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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Building a Romance Bundle

by M.L. Buchman

I had a very exciting opportunity recently, I got to curate my first book bundle. I thought I'd talk about the experience.

Book Bundles are hot! They are cropping up everywhere. I have one myself of my three holiday Night Stalkers short novels: Night Stalkers Holiday Bundle. They're hitting the New York Times lists. (not mine yet, but others certainly are.)

It can be a way to entice readers with a reduced price like my NS Bundle. Or it can be a loss leader for a group of authors at a very low risk price. This of course means that it is most effective when you have a number of other books that can benefit from acquiring new readers. This bundle is a loss leader. It isn't about making money, it's about getting our stories out to new readers who will be interested in our other works.

I've had the pleasure of participating in a Christmas romance bundle last fall at Storybundle.com. It was a great experience, but I wanted to do something new and different this time. So, rather than starting with a theme, I started with some of my very favorite romance storytellers and then tried to think about how I could tie them together.

Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly with such a great collection of writers, the idea came together fairly quickly: "Romance: Past, Present & Paranormal." As soon as I had the idea put together, I approached Jason the owner of Storybundle. He has created a very interesting site.

It allows:
  • the reader to set the price. Above a certain minimum ($3 for this bundle), they receive the main set of books. Above  $10 they receive the bonus books as well at a cost of about a dollar each.
  • the reader can then directly receive the e-books downloaded in MOBI (Kindle) or EPUB (almost everyone else on the planet) formats.
Jason was thrilled at the idea. So, I approached the authors I had chosen. And received equally enthusiastic, YESs. (YESes?)

We put together a marketing campaign, because one of the real keys to a book bundle's success is the overlapping of networking methods and approaches. One commands a power blog, another a street team, another works listservs (loops, whatever you want to call them). We each bring our network to the bundle and hopefully find new audiences with our powerful storytelling.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am by the final line-up we were able to put together. Some of these authors you will probably know, others you'd know their books if not their names (they'd be hard to miss with over a hundred titles out), and still others you may never have heard of.

Let me just say that these authors are all ones that I don't read just one book of, I read many.

Available from Storybundle.com April 30th to May 21st. So, be sure to save this post and grab these wonderful books as soon as you can!


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5 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for the information, Matt. I wondered how Story Bundles were created after purchasing the Romance Bundle last fall! This one looks equally good...

Fingers crossed we'll see your NS bundle on the NYT's list soon! with this one following shortly thereafter.

Judith

Sarah Raplee said...

I learn something from each of your posts, Matt!

This looks like a great deal on a wonderful collection. I'm sharing on Facebook and Google+.

M. L. Buchman said...

Thanks! It goes available on April 30th and runs through May 21.

Maggie Lynch said...

I've been watching these story bundles with interest. I keep thinking next year when I have more books out in series. Is there a specific level (e.g., number of books in backlist) that you think bundling becomes most effective in terms of doing a loss leader?

M. L. Buchman said...

Hi Maggie,
Specific number? No. More than 2, probably more than 3. You want to balance the "lost" revenue on book #1 sales with expected revenue increase on subsequent books that gain from any halo effect. Simplified math: If you normally sell 25/month of book #1, at $4.99, that's about $100 in revenue. Do you have enough titles that you will gain at least that $100 from the latter books? One top of that, as curator of the bundle I have invested perhaps 15-20 hours on the bundle (setup, curating, working with the other authors, promotion) and they have probably done 5-10 hours on the latter items. Will I also have sales to compensate for that more significant expenditure? I'm guessing a series of 3-4 is where the money/effort starts to make sense.

This bundle I have 2 titles, book #1 of a 5 book series and a book from the middle of a 7-book hybrid series, all in romance. I hope that will give me a good distribution gain. We'll see.