Self-Publishing Boxed Set Preorder—What Would Make it More Compelling?


I recently combined four of my self-publishing books into a boxed set. The Kindle edition is presently available for pre-order. (Melissa Stevens at designed this amazing—since I didn’t design it myself, I believe I’m allowed to say this—cover.)

What could I do to make this more compelling?

Here are a few ideas that I’m considering:

  • Special introductory price. (I believe the list price can be changed until it gets locked into the last 10 days of the pre-order date.)
  • Add in a fifth book. I have a detailed book that focuses on the subtleties of Kindle formatting, which will be released soon. (This depends, in part, on whether that fifth book will be ready in time. The four-book boxed set that I uploaded is already in its final form, although I selected draft status for a little flexibility.)
  • Add bonus material. The easy thing would be, say, popular articles from my blog. Of course, you can get all my blog articles free at any time. Would it be convenient to have some of the more useful articles at the end of the book? (Ah, but then how about customers who already have my books, or who purchase them separately. Maybe that would entail making a mini-book for 99 cents or perma-free. I loathe to sell a book for 99-cents when the content is freely available, though, even if it does add convenience. Or, maybe I could put the best-of-blog articles in a free PDF on my blog.) Or I could come up with some new articles for bonus material.

Perhaps price would be more compelling. If so, what price would make this irresistible? Here is the current breakdown:

  • Two of the books are $4.99 each and the other two are $2.99 each on Kindle. That adds up to a $15.96 value. (There is some overlap in material between the books though.)
  • I have the list price for the omnibus currently set at $9.99. Right now, it’s like getting four books for the price of two.
  • It’s a huge book, nearly 800 pages in print. The delivery fee is significant (over $2).

There is a trade-off with an introductory low price:

  • If it’s successful, many sales would help sales rank, exposure, buzz, etc.
  • But if it’s successful, it may detract sales from the individual volumes; their ranks may tank in the meantime.

Eventually, I’d like to find the magic price where the boxed set and the individual books are both selling.

But I might make a special introductory offer to stimulate some interest.

Another consideration is that three of these four books sell more frequently in paperback than in Kindle. These books are convenient to place on a desk while carrying out the instructions, especially the larger ones. Soon I’ll have a mammoth paperback edition of this boxed set, too.

I expect the individual paperbacks to continue to sell. This is what I’d prefer if I were buying them.

Then there is MatchBook. Once the print edition comes out, this will come into play. I do get some MatchBook sales. Once you have the print, you can a Kindle edition for cheap to go along with it, which can come in handy.

Another wildcard is Read Tuesday. I’m not sure which books I’ll add to Read Tuesday, but I definitely want to have a couple of highly compelling promotions for that. Maybe a crazy Read Tuesday price would be better than a special introductory offer now.

(One more thing on my mind is that I could move the pre-order date up. Presently, it’s scheduled for release in the beginning of November, mainly for flexibility. I believe I can make the date sooner, but not later, provided that I leave at least 10 days until the release date. One nice thing about the current release date is that it will get the end of its Last 30 Days visibility in the beginning of the holiday season.)

I’ll appreciate any feedback to help me make up my mind.

If you release a boxed set, you may have similar concerns. (If you’ve gone through this before, please share your experience.)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

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11 comments on “Self-Publishing Boxed Set Preorder—What Would Make it More Compelling?

  1. Hi there! I have read suggestions regarding blogging material, namely that bloggers could organize their blogging material into a theme, add some more posts that would connect all the previous posts together and then publish this material as a free-standing book.

    I haven’t tried it myself, but, should I find time (or should days increase by 10 hours) I was thinking that maybe I could do it. The point is to find the common thread around your existing posts and then build some extra stuff.

    • I’ve heard of others doing this. It ordinarily doesn’t appeal to me. If not thinking of bonus material for the boxed set, I wouldn’t have considered it.

      However, I have thought of combining articles into a free e-book. I could make this available in PDF, epub, or .mobi format here at my blog, for example (or maybe I could get it perma-free at retailers).

      But here’s what I expect to happen: If I ever proceed to try this, I’ll start re-reading the articles, and I will probably think to write different material all together. 🙂

      • Newspaper columnists whose rights have reverted do this all the time. I’ve bought printed collections of favorite journalists’ “old” columns. What is blogging, but an Indie form of journalism? Whatever “they” can do, we can do just as well, if not better! 😉

  2. I’ve just created a boxed set of my ebook series, and am wondering if there will be a way to link reviews from the individual books. Any ideas on this? Also -I’d like to see a post on the details of publishing a boxed set of print books. Thanks for sharing!

    • Unfortunately, it appears that one of the drawbacks of the boxed set is that the book has to start back at square one with reviews.

      Authors have suggested to Amazon that they offer customers an incentive to buy the whole series at a discount, so that authors don’t need to create special boxed set editions. This would solve the problem of reviews and sales ranks (and the file size of duplicating content with a boxed set). So there is hope. In the meantime, boxed sets are a popular trend.

      I’ll add a print boxed set post to my to-write list. 🙂

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