Create A Simple Single-Author Boxed Set

by Molly Greene, @mollygreene

BOXSET_Books-1-2-3_155xI recently put together a quick boxed set of the first three books in my Gen Delacourt Mystery Series, then went on to build box sets for the rest of my titles. Why do it?

  • More product
  • Go wide with singles OR sets and stay in KU with one or the other
  • Create pricing incentives for readers

Here’s a quick rundown of my process.

One: Combine pre-formatted Word docs

I upload pre-formatted Word docs of my manuscripts directly to Amazon when I publish a new title. Controlling the formatting process allows me to control the editing process, which is important to me, because every time I publish a new book, I add that title and its purchase links to every currently published ebook (eventually, lol!) This provides control over small edits, keeping my backlist current, and the calls to action I use in each book. I won’t go over it again, but if you’re interested, I blogged about my pre-formatting process here: Simple eBook Formatting Using MS Word.

So … to build a boxed set, I combine, in order, the individual Word docs for each manuscript. Then I add a new FIRST page for the newly-bundled ebook. This page functions as a “welcome” to the reader and describes the contents and links to the beginning (copyright page) of each book in the set. I use Word’s Bookmark function to link the title on the welcome page to the title on each copyright page.

Two: Buy a 3D box set cover on Fiverr

CELLAR_BOXSET_155xI’d never used Fiverr before Anne Hagan recommended it – read her Fiverr post here – but now I’m a big fan. Anne provides an in-depth view to using the platform. Be sure to read all her replies to comments for additional info!

I contracted for 3D box set covers, paid $5.50 apiece, and was thrilled with the fast response and delivery, as well as the professional result. Note: I created my own “spine” .jpg for each title, uploaded an example of what I wanted plus detailed instructions for the vendor (spine position, image size, sequence of titles, etc). That made it cheaper for me and easier for the designer.

Three: Upload to Amazon

Once I had the cover and the Word doc mss, I created a new title on my Amazon bookshelf, wrote a new description, added review snippets, then uploaded the whole shebang and published it as Gen Delacourt Mystery Series Boxed Set: Books 1-3.

Boxed Sets and KU Policy

If you’re a staunch KU supporter (or the opposite), you won’t have this question: KDP Select, meaning KU or go wide? … but although I LOVED being in KU, I believe the signs are pointing to “go wide.” I emailed Amazon to ask whether boxed sets could be in Select if the individual titles were wide, and originally received an answer that said “go ahead.”

My question: “Can I  enroll a boxed book set (bundle) – comprised of three separate books – if ONE of the books included in the set is not exclusive to Amazon, and is available on other book sale platforms?”

Amazon’s answer: “Yes you can, even though one of the books is not exclusive, the box set title will count as a complete separate book and you have the option to enroll it in KDP Select so that it can be part of Kindle Unlimited.”

But now … breaking news! My sets were in KU for months before I received a very cordial email from Amazon saying boxed sets/bundles are not allowed in KU unless the individual titles are also exclusive. I replied with my original email, and told them to remove the sets from Select, which they did. No threats, no drama. It was worth the try, really.

Promotion and reviews

Reviews are the difficult part, as always. In the past, I’ve relied on free BookBub promos to accrue reviews, but BB promos – especially free – are getting harder and harder to get. So I am begging readers and fans who’ve reviewed all three single titles to post a review for the boxed set. *Sigh* It’s a universal challenge, and just one part of the hard work we do as indies.

Authors, what experiences have you had with boxed sets, good or bad? Leave a comment and share!

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26 Responses to Create A Simple Single-Author Boxed Set

  1. Deborah A Bailey June 6, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    This is a terrific post. I’m just finishing book 3 of a series, and I’ve been debating doing a boxed set. It’s great to hear that I can add the set to KU, and have the individual books on other platforms too.

    • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      Yaaaay! Congrats on Book 3, Deborah, and so happy if this post helps!

  2. Jennifer Jennings June 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    I’ve had my boxed sets available for years. I think they work really well for me, one reason being, Bookbub tends to accept them over my single books. Since I have 18 books in the series, I can do lots of cross-promotion. Because I mostly only promote the boxed sets, they sell very well, but the single books don’t. The one drawback, obviously, is that my author rank isn’t as high because I’m selling less products. However, the royalty checks are better. I’d rather make more money than be able to brag that I’m in the top hundred mystery authors on Amazon.
    All in all, I think boxed sets are a great idea for marketing purposes.

    • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

      I’m with you, Jennifer … I’ll take the cash over the credit any day. Thanks so much, this gives me hope!

  3. Tower Lowe June 6, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    I just created my first box set and loaded it to…so we’ll see. I am reading the first of Jennifer’s and I find that I like knowing the next book is waiting when I am ready…maybe readers feel that way too.

    Thanks as always Molly.

    • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

      Congrats, Tower! I’m with you – we’ll see. Fingers crossed!

  4. Anne Hagan June 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    I learned something from this. When I do my boxed sets, I don’t link the title page to each title/copyright page in the set but it’s a good idea.

    Right now, I have a 7 book boxed set in KU that features the first 6 books in one of my series and the first one from another. It’s not available wide. Because I’m almost done with book 8 in the first series, I’m letting KU expire on that one (June 17th) and once book 8 is released for sale and into KU, I’ll pull the set. I have the first 4 books and a special book available wide that isn’t on Amazon at all. I’ll do a second set with books 5-8 for wide distribution and, after book 8 has been out a few weeks, I’ll release a book 1-8 boxed set that’s exclusive to Amazon and in KU.

    I stagger the Amazon releases on purpose. At about the 3 week mark, that 30 day new release window and the buying excitement are starting to wear off. Doing it this way keeps author ranking and page KU page count numbers high.

    As you pointed out, reviews are the difficult part. I do what you do, I beg fans I know who have read the series to review the set. They’re not verified purchase reviews but they’re better than nothing. I have a few rabid fans I keep in touch with through Facebook groups who try to oblige me when I release a set to Amazon.

    I hope this info helps…someone. Keep writing everyone!

    • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

      Wow, Anne – your organizational skills are impressive. I find that keeping it all straight in my head gives me a … well, a headache. That’s why I loved KDP Select so much – it was easy. I’m just now uploading all the other single titles to all the other platforms … one by one. ACCCCCKKKKK!

      • Anne Hagan June 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

        That’s where we differ. Other than my permafree book, I don’t have individual titles wide. I do just fine putting sets out that aren’t available on Amazon. It saves a lot of headaches to do a couple of sets as opposed to multiple individual books. Too, none of the other carriers sets an upper price limit to stay at a 70% royalty. The buyers on iBooks and Scribd and such don’t seem to be as price sensitive but they do like sets better than singles.

        • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

          Ah ha, now I see … I assumed KU borrowers would be more likely to borrow sets. But my real decision to go wide has much to do with BookBub, as of this year they’re saying that titles available on all platforms have a better chance of getting a promo. Jennifer noted above that she gets into BB w/her sets – Jennifer, are your sets in KU?

          • Jennifer Jennings June 6, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

            Yep, all of my sets are in KU.

  5. Jennifer Jennings June 6, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

    Even with my box sets, I don’t always get accepted to Bookbub. But I do get selected about two out of every three tries. I have always felt that Bookbub gave wide titles priority, so I guess it all depends on what titles you’re going up against at any given time.

    • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

      Thanks, JJ – food for thought!

      • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

        Hey you! I saw what you just did for me …. MWAH!!

    • Anne Hagan June 6, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

      I’ve had no luck with Bookbub with a title that’s permafree on all sites (but Google Play…I’m one of the unlucky ones that didn’t get into that before it was closed to new authors while they revamp it. I always get ‘no room; try again in 4 weeks’. Mine is a tough category that BB should divide in two but they don’t. Oh well…

      • Molly Greene June 6, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

        Anne, you can still get into Google Play through StreetLib, check it out.

        • Anne Hagan June 7, 2016 at 5:34 am #

          THANK YOU! That’s amazing! Added to my to do list.

          • Molly Greene June 7, 2016 at 9:44 am #

            Good luck and tell me how it goes!!

  6. Derek Smith June 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I’ve written four books in my crime series, Jack of All Trades. The first book in the series is now permafree. But I’ve bundled it into a box set of the first three. My reasoning being the same as yours, Molly – that I could get into KU with the box set. But it isn’t moving at all. I need to promote to get reviews. And then promote some more once I have them. I shall begin with Book Marketing Tools to get off the mark. My daughter suggested in the book description for Amazon that I put some of the best reviews of the single books.


    • Molly Greene June 7, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

      I did exactly what your daughter suggested – I included some of the best reviews of single books in the box set. GOOD LUCK!!

  7. Sue Coletta June 28, 2016 at 6:20 am #

    Huh. I’m not getting your blog notifications, either. It’s happened to several of the blogs I follow. So strange. Anyway, I’m resubscribing. Just FYI. Hope you have a fabulous week, Molly!

  8. Beth Barany August 1, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    Molly, Do I understand correctly that at least one of my box set titles HAS to be in Select for my set to be able to go to KU? Or can all my single titles be on all platforms (as they are), but the box set is exclusive for KU? I have a YA fantasy trilogy almost ready for a big launch and could do a digital box set for three months as part of that launch. Possibly!


    • Molly Greene August 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Beth, I had to think deeply about your question! Here goes: Regardless of the status of your single titles and where they are for sale – in other words, if your singles are “wide” – your box sets can be in KU. That’s because Amazon considers a boxed set a unique product. Or vice versa: your boxed sets can be “wide,” and your single titles in KU. GOOD LUCK on your launch!!!

      • Beth Barany August 1, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

        Thanks! That clarifies a lot, Molly! You’re awesome and just made my day! (And my husband’s too. He’s an author also!)


  1. Going Wide: Bye Bye, Amazon Select | Molly Greene: Writer - August 15, 2016

    […] I did and am happy about was to create boxed sets of my titles and enroll those in Select and KU. My logic in making the sets borrowable as opposed […]

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