the minor effort of putting together a box set.

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