Monday 6 July 2015

How to Write and Publish a Multi-Author Indie Box Set: The Middle

By Narelle Atkins 

Last week I talked about how to set up an indie box set group project, drawing on my experiences from publishing my first indie novella in SPLASH! Today I’m posting the second in a three part series on how to indie publish a fiction box set collection with a group of authors.

Box Set Title

Your group will need to select a title for your box set collection. If the individual stories are connected via a theme, it can make it easier to choose a title with a strong marketing hook. For example, the SPLASH! box set has a water theme which we used to name our box set.

Box Set Cover Art

Important decisions need to be made by the group regarding cover art. This includes defining the group budget for cover art, selecting a cover designer, reviewing stock photo options, and forming a consensus on the style and content of the cover art image. It’s helpful to have a genre and theme to use as a starting point. For SPLASH!, we wanted the box set cover image to have a fun, contemporary, summer romance feel that included a water element. A bride splashing around in red gumboots met our criteria. Each group member was responsible for organizing the cover art for their individual novellas.

Ideal Number of Group Members

If all the individual titles are for sale prior to the box set group being organized, you can determine the ideal number of titles for your box set at the start. If the titles are being written under a deadline, it’s a good idea for the group to have a target number of titles in mind for the box set. With SPLASH!, we had original group members drop out and new group members join in later. Life happens, and it’s wise to assume that it might not be possible for all of your group members to submit their manuscript by the due date. For this reason we didn’t finalize the SPLASH! cover art until after the May 1 deadline had passed.

List of Instructions for Group Members

Our SPLASH! group leader had previously participated in box set collections, and she provided us with a document containing all the relevant deadlines and information we needed to submit. Being a new indie author, I found the checklist very helpful and it defined all of our responsibilities as group members.

Front and Back Matter

Each group member is responsible for independently publishing their own book, and providing front and back matter for the box set. This includes the individual novella cover art, book descriptions, author bio and photo, links, copyright and ISBN information, dedications and acknowledgements. For SPLASH!, I chose to keep my front and back matter to a minimum. My novella, His Perfect Catch, was the first title in the box set and the sample. The front and back matter will be more detailed in my individual novella release.

Writing, Writing, Writing!

If the stories are original releases that aren’t for sale prior to the box set release, the middle phase of the box set production process will see the group members writing their stories. The large majority of our SPLASH! group wrote their individual novellas during the three months leading up to our May 1 deadline. I appreciated the encouragement and support within the group as we checked in on our writing progress and worked hard to meet our deadlines.

Editing and Proof Reading

For SPLASH!, we agreed to submit an edited manuscript by the May 1 deadline. One of the first things I did was line up my freelance editor, Iola Goulton. I had to allow time for editing and proof reading prior to the May 1 deadline. During May, the group members had committed to proof reading a minimum portion of the SPLASH! draft document. The goal was to pick up any minor errors or formatting issues. The errors that were found during the group proof reading process needed to be fixed in the SPLASH! document, which would create additional work for the person formatting the box set. The group had a proof reading deadline to ensure that the manuscript was finalized prior to our Amazon pre-order deadline.

Book Promotion and Marketing Plan

During the middle phase, our SPLASH! group brainstormed book promotion and marketing ideas. We gradually put together a marketing plan as we worked toward our June 23 launch date. The plan included promotion before, during, and after the release of SPLASH! We looked at how we’d promote both our own individual titles and the box set.

Next Monday I’ll finish this series by discussing the final preparations for launching an indie box set collection.

A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia. Her latest book, His Perfect Catch, released on June 23 in the SPLASH! box set contemporary Christian romance novella collection. 

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins


  1. Narelle, I just love your books!

    1. Hi Sonja, I hope you enjoy the stories in SPLASH! Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Excellent information, Narelle. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Hi Kimberly, I'm glad you've found my post helpful. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Reserving a space with your editor is highly recommended!

    I was able to edit His Perfect Catch within a short timeframe because Narelle booked me in advance, telling me when to expect her book and how long it would be.

    1. Hi Iola, I appreciated your willingness to fit my novella into your busy schedule. The fast turnaround was very helpful :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.