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Saturday, July 19, 2014

BOX SETS ARE GREAT FOR BUSINESS

There has been a trend steadily growing in the industry, which began with the Indie Girls who hit the market by storm some two years ago, to come out with box sets, where a group of authors put together an anthology, pool their resources. I mean, someone would have to be on another planet not to notice how popular this has become. But, is it profitable? Next week will mark the 5th boxed set I've done this year alone. Hot Alpha SEALS comes out next Tuesday.

The answer to this question is: it depends. In this day and age where adding more value for minimal cost is important, anthologies can be a way for a reader, especially a new reader in a particular genre (for instance, Military Romance), to try out a few author's voices, before deciding they want to return to this genre. Conveniently located in the back of each selection, are links to the author's other books. A reader doesn't have to like them all. But for a discounted price of say .99, all the reader has to like is two or three and it's worth it. However, most of the anthologies I've been in get 4 and 5 star ratings for the whole thing, not just one or two books. Having good reviews and links to the other authors' books does increase sales. And let's just all agree, you have to start with good authors and good books.


There is a chance that the anthology, like the SEALs Of Summer anthology did earlier this year, could hit a Times or USA list, which should lead to more sales of each of the author's books. Having that label means that you have sold a lot of books, like more than 25-28k copies, which is a huge number to hit. Very few authors hit these lists, especially the New York Times top sellers list with just a single book. Anthologies again pool resources to help make this happen for an author. And as in the example previously given, this is also very good for a reader to discover new authors.

Cross-pollination happens. We found this to be the case with the SEALed With A Kiss Anthology released during Valentine's Day week this year. A good reader for one author becomes a good reader for another. Let's face it, we can't write a book every month, but I do like the idea that my readers are being entertained, through the website, by other great authors. It is important to find other authors who play fair, who have similar values as far as work ethic. Remember, we're all about the playing fair. Just as in our SEAL Teams: Together Everyone Accomplishes More.

It also gave me courage to launch my own superbundle. It was great to hit lists in a collaboration with other authors, but I wanted to do it with my own works, and did so with The Ultimate SEAL Collection, putting the first 4 books and the 2 prequels in my SEAL Brotherhood Series together and sellling them for five days at a discounted price. At the current pricing, it still is a better deal to buy this package than to buy the individual books. But when it was discounted, and afterwards, has sold over 50,000 copies.

In between releases, I did Boxed Set #1 and Boxed Set #2 in my SEAL Brotherhood series, so I had something new to bring to the market. It helped me become discoverable and stay discoverable. Since these contributed to more sales, it's enabled me to stay in the Amazon top 100 for Romantic Suspense for nearly 18 months in a row.

Another added benefit is that I took these novellas, and turned them later into full length novels. The storyline had already been read and accepted, and now I asked readers to go on an additional journey with me for the full length book. Every book in an anthology I've done has become a full length novel later. The stories are usually altered slightly as well, so the full length book can be slightly different than the novella that inspired it.

I'm about to release these novellas in a package later this fall, which will be called my SEAL Shorts, for a branding I've seen other authors do. This will help readers find the full length books they want to invest in, as well as additional bonus material I'm working on: additional character sketches, discussions and ideas about the series.

My journey has been that yes, you have to write good books, but how you market and brand yourself is so important. What kind of support you ask from your Street Team, your fellow authors and the market in general, determines your ultimate success, not the writing alone.

NYT and USA/Today and Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author Sharon Hamilton’s SEAL Brotherhood series have earned her Amazon author rankings of #1 in Romantic Suspense, Military Romance and Contemporary Romance. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love. Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany earned her a #1 Amazon author ranking in Gothic Romance.


A lifelong organic vegetable and flower gardener, Sharon and her husband live in the Wine Country of Northern California, where most of her stories take place.

Sharon Hamilton
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.

8 comments:

jean hart stewart said...

Extremely interesting. May I write you off-line with some questions?

Melissa Keir said...

I've seen a lot of the box sets out these days. Do you think that the market will get saturated? I love the idea of anthologies. I've found so many wonderful new authors that way!

Rose Anderson said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience today. Best luck.

Cara Marsi said...

Sharon, congratulations on your success with the boxed sets. I have The SEALS of Summer. I love your SEAL stories. I've bought about 5 boxed sets. I love them, but I do believe the market will get saturated. It's what happens with everything.

Sharon Hamilton said...

Jean Hart Stewart - sure, PM me or send email. sharonhamilton2001@gmail.com

Sharon Hamilton said...

Melissa Keir, I think the market might. We might get tired of them, but the readers seem to enjoy picking up new authors. I know my expanded readership happens more with boxed sets than with guest blog posts. And before this year I would have said it was the other way around. Interesting trend.

Sharon Hamilton said...

You're welcome, Rose!

Sharon Hamilton said...

Cara Marsi, thanks for your support. And your comment I think is very accurate. So then we'll have to go jump on board with something else. Or, get our set out there. I can't write a book every month or two. So, these take the place. Even if it's a little bump, it is at least a step in the right direction.

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