In early March, I was asked if I was interested in submitting a book to a bundle of thrillers. I had been hard at work on the latest volume of the Mark Taylor Series, March Into Madness, and not paying too much attention to publishing trends, so I was mostly oblivious to the whole bundle phenomenon. Once I was asked, I did some research and was shocked at how well many of the bundles were doing.
Thrilling Thirteen, which was perfect. Simple, powerful and right to the point.
Of course we all hoped for lots of sales and have been working hard towards that goal, but nobody worked harder than Ty Hutchinson, who organized the bundle. He contacted the cover artist, the formatter and came up with an intriguing teaser concept. However, what has been really amazing is that spirit of cooperation and selflessness by other authors with books in other boxed sets. It's one thing that has always amazed me about indie authors and even four years into my own journey as an indie author, I'm still finding that there are many more authors willing to help others than those who aren't.
In our case, I think we all knew someone who had a book in a boxed set and so we went to those authors and asked questions. Now, they could have been stingy with their help--after all, why give a 'rival' key information that might help them outsell you? But I've never found that to be the case. Usually we got answers like, 'We did this and that, oh, and don't do this--it doesn't work, but we also got lucky...' Personally, I think they contributed to their own good luck. I mean, the covers have to be great, the message good, and of course, the offerings in the bundles have to be top notch.
So, with their experiences in mind, we were able to craft our own marketing campaign.We did teasers leading up to launch, and Pixel of Ink gave us a great push out of the gate with a promo the day before our official launch. Even though we have a killer cover and great books in our set, we have to market heavily. Sales are not a given.
About a month after we published, a funny thing happened. First, we had a great promo from Free Kindle Books and Tips, but then we had sales start increasing even when we didn't have a scheduled promotion that week. What could be happening? It turns out that several other boxed sets in the same or similar genres were also showing improved rankings and we were all in each other's also boughts.
Phoenix Sullivan, a self-published author who also runs her own publishing company, Steel Magnolia Press along with romance author, Jennifer Blake, is an amazing resource as she's probably the reigning expert about boxed sets. She's organized several of them and all have done extremely well. She spoke to one of the authors in our boxed set, Toni Dwiggins, and said she thought that the Amazon algorithms had put all of our books together, and that was a great thing. We weren't competing with each other so much as raising each other up. I think she's right, and what's more, she's been generous with her support of Thrilling Thirteen.
Currently, Phoenix has several boxed sets she's organized through Steel Magnolia Press: Mortal Crimes: 7 Novels of Suspense Adrenaline Rush: 7 High Octane Thrillers, the NY Times Bestseller, Deadly Dozen and we are thrilled to be keeping such great company.
I don't know what our final sales will be with Thrilling Thirteen, but participating has been an amazing and exciting endeavor.