Monday 13 July 2015

How to Write and Publish a Multi-Author Indie Box Set: Preparing to Launch

By Narelle Atkins

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

After the manuscript submission deadline for the individual stories has passed, your group will be focused on the final preparations for the box set release.

Box Set Formatting

Your box set will need to be formatted for Amazon, and also the other ebook retailers if you choose to not sell exclusively with Amazon. For SPLASH!, our group decided to distribute the box set through Amazon and Draft2Digital. Our group leader volunteered to format the box set manuscript, including all the front and back matter. Each group member received a copy of the formatted SPLASH! document for proofreading.

Box Set Proofreading

As I mentioned last week, each SPLASH! group member was responsible for submitting an edited manuscript prior to the May 1 deadline. We were also responsible for proofing a portion of the SPLASH! document. The focus of our proofreading was on locating any typos or formatting errors. Each group member had two weeks to proofread the document and advise the other group members if they came across any errors in their individual novellas.

Set up the Pre-order and Distribution Channels

Each of your distribution channels will have deadlines regarding the uploading of the final version of your box set file. It’s important to set realistic deadlines for group members and allow time for the book production aspects of the box set. For SPLASH!, we allocated six weeks from our May 1 deadline to produce the box set manuscript and meet our pre-order obligations with our distributors.

Pre-order and Release Dates for the Individual Titles

If the box set contains brand new titles, your group will need to make a decision on when to set up pre-orders and release the individual titles. The large majority of multi-author box sets are a limited time offer with an expiry date. It’s likely you’ll have readers who will prefer to post reviews on the individual titles in addition to, or instead of, the box set. Your initial marketing focus will be on the box set, and your reader-reviewers will appreciate having all the individual titles available for sale within a month of the box set release date.

Create Buzz and Implement the Group Marketing Plan

The few weeks prior to the box set pre-order becoming available is the time to define your group book promotion and marketing plans. Once the pre-order is live, your group can kick off their marketing and promotion activities, including social media and blogging. Your group will need to determine a marketing budget and make decisions regarding paid advertising for the box set. Your group members can let their readers know about the upcoming box set release via their author newsletters. For SPLASH!, we decided to organize a Facebook Party Event to celebrate the box set release.

Street Teams and Reviewers

Each of your group members, if they’re already published prior to participating in the box set, will most likely have at least a few readers who review their books. You may have group members with a street team of readers who help them promote their book releases. The group can pool together their resources and contact their readers who may be interesting in reviewing the box set.

Social Media and Blogs

For SPLASH!, each group member made a commitment to promote the box set. We all used a variety of social media tools to reach out to readers in our genre. We set up a SPLASH! Pinterest Board as a home base for all our blog posts relating to the box set. We created a Blog Hop to help readers find posts relating to SPLASH! A number of SPLASH! authors are also members of group blogs, including Inspy Romance and International Christian Fiction Writers. We coordinated our schedules to post promotional material on the blogs and social media.

Launch Day Promotions

Our SPLASH! Facebook Party was the main focus of our launch day promotions. It was challenging to co-ordinate the party across time zones in North America, UK, South Africa and Australia. In my time zone, the SPLASH! online Facebook party started at 7am on June 24, which was 5pm-7pm on the US East Coast on our June 23 release day. It was an early start for me, and provided a great opportunity to chat with our readers and give away prizes.

Have Fun!

Indie box sets provide a wonderful opportunity to work with other authors in a fun and professional environment. I loved participating in SPLASH! and I’d definitely consider doing another box set collection that fitted in with my schedule. Valerie Comer has talked about her thoughts on box set collections on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog. Marion Ueckermann shared our thoughts on participating in SPLASH! on the Beauty for Ashes blog in South Africa.

I hope you’ve found this series helpful. Please leave a comment if you have any questions about box set collections. If you embark on your own multi-author box set adventure, enjoy the journey!

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, was released on June 23 in the SPLASH! box set contemporary Christian romance novella collection. His Perfect Catch was released as a standalone title on July 10. 

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins


  1. What a marvellous experience and of course name exposure. Thanks, Narelle, for sharing all the 'ins and outs' of such a venture. Apart from actually writing your novel, you have all worked so hard, I do hope this will be a HUGE success.

    1. Hi Rita, Yes, SPLASH! has been an amazing journey, and we're happy with what we've achieved together :)

  2. That was a really interesting article, even for a non-writer, such as myself. But it's also interesting for the readers to see what goes on behind the scenes, so to speak!

    1. Hi Sonja, I'm glad you've found my post interesting. The behind the scenes is mainly a lot of hard work, lol. Thanks for stopping by :)

  3. Thanks Narelle for sharing your experience. Some great tips that can also apply to single projects too.

    1. Hi Jeanette, I learned so much about indie publishing, in general, from my experiences with SPLASH! It was a lovely way to dip my toes in the indie pond :)

  4. Thanks Narelle for this 3-part series. Lots of great content for the rest of us to consider.

    1. Hi Ian, You're very welcome :) Box sets are a lot of work, but they have the potential to do really well on the Amazon lists.

  5. I'm really enjoying this series, Narelle. I wish I'd known a lot of this a year ago. lol

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


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