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How to Market a Fiction Box Set (5 Steps)


Have you ever seen a particularly beautiful box set in a bookstore display and felt willing to risk it all? 

Maybe you have the individual books in a series in different wonky editions, and these are all beautifully uniform and put-together. Maybe this is a set from your favorite author including books you haven’t read before. There’s just something about a particularly attractive box set that hooks readers in—and your readers are no exception! 

Self-published authors might overlook box sets, but they’re a huge opportunity for sales and platform growth. In this article, we’ll talk about what box sets are, why they matter, and how to market a fiction box set to reap the most potential benefit from it. 

This guide to how to market a fiction box set covers:

  1. What is a box set?
  2. Why box sets matter for fiction authors
  3. How to market a fiction box set
  4. Where can I promote a fiction box set?
  5. Fiction box set marketing examples

FREE TOOL

Fiction Book Series Readthrough Calculator

Enter the title of book 1 in your series, its list price, your royalty rate, and how many book sales you get in a month. Then hit "add another book" in order to enter the information for each other book in your series.

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
 

Enter your details below to see how much your book series would be worth!

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
Read Through(%)
Sales Revenue
Your Total Series Value is:

Single Sale of

What is a box set?

A box set is a collection of books sold in one single box as one single unit. Instead of buying each individual book on its own, you’re buying all of them at once, and instead of paying for each of them on their own, you’re paying for the entire box as one item. Box sets usually also offer some kind of discount. While each book might be twenty dollars on its own, the five of them together might retail for eighty dollars instead of a hundred. 

Here are just a few examples of what you might see in a box set: 

  1. Box sets for series: in these box sets, a reader gets an entire series all at once, usually for a lower price than if they bought each book individually. 
  2. The first book in each series: these box sets will include the first book in each series by a single author. This introduces the reader to a ton of different series, which could lead them to check out the rest of the books in those series. 
  3. The first few books in a series: these box sets will include the first few books in a multi-book series. The reader will be able to binge these books and then, ideally, they’ll be intrigued enough to check out the rest of the series. 
  4. A starter kit of books by an author: these box sets include an assortment of books, which are not connected to one another, by an author. The idea is that the reader gets a sampler of the author’s work, and if they like it, they’ll look for more on their own outside the set. 
  5. Multi-author book sets: in these box sets, a reader gets a selection of books by different authors. These books are usually all part of the box set’s theme or genre—you might see a box set full of paranormal romance books or horror books or adventure books for children. 

Why box sets matter for fiction authors

Box sets might seem like an obvious play for a publishing company to make, but they’re actually a great opportunity for authors, too. Even, and especially, self-published authors. Let’s talk about why that is. 

Readers get more bang for their buck 

One of Netflix’s biggest appeals, at least when it was first entering its prime back in 2015, was that they uploaded entire shows onto their platform. Instead of having to watch each individual episode over the course of weeks, customers could watch the entire thing in an evening, if they wanted. 

It’s a similar idea with box sets. If a reader gets a box set of a series, for example, they know they don’t have to wait for the next one to come out—they can just read the next one as soon as they’re done. This makes the entire box set seem like less of a time investment. 

Box sets usually retail for a price lower than each individual book bought separately. This means the reader’s getting the series or collection of books all at once, and for a lower price than they might if they had to get each book on its own. There’s also an aesthetic appeal for readers who like to collect books—getting a series or set of books in a box set will often look nice on a shelf. 

Authors make more on box sets 

Remember what I said earlier about box sets being sold as one unit? That single unit will be cheaper than each individual book bought on its own, but it will definitely be more expensive than one single book. 

This means that authors make more on a box set, per sale, than they do on an individual book. While one book might be ten dollars, a box set might be fifty. 

Authors can also use box sets to drive paperback or ebook sales. Readers might prefer ebooks, but they’ll spring for a paperback set if it’s the most cost-effective option. Likewise, readers will be more likely to check out an ebook set if there’s a stellar deal to be had, and since ebook sales give a bigger cut to authors, that’s not something you want to overlook. 

Box sets can hook potential new readers 

Even if you don’t have a series to put in a box set, you can still use box sets to your advantage. Starter kits, for example, including a selection of books, can get a reader invested in your work and ready to check out your other projects and follow you for more. 

Additionally, box sets can be used to promote work outside of the box set—we’ll talk more about that in a minute. 

How to market a fiction box set

So, how do you market a fiction box set to make sure you and your readers are getting the most out of it? 

Step 1) Decide what goes in the box set 

If you write a lot of series, this is easy—put a series, the first few books in a series, or the first book in every series in a box set. 

If you don’t, don’t fret! You can choose to do a multi-author box set with other indie authors, or you can include a set of your books which you think serve as an introduction or starter pack to your work. Remember that these should be previously published books if you want to get the most out of it. 

The set should have some sort of theme. That might be scary reads, it might be the beginner’s guide to your work, or it might be a box set of your bestsellers. Having a theme or a unifying concept behind the box set will make it easier to market and sell to readers because they’ll have a clear idea of what they’re getting in that box set. 

Step 2) Make the box set a bargain

If the box set retails for the same price or for insignificantly less than each individual book might cost, readers might not see the point of buying the set. You want to make the box set a bargain that the reader won’t want to pass up—offer a significant discount for buying the whole set, and make sure that discount is clearly advertised. 

Step 3) Pick a killer title and cover design  

Remember that unifying theme and concept? If you’ve got one, picking a title and cover design will be much, much easier. Select a title that gets across what’s in the box set, and make a cover that’s attractive. Since lots of readers flock to box sets for their aesthetic value, you don’t want to skip out on making the box set as attractive as possible. Readers who already have every book in a series will grab a box set if it’s affordable and looks good on their shelves. 

Step 4) Hype the books in the set with reviews 

The books in the box set should be books you’ve already published, and they should be books with reviews. Stock the books in the set with reviews your new readers can check out—this will lend your books credibility, and it’ll make the box set on the whole more legitimate in the reader’s mind. Make sure the books are listed on places like Amazon where readers can check them out and read reviews. 

Step 5) Use the box set to promote other books 

The box set itself is a fantastic marketing tool. The books included in the set should include advertisements for other books outside the set. This might be just a page advertising another series you’ve written, or it might be a sneak peek of a new upcoming book. 

This is a vital part of box set marketing because it hooks new readers and it gets them to follow your work outside the individual box set. You want to use every opportunity you can to lead readers to other transactions. 

Where can I promote a fiction box set?

You may feel at a loss for promoting a box set, but you’ve probably already got the tools you need to get started! 

Newsletter 

Every self-published author should have an email-based newsletter. Lots of people think emails are a dated and ineffective method for reaching their customers, but this just isn’t true. Including a link on your website where readers can sign up for your newsletter gives you, as an author, a direct link to that reader’s inbox. 

This is the first place you should go to advertise any new project. Let your readers know directly that you’ve got a box set, and let them know about the bargain! 

Author Website 

Speaking of which—if you don’t have a website, get one. If you’ve got one, make sure your box set is advertised on the site, and set it up so that the customer can easily click to the storefront from that advertisement. 

Social Media 

Use your social media to advertise your box set. You can do this for free by posting about it on Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook. If you want to take this up a notch, you can pay for advertisements on social media to reach a wider audience. 

To make this as effective as possible, do a little research and figure out which social media platform your target audience uses. If your target audience is teenagers, you’ll want to look at TikTok. If your target audience is adults, you’ll want to look at Instagram and Facebook ads. 

Fiction box set marketing examples

Let’s look at a few examples of fiction book marketing done right. 

In this example, Mark Dawson uses BookBub ads to promote his box set. This article by BookBub details how this promotion worked to increase his sales. 

In this example, Mari Carr tracks the creation and advertising of her box set with fellow author Lila Dubouis. 

FREE TOOL

Fiction Book Series Readthrough Calculator

Enter the title of book 1 in your series, its list price, your royalty rate, and how many book sales you get in a month. Then hit "add another book" in order to enter the information for each other book in your series.

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
 

Enter your details below to see how much your book series would be worth!

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
Read Through(%)
Sales Revenue
Your Total Series Value is:

Single Sale of

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Gloria Russell

Gloria Russell is a freelance writer and author living in Colorado. If she isn’t writing short stories, she’s probably knitting or stomping around on a mountain somewhere. Follow her here: Twitter Twitch

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