Offering your novels or short stories as a box set

This post is the fifty-eighth post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

One way to increase sales of your books and increase your fan base is to offer your books as a bundle, or if you wrote a series to offer them in a boxed set. This applies no matter if you published a print or e-book version of your novel.

An e-book bundle or box set is simply multiple books offered together. It is one download and payment for a reader followed by hours of enjoyment. This ensures readers of a se

ries can read each story in order (and immediately). And usually because the books are offered at a lower price than buying them individually, book lovers are getting a bargain. And who doesn’t love a bargain?

It cost you, the author, next to nothing to offer your e-books as a box set or bundle. You simply create a file with all the books and then create a picture of a virtual box, and add it to your usual distributor websites with an appropriate blurb and price.

Box Set – One Author

You don’t have to have written a trilogy or series to have a box set. You can make a bundle out of any of your novels. This especially works well if they have a similar theme (small-town romances) or are the same genre (mysteries).

Box Set – Multiple Authors

It just doesn’t have to be your novels in a box set. You can get authors which write in the same genre together. Or you can have all women authors but different genres. Or perhaps there is something else that ties your novels together such as they are all second-chance romances or all have a dog as a character.

These multi-author sets bring readers entire new worlds in one convenient package. It is just a matter of getting some other authors to go in with you on a set. You will then have to work out how you will promote it and how profit will be distributed, but these are small issues compared to the amount of exposure it can bring you as an author.

Cover Art

I would say that most authors had artwork that looked like a box set – sort of 3D looking where you have a front and then see the spines of the other books. (See my box set image at top of post.) Or if you have a four-book set, you could lay them out like the set by Kristen James on the right.

Smashwords would not accept a 3D image so I had to create this one to be in their Premier catalog.

Pricing

Readers typically expect some sort of price discount if they buy a box set or bundle. Basically, plan to knock off several dollars off what it would cost if they bought the books individually. On my box set for my trilogy, I reduced the price by $1 per book. So Summoned costs $2.99 (as do Quietus and Destiny), but you can get the box set for $5.99.

No matter how you do it – your books, your series, a collection of books from various authors – a box set or bundle is an excellent sales tool that every author with more than one book to their name should consider.

 

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

#57 – Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

 

To get a hamster or not is the question

Image result for hamsterLexie wants a hamster. I don’t know what brought that on, but she won’t let this go even after I told her there were three problems with a hamster. Their names are Nikki, Spooky and Tails. Ok, so Tails isn’t much of a hunter, but the other two cats certainly are.

Hamsters and cats don’t mix.

I know this because as a child, our family cat killed the class hamster that my family was watching over Christmas break.

Image result for cat huntingCats are hunters. Our cats bring in lizards, snakes, birds and even mice. Some of these creatures are dead but some are alive…but not for long if I don’t intervene.

We explained all this to Lexie, but she still wants a hamster. She insists that the two can exist together. But Nikki loves her. Nikki sleeps in her bed. Nikki would be a threat to her new pet.

So, we said no to the hamster. But anyone who knows Lexie knows she won’t give up that easy. Every few days she would ask. And we said no hamster each and every time.

I didn’t think Lexie even knew what having a hamster meant. Did she know how to take care of one? I told Lexie that if she was serious about a hamster, she needed to research them. I thought the idea would discourage her.

It didn’t.

Lexie asked to go to the library to get a book on hamsters. When there wasn’t one in the children’s section, she got the only one from the adult section. And she read it. Sure, she had to ask about a few of the words, but she read up on what type of hamster would be best. She read about their care.

And she did something we weren’t expecting. She decided that to get a hamster, she needed to be responsible. She began setting her alarm. She got up on her own and was dressed and ready for school. Ok, that only lasted the first week. But she still sets her alarm and sometimes gets up without me going in there over and over until she wakes up. And she works hard to get her homework done and make it to her activities on time.

She seems like a totally different child. Oh, she still drives me crazy, but she is trying to be good. She is trying so hard that she has burst into tears when she forgets something or something goes wrong. She worries that that one act will be the deciding factor on whether she gets a hamster or not.

So, now my husband and I are thinking hamster…well, maybe. But the more she tries, the more we consider it. I still think if we get her a hamster that the cats will kill it, but Lexie seems fine taking that chance.

BLOOD BOND is #FREE – Check out an #excerpt of this #fantasy #novel

Today is Friday, and while I sometime host a guest author, I didn’t have one lined up for today. (Any authors who want to be featured, check out this post.) Since my book is FREE until tomorrow (October 13), I thought I would share an excerpt. You can pick up your copy of Blood Bond on Amazon.

Excerpt

As Soren walked, he noticed a brown dragon sitting apart from the others. The last time he had seen Barth was when the dragon had thrown him off his back before Blinking. Remembering that horrible feeling of falling, he clinched his fist and stalked over to the brown dragon. Barth regarded him coolly as he approached.

“You! What the…why did you do that?”

“You were making a mistake,” Barth said, calmly.

Soren paced in front of him, waving his hands as he spoke. “You couldn’t have told me that and then landed? Instead, you threw me off your back while we were in the air! I could have been killed!”

“And yet, here you are.”

Soren took a deep breath and another. “What if Dex didn’t save me?”

“Then neither of you would have had to worry about the Blood Bond,” Barth said with amusement in his voice. His eyes focused on Soren and when he continued, he tone was serious. “You and Reddex share a Bond that is stronger than any I have seen. I knew he would save you, just as I knew you were acting out of anger. It would have been a mistake for you to leave. Do you regret choosing to stay with him?”

“No.” Soren sighed. “I don’t regret it.”

“Well, there you are. Perhaps you should be thanking me instead of being angry.”

Soren threw his hands up in the air and stalked away. Now he was more annoyed than he had been after dealing with the General. He didn’t want to return to Camden. He needed to work out his frustrations. He spied a rake leaning against a nearby building. Grabbing it, he returned to the place where Dex had originally landed. Though the dragon never complained about sleeping on the rough ground, Soren began clearing the area of rocks. Dex would probably point out he had been sleeping on them for the past week without a problem, but he needed something to do and removing the rocks and sticks, so they didn’t jab the dragon as he slept seemed the perfect distraction. As he worked, he considered erecting a tent nearby but dismissed the idea. He knew he too would probably be sleeping on the ground. He had become accustomed to sleeping against Dex. He found he slept better that way.

As he continued to clear the area, sweat dripped down his face. The manual labor felt good. What felt even better was to be out of the city. There was no chance he would be bombarded with questions out here or that anyone would doubt his observations. His thoughts went back to his report on the advancing army. He knew what he had seen. The cloaked figure was a woman.

“What are you doing here?”

Soren froze at the sound of a voice he hadn’t heard in years. His hands gripped the rake handle until his knuckles were white. He turned slowly. The man stood with a saddle thrown over one shoulder. His hair and beard were streaked with grey. A brown leather apron covered his clothes. The look of disgust on the man’s face was one he had seen thousands of times.

“Hello, father.”

His father dropped the saddle to the ground and took a step toward him. “I might expect to see Jerrick here but not you.”

His father could always tell them apart. He didn’t move as his father approached. He saw his father’s eyes travel down his face to the mark on his neck.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing.”

Soren didn’t see the fist coming. It slammed into his jaw. Pain exploded across his face. He fell to the ground. He lay on his back, slowly bringing his hand to his mouth. He wiped away the blood. Anger coursed through him, and distantly he heard Dex calling to him.

“You don’t speak to me like that.” His father placed his foot on Soren’s shoulder, pressing down until he had him pinned to the ground. He leaned over him, applying a little pressure. “The mark?”

Soren grunted as his father increased the pressure. “It’s so they can tell Jerrick and I apart.”

“They?”

“The King, his men.”

“Ah. I see.” His father glanced up, his eyes widening.

Soren heard the wings. The ground shook as Dex landed. His father took a step back, releasing the pressure on Soren’s shoulder. He backed away as the red dragon advanced. Soren climbed to his feet, placing his hand on Dex’s flank. His father’s eyes flickered to him.

“You don’t belong here,” his father said. “Nothing good will come of this. And soon you will be the cause of another death, and they’ll know it.”

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon who saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s dragon blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

***

You can read the first chapter here or another exciting excerpt here. Or stop reading snippets and get the whole book here on Amazon – for FREE through 10/13.

 

Using a Book Trailer to promote your novel

This post is the fifty-seventh post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Last week, I wrote about buying an advertisement to sell your book. Another method of advertising is to create a book trailer for your novel.

A book trailer is a short commercial used to whet the audience’s appetite. It should capture the tone and message of your book. And most importantly, it should make the viewer want to go out and buy your book.

Now depending on who you ask, book trailers are either a great marketing tool or a complete waste of time and money. On one hand, videos generate a lot of online traffic. Reports show 78% of people watch online videos each week. Studies also show people recall six times more information from video than text. But there are no stats to prove that book trailers sell books.

I first wrote about book trailers back in 2012 when I created one for my book Summoned. Back then, many trailers were simply a collection of still shots set to music. For someone on a tight budget such as myself, this was an easy option. The total out-of-pocket expense for my trailer – including paying for the music – was $25. (You can check out my post here.)

Nowadays, those with a bigger budget are going all out – hiring actors and voiceover artists. But few of us Indie Authors can afford that type of expense. I know I certainly can’t afford a CGI team to create a dragon for my trailers.

If you don’t have a big budget, you might be able to find some aspiring film directors at the local college who might take on your project. Or you have to do what you can afford – hiring someone to create a trailer or doing it yourself as I did back in 2012. (You can see my trailer here.) I will say that even going the still photo route is hard for authors of fantasy and science fiction as it is hard to find appropriate stock photos and footage.

Another option would be to film yourself talking about your book and telling the world who you are. This is a good choice for non-fiction writers.

No matter which way you decide to go – high tech or simple, do-it-yourself or professional – here are some tips.

Length

Good trailers are short – typically under two minutes.

Call to Action

The reason many book trailers don’t work is because they don’t compel the reader into action. They are not supposed to be a retelling of your story but should grab the viewer’s attention and excite or intrigue them, so they rush to buy your book. A well-made book trailer should end with an image of the book, title, author, and availability.

Visibility

A good trailer does nothing if not seen by potential readers. This is one of the biggest problems with book trailers. It must reach the correct viewers. You can post it on YouTube, Facebook, your own website, Bookreel.com, or Trailershelf.com and others. But just because your trailer is being viewed, there is no guarantee that those viewers are members of your target market. There is no guarantee those viewers are even readers.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

#51 – Finding your Book’s Target Market

#52 – The importance of Book Reviews and how to get them

#53 – Is it worth it to offer your book for free?

#54 – My results from offering my novels for free

#55 – Amzon’s Kindle Countdown Deals explained and my results

#56 – Selling your book through book ads

#Free eBook Alert – BLOOD BOND is free 10/9 to 10/13

From Tuesday, October 9 thru Saturday, October 13, you can download my fantasy novel, Blood Bond, for FREE!

Available only at Amazon.

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. Download the Kindle App for free here.

Blood Bond: Book Description

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon that saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

 

Download Blood Bond for FREE here.