The collections are everywhere. Some center on a holiday, a theme, the hero/heroine's profession. Others are linked more loosely. But they fill the Top 100 ranks of more than one genre category.
Some people decry them as yet another devaluation of the author’s material. This same argument, of course, was applied to the free book and is now targeted at the 99-cent price point. There is a valid point, that people who expect “free” aren't going to buy subsequent books, but over the past year, as the algorithms at Amazon moved away from counting free downloads and the “free days” offered less bounce, fewer people gave away books. And readers moved to the “new” darling, the 99-cent book.
Now the hot marketing device seems to be a collection of novels/novellas. While bundled products, buy-one-get-one-free, and other promotions have been around for ages, the collections are everywhere. The driving force, of course, is to obtain new readers. If author X has a story in the set, the reader may also sample (and read! And Love!) author Z, whose book is next in the collection.
Forgive me if this post rambles a bit. It's very late and I'd planned a different post for today.
Let me tell you the story of two anthologies.
The first, The Ultimate Mystery, Thriller, Horror Boxed Set, was released in early November 2013 by a group of independent authors. The stated goal of the group was gaining new readers, building on each other's networks. The group planned its release strategy, chose advertising, and actively promoted the collection's release. We communicated clearly with each other, shared results of each campaign. The set sold well and has remained #1 or #2 (yay! It's number 1 at Amazon this morning!) for nearly three months.
Then there is the set I planned today's post around.
Love International Style was supposed to release on Monday. Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc had the box set for presale – with the wrong cover – but Amazon didn't offer it until Monday morning, when apparently it was available for a couple of minutes. It was subsequently removed from sale, with no explanation. The authors who had banded together with other authors in the imprint and worked out a sales campaign were left standing with our mouths open when the book wasn't available on its stated date. All of this occurred with a deafening silence from the publisher. Emails received only a terse, "we're working on it."
When the set still was unavailable this morning, with a heavy heart, I revised my planned post.
I won't bore you with all the other details, but communication appears to be a key element in the different results for the two anthologies. I hope we (the authors and the publisher) learn both what happened and how to keep a similar snafu from impeding another release.
A multi-part question for you –
What's your opinion on boxed sets? Devaluing product? Gaining readers?
Have you ever run into a situation where clear communication could've averted a mess?