Here's a question for you: how likely are you to purchase a box set of books? Of course "box set" is kind of a funny term in the age of e-books, because you won't get a nifty actual box that holds 4 or 5 or 8 books on your shelf. But the concept is the same: you'll receive a group of books, usually in the same genre or sub-genre, to download and work your way through. Often there's a common theme. Sometimes these sets are all by the same author, and sometimes they're a collection by different authors.
I did a quick search on Amazon for popular selling box sets right now, and here are a few I found:
Sugar and Sin - 6 romance novels by 6 different authors for $5.99 (my friend Liz Matis is one of the authors - check it out!)
Historical Romance Boxed Set - 2 historical romance novels by author Brenda Novak for $5.99
J.K. Drew Boxed Set - 6 Young Adult mystery novels by author J.K. Drew for $3.99
Wounded Heroes Boxed Set - 5 historical romance novels by 5 different authors for $0.99
As you can see, the variety in what you can get, and for what price, varies widely. I was approached over the weekend about collaborating with some other authors in a box set of contemporary romance novels. After some thought, I decided to decline. Here's the thing: for readers, box sets are a sweet deal. For writers, they're a mixed bag. First and most important for me, you're splitting your royalty profits among all the participating authors. Of course, you're also benefiting from the name recognition of the other authors, so your have to decide which one outweighs the other. If you want to gain visibility and readers you may not have reached before, then go for it. But if you don't want to see your book sold for much less than it will sell as a stand-alone title, then a box set with other authors might not be for you.
Of course, if you're boxing your own titles, then you're reaping all the royalties, of course. But when it comes to profit sharing, especially since I don't have a title to contribute that is a first book in a series, that will lead purchasers of the box set to want to read my other titles, I've decided to wait.
I'm interested to see whether it will become a popular marketing and selling technique for indie authors. Which brings me back to my original question: how likely are you to buy a box set of books? And if you're an author, how likely are you to contribute a title to one?