If you have written a trilogy or series of novels – even if they are only in ebook form – you might consider offering them as a box set. The convenience of a box set is that your reader can get a collection of your short stories or trilogy together, usually at a discounted price. Last week, I released The Elemental trilogy as a box set. While putting it together, I learned a few things that I thought I would pass along.
Readers are going to expect some sort of price discount if they buy a box set. But the price you set for your book – and your box set – is of course a personal one. Here are a few things I noted when looking into offering a box set.
Short Stories – often I saw three or four boxed together, and the price was equivalent to getting one free. So four short stories that sell for 99 cents each would be bundled together and sold for $2.99.
Series/Trilogy – Here is where I saw the biggest range of pricing. You would see three books offered for anywhere from $4.99 to $7.99 when the books separately cost about $2.99 or $3.99. I even saw an eight book series offered for $9.99 – that’s only $1.25 a book! I am sure readers would find that a great deal.
Each of my novels sells for $2.99 individually. I decided to go with $5.99 for the set which is almost a $3 savings for readers.
I would say that most authors had artwork that looked like a box set – sort of 3D looking such as mine above – where you have a front and then see the spines of the other books. Or if you have a four book set, you could lay them out like the set by Kristen James on the right.
By looking at the sample chapters on Amazon, I noted about half of the authors include the individual book covers as part of the e-book. I choose to do this for mine. After the box set title page and table of contents, you see the cover for Summoned and then its title page and other front matter just as if you had bought the book individually. When Summoned ends, you have the cover for Quietus and its title page and front matter and of course the same when you reach Destiny.
Again, here I saw different things – anywhere from a simple list of the books included in the box set to a complete description of each book. I think you need to include the book descriptions here as readers may not know anything about the stories in the set.
Now with Smashwords you only get 400 characters for the short description (you get 4000 characters on the long description) so you will either only be able to list the books or need to come up with a one or two sentence blurb for the whole trilogy or a short sales pitch if you are combining unrelated short stories.
One thing I think is essential in a box set is that you need to have a table of contents. You want to make it easy for your readers to get to the second book without having to scroll through the first if they have already read that book. I would say about half the books I looked at included a clickable table of contents.
Here is how my box set goes.
Box set title page
Table of Contents – the three books and About the Author
Book 1 cover
Book 1 title page/copyright/dedication
Book 1 content
Book 2 cover
Book 2 title page/copyright
Book 3 cover
Book 3 title page/copyright
Book 3 content
About the Author
If you like adding table of contents for each of your novels, you could add one after the title page for each novel.
Overall, I think offering a box set provides a great option for your readers even if you only decide to knock off a little off the price verses offering the books individually.