The box set I bought is themed around crime thrillers and murder mysteries. I’ll be reviewing it when I’ve worked my way through all 14 stories, which may take me some time. However, I thought I would use my blog this week to discuss some of the pro’s and con’s of getting one’s books published in a box set.
To take just one of the titles in the box set, the price would be £2.49 if I bought it by itself, though another title is actually available for free.
As the box set is themed, there is also the opportunity to find new writers in a genre that the reader already likes, and which will lead them to more of the author’s work. If a reader likes a book they’ve just read, they are more likely to take a chance on another by the same author.
On the downside, not all the books in the box set are of an equal standard. Given that the price is so low, this might not matter. If ten of the stories are good but four are a bit duff, the box set is still a bargain overall.
By piggybacking their work onto the work of better known authors, the undiscovered author may well find themselves new readers. It isn’t guaranteed, of course; nothing in life is, but the potential is there.
Once a book has been out for any length of time, it is likely that all the readers who are going to buy it will have bought it, so sales drop off to a low level. Including the book in a box set gives it a new lease of life by exposing it to a new readership who, if they like it, will seek out the author’s other work. It costs the author nothing as the book has already been written and paid for itself through its original sales, assuming there were any. Independent authors often give these older books away for free, or at very reduced prices, for exactly the same reasons.
However, there is also a downside. There is an old saying that if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas (dog lovers, please don’t e-mail me to tell me this isn’t true). So, if you are a well-respected writer and your work is included alongside some work of a lesser quality, there is a real possibility that your reputation may be tarnished as a consequence of the collaboration.
To use the example of the box set I am currently reading, it is clear that some of the authors may now be regretting allowing their books to be included. I wonder if they have actually read some of the books that their work is sitting alongside.
OK, we’re all human and the person that has never made a mistake has never made anything, but proof reading is an indispensable skill for the independent author. If an author can’t afford to pay a proof reader, then they have to be able to do it for themselves.
I hope I haven’t put anyone off buying box sets of books. I’m sure not all of them suffer in the same way as the one I am currently wading through. You will see from my review, when I publish it, that I have enjoyed some of the books it contains and I’m only half way through. Who knows what delights await.
But, as an author, if you have been approached to participate in a collaboration of this sort, take heed and at least read some of the other contributions before committing yourself. If the other books aren’t at least as good as yours, your reputation may suffer and reputations sell more books than good cover art or snappy blurbs.
As for my own work, I expect that one day there will be a Magi box set, a Warriors box set and an Inconvenience Store box set. But those are in the distant future, as two out of those three titles have yet to have enough stories written to make them worthy of the name of 'box set'. But, of course, you don’t have to wait for the box set, you can already buy the books that have been published, right now. To find out more, click on the “Books” tab at the top of the page.