Author Topic: [UPDATE] Worth having a boxset?  (Read 1264 times)  

Offline jm2019

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[UPDATE] Worth having a boxset?
« on: July 03, 2020, 01:43:04 pm »
Update in Reply #21

Wanted to get some opinions on those who have boxsets on the benefits and whether it makes a real difference.

I have a 4-book series. There can be more, but not until next year. The 4 make a logical grouping.

On my site, I give links to individual books, and also to the series page on US and UK. However, as we know, the series page costs the same as sum of the 4.

Many readers go to the series page from my site (I can track the clicks), and I am surprised that many buy the series outright. I never thought that happened, but it does (a great thing to be wrong about :) ). Now, I'm wondering if I should offer a single book which is all 4 in one, at maybe a 25% discount total. Perhaps that would entice more people to just go with it than try one by one.

Would love some opinions on the idea, how it worked out for you and any tips on the approach because I have no idea.

PS - I'm only on Amazon and don't intend to go wide in the near future. I am enrolled in KU so offering the set on my site is not an option at the moment.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 06:39:18 pm by jm2019 »

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    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #1 on: July 03, 2020, 07:39:49 pm »
    In my experience a box set is far more valuable than the sum of its parts, especially so if you're in KU. A lot of readers are far more inclined to keep on reading when the next book is literally a page-turn away.

    It's also much easier to get a Bookbub for a box set.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #2 on: July 03, 2020, 09:13:03 pm »
    Shane,

    That's really good to hear. I see that you have a boxset that's < $ than the sum of its parts.  Do a lot of your buyers just go with the boxset?

    I'm really inclined to go this route based on your response. When I saw no one was responding I was wondering if something was wrong with my q or if people just don't do it enough... but looks like it might be a good approach.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #3 on: July 04, 2020, 12:14:03 am »
    Four is ideal; you can sell at a cheaper price than the individual books and if it's not too long, you might even have a print version as well. I have complaints that they can't buy my boxset in paperback and I have to then direct them to the individual books.

    Also, I have found if you are advertising, especially on Facebook, you will likely have more success with boxed sets. It's always worth an extra option, KU page reads turn out the same earnings as the book sale (more or less) and it's a whole new book to go in the new releases.

    What's not to like?   ;D


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    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #4 on: July 04, 2020, 03:05:07 am »
    Shane,

    That's really good to hear. I see that you have a boxset that's < $ than the sum of its parts.  Do a lot of your buyers just go with the boxset?

    I'm really inclined to go this route based on your response. When I saw no one was responding I was wondering if something was wrong with my q or if people just don't do it enough... but looks like it might be a good approach.

    I still get people who read the books individually, but the majority go with the box set. For example in May (I did a box set promo in June so the stats would be off) if I collate sales and KU borrows, I had 73 buys/borrows spread out across the series, whereas the box set had 31, which multiplied by the 6 books is 186.

    Theoretically this "costs" me because my cut of $6.66 from a box set of $9.99, or the $12 I get from a KU read (it's slightly over the 3,000 word cap), is less than what I'd make if somebody bought all individual books. But it's the same principle as putting books on sale: you'd rather shift more total units for a slightly lower price, than fewer units for a higher price.

    But also a significant amount of my success can be attributed to Bookbub. I released the box set after the series was done to very little traction - I think six months later I was averaging a couple hundred bucks profit a month. Then I got a Bookbub and made $1,600 in the remaining week of that month, and $4,000 in the following month. That was two years ago and I've never made less than $500 a month since then, which pays my rent. I don't think that would have happened without that Bookbub, and several subsequent Bookbubs. I've never got one for an individual book, just for a hugely discounted box set.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline notjohn

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #5 on: July 04, 2020, 03:06:37 am »
    I've found it works better in print than as an ebook, but I write mostly non-fiction (much of it short, so the omnibus is actually book-length, say 250 pages). The print version is $12.95. The ebook is $4.99, whereas each of the five components is $2.99, yet people persist in buying the individual books, even though they get five cheaper than they would get two.

    Among the successful authors doing this, whose books I have read, the omnibus contains four novels, and are titled with the series name, followed by Volume One, Volume Two, etc. OKAY, I'M WRONG. I see that the Michael Connolley series consists of three novels with each title shown: The Harry Bosch Novels: The Black Echo, The Black Ice, The Concrete Blonde.

    Such books are more cheaply done than the individual titles, so I'd go 6x9 inches and 11 point type, maybe even 10 point, and I'd crowd the pages a bit, maybe even start a new chapter on the ending page of the previous chapter if there were a sufficient gap and a sufficient number of lines of the new chapter.

    Note that Amazon won't let you call it a "boxed set" because -- there's no box!
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    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #6 on: July 04, 2020, 06:37:08 am »
    Thank you all, this is really helpful. I'll go with a "series-set" :) then and report back with results!

    @doglover and @notjohn - I don't think print is a viable option for me, because each of my novels is between 380-460 pages. Unless you think that's not an issue...?

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #7 on: July 04, 2020, 09:02:07 am »
    Thank you all, this is really helpful. I'll go with a "series-set" :) then and report back with results!

    @doglover and @notjohn - I don't think print is a viable option for me, because each of my novels is between 380-460 pages. Unless you think that's not an issue...?
    I tried to do a print version of my six book series but it was too long at over 1000 pages. I think they said that was the maximum.


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    Offline I am a unicorn

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #8 on: July 04, 2020, 09:51:19 am »
    I was thinking of making my series a boxset maybe in November or December because I remember reading that it was like having a new release. Does anyone know what a typical price is for a box set?

    Offline chrisstevenson

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #9 on: July 04, 2020, 11:55:04 am »
    I'm hoping that my trilogy can become a small boxed set and I can work up some deals on it. I do agree that four books seems to be a nice sweet spot. My books are also stand-alones, so I think I have that aspect covered.
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    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #10 on: July 04, 2020, 12:19:44 pm »
    @Shane - your stats are very helpful. Thank you. I intend to apply for my first Bookbub probably early 2021, at which point I will have this series + a new trilogy.

    @Unicorn - It seems that the series/boxset $ is whatever discount you apply on your sum of individuals. In my case, the full cost of the series is ~21$, and I intend to do maybe a ~30% discount (not decided) and sell at 14.99.

    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #11 on: July 04, 2020, 06:22:54 pm »
    @Shane - your stats are very helpful. Thank you. I intend to apply for my first Bookbub probably early 2021, at which point I will have this series + a new trilogy.

    If you already have a book out and it's more than 150 pages there's no reason not to start applying now. My rejection rate hovers around 90% (everybody's does, I think) but you don't stand to lose anything. I have an alert go off on my phone every month when I'm eligible to apply again.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline Crystal_

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #12 on: July 04, 2020, 06:44:39 pm »
    I've had mixed results with box sets. They can make a lot of money, but they can also cannibalize sales of the books inside them.

    If you're up for the risk, I'd try the box set. You may sell a lot, get a Book Bub, attract a new type of reader, etc.

    The downside is you may make less money overall, but you can always unpublish the box if it's cutting into your sales.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #13 on: July 04, 2020, 08:50:42 pm »
    @Shane - ah, I get it. I'll turn my attention to Bookbub soon.

    @_Crystal - I'll keep a close eye on the sales. I don't intend to deep-discount the series, so at a minimum the same folks buying the series now will continue to, but the point some of posters made about KU is a great one. If I can get the KU readers to keep reading, that alone would be excellent. I'll come back and post results in a few weeks after a trial run.

    Edit: I found out that the box set can be at most $9.99 - which is a bit of a bummer because my full series price is ~$21, so this is like a 50%+ discount. I was hoping to go at $14.99, but I will go this route and see how it works out. I don't like pricing too low, but I do like the idea of having the books in more people's hands.
    « Last Edit: July 04, 2020, 10:47:08 pm by jm2019 »

    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #14 on: July 04, 2020, 11:03:44 pm »

    Edit: I found out that the box set can be at most $9.99 - which is a bit of a bummer because my full series price is ~$21, so this is like a 50%+ discount. I was hoping to go at $14.99, but I will go this route and see how it works out. I don't like pricing too low, but I do like the idea of having the books in more people's hands.

    Rather than do a deep discount, you could make it a 3 book box set, esp if you're planning to write more books in the series. I'd do that, then if you do a big promotion, eg. get a bookbub deal, put up the books you intend releasing next year up for preorder.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #15 on: July 04, 2020, 11:11:29 pm »

    It seems that the series/boxset $ is whatever discount you apply on your sum of individuals. In my case, the full cost of the series is ~21$, and I intend to do maybe a ~30% discount (not decided) and sell at 14.99.
    But you can't charge more than $9.99 on Amazon and still claim 70% royalty. Any more than that and it goes down to 35%. That's why my six book series is 9.99


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    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #16 on: July 05, 2020, 06:45:39 am »
    @doglover - yes, I realized that too (see my edit in above post). A bit bummed, but maybe that is what is needed to force me to try a lower price.

    @kathrynoh - I thought a lot about splitting it - for e.g., 2 x 2 sets, or first book not in set but 2 - 4, or maybe 1 -3 and 4 standalone... but I wonder if it'll make for a poor buyer's experience. I feel like a series should be a set, unless it's like a 10-book series. Splitting at a 4-book feels forced, unless others have done it and know that buyers won't like it. My comment's coming from a place of ignorance because I've never done this before :) So I am kind of struggling... but nothing is lost giving the full set a try and seeing what happens.


    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #17 on: July 05, 2020, 08:38:13 am »
    If it is in KU, you'll get more for page reads if it's long enough. My six book set (see in signature) does really well and although it's only 9.99, a couple of the individual books don't get sold or borrowed on their own. I like the whole lot to be read because they connect together, so I'm willing to take the cut and since they add up to over 1000 pages, the KU payout is quite good.


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    Offline edipet

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #18 on: July 07, 2020, 01:21:10 pm »
    I have 3 box-sets. One mystery thrillers series, One for romantic fantasy and one for my sci-fi.
    They're priced between 3.99 and 5.99 - NEVER higher. If anyone out there actually sells a box-set for its full price - say, 9.99 or even 5.99, then you're a fortune's child.
    I promote each of them once a month (rotating them), at 0.99 and then I get real sales. Between 25-and-up-to-100 copies sold - BUT at 0.99 cents. In my experience, box-sets seldom sell for a full price. If anything, box-sets signify to the readers that, hey, it's going to be offered at much less than if I had to - say - buy each of the 3 books in the set separately. Meaning - when promoting ur box-set, do not promote ANY of the books in it, that week or even two weeks. It'll be counter-productive.

    If you promote your box-set once every 4 months-it'll do relatively well. If more often - it won't.
    Box-sets are very expensive to put out there. Ur formatter has to do the job of formatting all over again - it's not a simple splice of 3 books; there's chapters and a lot more involved in formatting. You need a new cover designed - preferably 3-D to show it's a boxset, though you will need a 'flat' as well for promo sites that don't accommodate 3D features. Don't expect to recover the cost. Ur readers really expect to get it cheaper than the single-volume books.

    Amazon will let you price it at whatever you want. They know you won't get that 70% royalty - not much of it anyway; that's  why they don't worry about getting their 'smaller' slice of the pie at 30%. They know you will be pressed, one way or another, to discount that boxset to 0.99 and produce decent sales - in which case, Amazon will reap their 0.65% royalty from decent sales, and keep laughing; while you wallow down there in the 35% dust.

    If ur experimenting, produce one boxset. Then spend a year tracking your expenses and your sales - royalties. Then decide if you want to continue going 'box-set' route or not. I've one in each genre that I care to get out there. I own't be doing more any time soon. It's all a learning experience. Writing, publishing, and marketing.


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    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #19 on: July 07, 2020, 01:27:17 pm »
    Thank you for sharing your experiences @edipet. I am experimenting with 1 boxset at the moment. I have a system that makes it quite simple to create boxsets so I got that covered. The question is how it will sell. My boxset is at full price, and it's been only a day it's out and not disappointing so far (the 3-book set is still at close to 50% off from its regular price). I will report back perhaps in a few weeks on what I learned and what I'm tweaking.

    Offline aimeeeasterling

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #20 on: July 08, 2020, 04:59:17 am »
    I'm wide, so some of this might not be relevant to those in KU. But I love box sets for:
    • Kobo 40% off sales. This is often my biggest reason for putting out a new box set since these sales are good for a dependable $100 or so per month.
    • Bookbub 99 cent sales. I usually try to do this right at the launch of a new box set and can count on about $1,000 boost over the course of the next month. Bookbub is more likely to take a 99 cent box set than anything else.
    • Audio. On Audible, especially, box sets do great because listeners get the whole series for a single credit.
    • Facebook ads. I haven't done PPC in a while, but when I did I had the most success sending people to box sets.
    • Reaching a slightly different audience. Some people just like box sets.
    • Your kboards signature. You start running out of room after a while, which is when box sets come in handy.  :)
    • Low-risk method of trying a different type of cover. Recovering a whole series is pricey, but a box set is a low-cost way of testing whether your book does well in a slightly different niche.

    All of that said, I do feel like box sets cannabilize the individual books to some extent. I wait until the first rush of buying fades before putting one out, which could be anytime between 3 months and 18 months after the last book comes out.
    « Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 05:01:36 am by aimeeeasterling »

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    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #21 on: August 10, 2020, 06:38:03 pm »
    So, here's the update on my boxset experimentation:

    Context:

    I have a series of 4-books. Each is $4.99, the last is $5.99. I am generally averse to low cost promos or pricing too low.

    What I did:


    I created a boxset for the first three and released it at $9.99. The 4th book remains a standalone, and anyone finishing the series can buy it at $5.99.

    Results:

    For sure, some of my standalone first book sales have been converted to boxset sales, increasing my daily revenue. Not just that, just as some of you suggested, my KU reads shot up (2x my previous averages). Overall, the release of the boxset moved my margin averages ((royalty - ad costs)/ad costs) from 30 to nearly 50%, which is healthy given my genre is not the most popular, I'm a relatively new author (1 year), and I have only 4 books.

    The efforts have also helped move up my royalties rapidly helping cross and grow the four-figure per month mark I crossed 3 months ago. I have a pretty robust sell-through and consistently sell book-4.

    Edit: The boxset is nearly a thousand pages, which means the KU royalty I make is close to the sale royalty, which works great for me.

    What next?


    I intend to leave my current Facebook ads and boxsets as is as it's working well (for me). My daily sales have been remarkably stable. My plan next is to figure out how to grow my mailing list, bring in more non-ad based sales (challenging), and amortize my ad costs over more books (a trilogy in the works for later this year) to improve margin while also growing royalties.

    I never thought I'd reach this stage, but a lot of it is due to all the input and suggestions in this board. Thanks once again.

    « Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 06:41:15 pm by jm2019 »

    Offline ShaneCarrow

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    Re: Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 02:19:26 am »
    They're priced between 3.99 and 5.99 - NEVER higher. If anyone out there actually sells a box-set for its full price - say, 9.99 or even 5.99, then you're a fortune's child.

    Surely it depends on the box set. I sell plenty (though get more from KU) of my $9.99 box set, but that's a 6-book series of 3,000+ Kindle pages. I can imagine I'd be selling fewer if it was a 3-book series of 500 pages.

    Shane Carrow

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: [UPDATE] Worth having a boxset?
    « Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 08:25:29 am »
    I think the box set works really well as a concept.

    You can reinvent your brand and have credibility rather than struggling to go one at a time. I think the key is the cover!

    Mark

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