7 steps to Creating a Boxset #Indiepublishing

Why create a boxset?

2 reasons spring to mind:

  1. The books are already written, so the only work involved is compiling them into the boxset.
  2. Publishing the boxset exclusively to Amazon on their subscription model KU (Kindle Unlimited), allows me to have the books in both KU (in the boxset format) and wide (as individual books) at the same time – win, win!

First step

For me, the first step was coming up with a title for the boxset. It hadn’t occured to me before that it would have to have a title different from the first book in the series, and that took a bit of thinking. I couldn’t use the series title (The Five Kingdoms) because I have further books planned under the same banner. Each of the individual book titles refers to more than a single character in each volume, and I had no idea how I could apply the same principle to the set. But then it came to me that the overall plot encompassed the legacy of the eponymous prince, and then it was obvious, and THE PRINCE’S LEGACY became the title.

Next

The cover. I pay a good price for my book covers, and that has worked in my favour. Provided I don’t want any new artwork, my cover artist will manipulate my existing covers in any way I want, without charge. As the books going into this set are all available in paperback, the spines were already available, and we simply put the new title on the cover of book #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN.

Once I had settled on the title, the image for the boxset came back to me in two days, but don’t assume you will get yours that fast!

And now for the hard work: putting the manuscript together

How long this will take you depends on how you formatted your original books. Are they all the same?

I thought mine were, until I opened them and looked closely. Sigh.

Anyway, I advise dealing with such issues (if you have them) after compiling the set. I will explain why after this list of instructions:

  1. Open all the individual book files
  2. Make a copy of book #1 file, naming the copy whatever you are going to call the set.
  3. Add a title page with the set title immediately before the existing title page of book #1.
  4. Remove the back matter (Teaser of another book, About the Author, etc,) from book #1
  5. Copy book #2, including the title page, and add directly after the end of book #1.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 for each subsequent book, leaving the back matter in place after the final book, having made sure it is all up to date.
  7. You can, if you wish, also put a small version of the cover of each book on the title page for each story.
  8. If you allocate your own ISBNs to your digital books, replace the ISBN of the first book (which is there because you copied that file) with the new ISBN for the collection.
  9. Check the entire file for any minor errors (see below), and make sure that your heading fonts and sizes are consistent

Checking your file

When I looked closely at my books, I discovered that the paragraph indent in my first book was larger than subsequent volumes, so I started off by rectifying that, one chapter at a time, which is the only way to do it without losing the lack of indent after chapter headings and breaks.

And now for the reason I suggest making these corretions after compiling the master file for the boxset: I discovered that not only when book #2 was copied over had it lost all its indents, but also some random chapters had suddenly gained spaces after paragraphs that had not existed before.

And so ensued another long and tedious chapter-by-chapter set of corrections. It turned out that this extended to book #3 as well, which in addition, unlike the other 4 books, was no longer fully justified. Oh, and some page breaks between chapters had gone missing too.

I write in MS Word, and my laptop is OLD and jammed to the gills with stuff. If you use a Mac, another writing programme, or just a newer machine, you may not find these sort of errors creeping in, but I guarantee you, if you don’t check, something will have snuck in there somewhere!

The upside for me was that the new Word spell and grammar check highlighted lots of tiny blips in the text, such as words that should have been hyphenated, and the odd missing letter or extra space, so I was able to correct those as I went through (downside is that now I need to do the same in all the original book files).

Formatting and TOC

I format my books using the D2D free formatting tool. This did a fine job of formatting and creating the new Table of Contents (TOC) for the boxset, because, of course, the TOC is now one giant list at the start of the boxset, and not individual TOCs for each book. My only disappointment is that however I manipulate the file, I cannot get the title of each book to show up in the TOC in a larger font than the chapters. But for ease of use, I’m accepting that.

If you use other programmes, do the formatting yourself, or pay someone to do it, you can probably get nice large font book titles in there, I just felt it was a small price to pay for using the free tool and not spending any more time on it!

Publishing your boxset

Setting up to publish to Amazon is just the same as for any of your books, but then you will realise you need a whole new blurb to cover the series, and not just book #1.

I started off by researching other boxsets in my genre – this is extremely helpful, as boxset blurbs are really quite different to individual book blurbs.

After considering how other sets were blurbed (yes, that’s a real word!), this is what I settled on:

The Prince’s Legacy (The Five Kingdoms, complete series 1): an epic fantasy boxset.

Dive into an epic tale of magic, intrigue, and deadly politics, spiced with a pinch of romance and overshadowed by the mortal threat of a deity at war with itself.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading ‘The Prince’s Man’, but the reality blew me away.” ★★★★★ Review

Rustam Chalice serves the spy-master prince with loyalty and enthusiasm – especially when that means smooching high-born ladies for pillow talk. But when a threat to the kingdom escalates from political shenanigans to the very real danger of a coup, life turn more deadly.

Lady Risada’s service to the prince is a mutually beneficial pact. As the royal assassin, Risada deals with the kingdom’s more dangerous rogues, while using the prince’s spy network to tease out hints of the identity of her parents’ murderer. Being ordered to work with the meddlesome ladies-man, Chalice, is both an unpleasantness and an imposition, and yet she accepts the need to lower her standards for the good of the kingdom.

Manipulating things from behind the scenes, the opposing halves of the land’s dual-natured deity wreak havoc with the lives of their followers. Kings, queens, princes, nobles, and commoners alike; all are subject to the schemes and subterfuges visited upon them as the two sides of the deity vie for ascendency.

In a world fraught with deadly political machinations, in a land stolen from the elves, will humanity and elf-kind survive, or will all be laid to waste as divine powers overwhelm the races’ natural magics?

Books in series:

The Prince’s Man

The Prince’s Son

The Prince’s Protégé

The Princes Heir

The Prince’s Man has ranked as a #1 Best Seller in the Epic Fantasy category in the US, Canadian, and Australian stores.

A fast-paced, character-filled complete series best described as ‘Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’, ideal for fans of Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, and GRR Martin.

Scroll up and click ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Read for Free’ to immerse yourself in over 1800 pages of truly epic fantasy.

What readers are saying:

★★★★★ “It starts off hitting the ground running with action, but carries the reader along easily.”

★★★★★ “Randomly browsing thru newer ebooks and came across this gem. Was delightfully surprised after reading the description “Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings” which intrigued me to no end, to find that this was exactly how I perceived the book” 

★★★★★ “Reminiscent of Game of Thrones, this delightful fantasy will hold your attention from beginning to end.” 

★★★★★ “Jay paints a vivid world, that we are treated to in this dangerous adventure that tests our heroes to every limit. Including having them question everything they had ever taken for granted.” 

★★★★★ “Please note, that it is advisable to start this book when you have a block of time to dedicate to it. Starting an hour before needing to leave the house will make you late, I should know” 

★★★★★ “Firstly let me say, if you have enjoyed books by Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, or Robin Hobb – you will absolutely enjoy this book.” 

★★★★★ “Adventure, heartache, murder, horses, mayhem, elves; the list gallops on, bursting with action in this well written novel set in a completely believable world. Attention grabbing story and underlying layers of detail make it a ‘can’t put downer’.” 

★★★★★ “I enjoyed this greatly. It is indicative of a good read if you immediately search for the next book in the series.” 

Phew! Quite extensive, isn’t it? But this is comparable to the bestselling boxsets in Epic Fantasy, and it seems to be working!

Pricing

Finally, you need to decide on the price you will charge.

The individual books in this set come in at $21.96, but if you price at over $10 Amazon royalties drop back down from 70% to 35%. On these grounds, and the fact that the main purpose of this boxset (for me) was to get the books into KU, I priced the set at $9.99.

Now that is a fantastic saving for anyone brave enough to buy the set without having read any of them, although some smart alecs might realise after reading #1 that they can purchase this set rather than the rest of the individual books, and make a big saving. I am rather relying on the fact that if they are buying indvidual books, they will just go ahead and buy next in series without noticing that the boxset exists!

If this doesn’t prove to be so, I will simply increase the price to more than the total of the individual books to discourage people from purchasing, because the price is irrelevant to KU readers.

So there you have it. Tempted?

If you have the completed books, why not go for it? It really isn’t much effort, just a little time investment for another income stream.

For more info yet, take a look at this post: https://selfpublishing.com/book-series-box-set/

9 comments

  1. What a great step by step tutorial, Debby! Thank you so much! This is something I’ve often considered, but never really figured out how to go about. I’m saving your post, and will give it another try. I can use something new to offer, since I haven’t published anything in two years now. *gulp* A boxed set would help!

    Thanks again, and here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! 🤗🎄❤️🎄🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must say I’m both surprised and delighted with how the set has taken off, with no effort on my part! I assume that’s largely due to my stuff being available for the first time in KU, so I’m thrilled I took the time out to do it, even though it did mean I haven’t written any new fiction this year.
      I reckon a boxset of your work would be a next great step for you while you work on something new.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good grief that is a lot more complicated than I expected! No! I’m not ready! I so thank you for detailing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really isn’t THAT complicated! And I had to figure it out for myself – all the instructions are here, it won’t take you too much time to do it Jacqui, you already have the material, it’s just a case of organising it, and that’s surely something you are good at!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Deb, fabulous tutorial, but sounds grueling. Still a happy camper to pay a formatter LOL. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never been one to pay for something that costs me nothing more than a little time. Book covers, however, that’s another matter entirely, I’m more than happy to pay for a cover!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Covers and formatting for me, lol 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great step by step tutorial; it seems so very daunting but that is when it is invaluable to have an experienced post like this to refer to. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to help. These posts also give me something I can look back on when I’ve forgotten how to do it!

      Liked by 1 person

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