Monday, November 24, 2014

A Novel Approach To Box Sets

8 Ways to Thrill - Unique Ebook Bundle Available Through 11/27/2014

Available at

My thriller The List is available in a discount eight novel thriller bundle until Thanksgiving.

Box sets are one of the hottest promotional tools going right now, so I interviewed the bundle’s curator M.L. “Matt” Buchman.

Joe: What's the main idea behind this unique bundle, and how did you come up with it?

Matt: I’ve worked with a couple of times and I like their structure. The reader sets the price. For $3 they get half the titles, for $12 they get all eight. For more than $12, they also get the author’s undying gratitude! I like the friendliness of that structure.

For this bundle I wanted to put together a kick-ass group of thrillers. So I set myself two missions: 1) Gather a group of thriller authors who I myself am just dying to read/read more of, 2) Try to offer as much variety as possible.

The first part came together with surprising ease, everyone that I approached jumped right in (thanks folks). So I got my first-tier choices all across the board. The second part also came together, somewhat to my surprise. Thrillers have a wide variety of subgenres and this one bundle actually covers most of them: Legal, Military, Political (both governmental and terrorist), Supernatural, Techno… On top of that, we also cover the range from gritty and hard-hitting up to the lighter ones like my foodie thriller and Smith’s poker thriller.

This works as a great collection, and also as a great “taster’s choice.” On the one hand, it welcomes new readers to the genre. On the other, experienced thriller readers will get some of the best writers working in the genre today.

That takes a firm vision by the curator of the bundle and is awesome when it works this well.

Joe: How does something like this get promoted?

Matt: The premise of bundling, and why it works so well, is cross-promotion. Mayer’s military thriller audience may not know about your techno. My fans following me from my military romantic suspense series (The Night Stalkers and Firehawks), may well be new to all thrillers. It is through the individual authors promoting out through their websites, feeds, street teams, etc. that makes these types of efforts really work. That is a key failure/success criteria: are ALL of the authors in a bundle willing to promote it and do they each have disparate platforms from which to do that?

Joe: Explain how sales work.

Matt: is a unique system that I haven’t seen elsewhere. It is a limited-time bundle offering a “buyer sets the price” structure. It even allows the purchaser to allocate a percentage of their purchase to literacy charities.

These bundles are not available through Amazon, B&N, etc. It is only available on their website. In turn, Storybundle handles mobi and epub delivery, servicing clients with problems, even long after the bundle is over.

They also handle the back end accounting which can be a definite challenge.

Joe: Do you consider this a success so far?

Matt: Whether I get my title into the hands of 50 new readers or 5,000, I consider the method a success. A friend of mine, Scott William Carter, coined the phrase WIBBOW (Would I Be Better Off Writing). The question is would I be better served spending my time writing than curating and promoting a Storybundle bundle. Every bundle I have done with them has more than paid back my time in direct monetary means, despite the deep discounting. After that, new readers and “halo effects” as they discover the other books in my Dead Chef series, or even expanding out into my military romantic suspense and other series, will continue to pay me long after this bundle goes away on 11/27.

Joe: Would you do this again? What changes would you make/chances would you take?

Matt: Absolutely! The bundling concept is now fairly common, both within an individual author’s series as well as a group of authors. The challenge is now: How to stand out? How to catch the reader’s attention? That is by taking chances. Storybundle had never had a thriller bundle before, but was willing to take a chance on me as I’ve curated other bundles for them. It was by both myself and StoryBundle taking that risk that made this bundle happen at all, never mind it also being a success. Upcoming from me the curator? I’m deep in developing a foodie mystery/thriller package and one of Seattle/Pacific Northwest contemporary romances. Military romantic suspense is definitely on its way as well.

Go there now!

Joe sez: I found this experience interesting for several reasons. First, because Matt did all the heavy lifting, and my workload was reduced to replying to a few emails, the usual Twitter and Facebook posts, and this blog.

Second, because this is truly a new ebook venue. I've found that discoverablility is often limited by the search-worthiness of the platform. Amazon has the best online store, best ebook shopping experience, and it sells a lot of ebooks as a result. But here is an entirely new platform, relatively unknown, using a unique way to pay and depending on the visibility of its authors. I'll be curious to see how much it earns each author, and will report back in the comments when I know.

The StoryBundle website is slick, easy to navigate, intuitive, and makes it simple to pay. I'd like to see an online forum, to help make the site become a regular hub for readers. Browsers then to return when they can leave comments and interact with each other. As it stands now, StoryBundle is a means to an end (authors promote bundles, readers click on in). Amazon has that, but people also come to Amazon to surf, browse, leave reviews, make comments, etc. The stickier StoryBundle becomes, the better it will do.

Taking chances, trying new things, being experimental, is how the Next Big Thing gets discovered.

So I encourage all of my readers to plunk down a few bucks and check this out, and let me know in the comments what your impressions are.

M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to thrillers, he also writes romance, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at