My first experience contributing to a boxset! Part 1 | #amwriting #indieauthor #boxset #anthology

October 2020

Hi Readers,

As many of you already know, I’m a contributing author in the Soul’s Day Boxset that releases later this month on 10/20/2020. Here is a behind the scene glimpse at the formation of this boxset.

What I mean when using these terms …

Boxset or boxed set refers to bundling of many books together to present one big book as a single product.
Anthology refers to a published collection of written stories or poems.
Author, in this case, refers to all of the writers contributing stories to our boxset. We each have at least two published books and an online presence.

Open call …

I discovered the Halloween-themed boxset open call announcement in September 2019 on Facebook, and saw it again on Link’dIn. Curious, I researched this boxset opportunity online.

As an author, I’ve got an author website as well as facebook, instagram, twitter and link’din pages to make my stories easily discoverable by readers. I’ve gained a modest following filled with readers, fellow writers, artists, editors and friends.

Facebook is the social media platform I am most familiar and comfortable using. On Facebook, I stumble upon opportunities in the writing community all the time (how to webinars, cross promotions, chances to gain feedback and bookish giveaways). Sometimes, I’m prepared to act on them. As I developed my author business plan for 2020, I knew I wanted to publish a few short stories as well as grow my online presence. This boxset provided an opportunity to do both.

The organizers for this boxset …

Fire Quill Publishers is a small business, based in South Africa, and founded by Erika Bester and Carlyle Labuschage. This independent publisher is currently open to submission for manuscripts in the following genres: fantasy, romance, paranormal, thrillers, mystery, horror, and children’s stories. They also offer book cover design and promotional images as services.

I discovered that they made bestseller status the year prior with their first list-aiming boxset run in 2018. The boxset is no longer for sale. However, the individual books once bundled together in Playing with Fire: A Forbidden Love Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Box Set are available via the authors.

Why I joined …

Familiarity with their brand, finding out that they were successful the year prior in reaching bestseller status, seeing that the organizers had published books that were selling, discovering the affordable buy-in price and understanding that there was a book marketing bootcamp offered all convinced me that this opportunity would be a great fit for me in 2020.

With two fantasy books published and two more work-in-progress (WIP) stories, I was interested in author collaborations and developing my book marketing skills.

Buy-in cost and contracts …

I was happy that my application was accepted in November 2019. The buy-in was $100 and this money would be used for the cover design and promotional images from a high-level cover designer. Our boxset organizers went with Deranged Doctor Design and they provide phenomenal book covers for the indie author community.

Some might wonder about the buy-in cost. I’ve seen boxset opportunities with no buy-in (usually for a freebie bundle that is for exposure and not for profit). I’ve also seen boxset opportunities with buy-ins ranging from $35 to $350 up front. The affordable buy-in boxsets usually have you committing a lot of time to free and low-cost marketing methods. The affordable buy-in boxsets may also require that you book a paid promotion or two for the set near the release date (spending more of your money on the boxset later). The more expensive buy-in boxsets usually have a bigger marketing budget for cover art, promotional images, paid ads, other promotions and assistants. The more expensive buy-in boxsets may require the same or less of your time.

This buy-in money also represents the author’s serious commitment to writing a great story that is edited, and to heavily promoting the boxset (especially during the month of its release date).

Contracts are sent to the accepted authors and they official agree to have their story published with the organizers’ publishing company. These contracts are very detailed and specific with the title, genre, format, release date, and requirements for all submitted stories. The contracts will cover if the author’s story needs to be new or previously published, the word count, the level of editing and formatting needed as well as when the story is due to the organizers (usually a month before release). These multi-author boxsets are usually limited editions that are only available for four to twelve weeks after their release.

Please note that there are plenty of anthologies (not marketed as multi-author boxsets) that are organized by publishers with open submissions. These anthologies are typically free for a writer to apply to join. The publishers usually ask the writer to submit an unpublished story meeting very specific requirements by a specific due date for consideration. A small group of writers have their stories accepted, contracts are signed, royalties are agreed upon, and/or small advances are paid. In these cases, the writer isn’t involved in other aspects of production and does not have creative control. The writer is not obligated to promote the anthology and ensure its success. These anthologies exist for long periods of time (months or many years), and may or may not become unpublished in the future with the story rights transferring back to the writer.

Multi-author boxset planning …

Open calls, application selection, buy-in payments and signing contracts all take place months before the release date. Commonly, these boxsets are formed a year prior to their release date. As you are starting to see, a lot of planning goes into multi-author boxset creation to produce a high quality reading experience for their readers.

Once I committed to the Soul’s Day Boxset organized by Fire Quill Publishers, I joined their author only Facebook group. This Facebook group is active and I visit it almost daily as nineteen authors (myself included) and a few personal assistants work together for months to produce an incredible, Halloween-themed, horror and paranormal anthology.

Soul’s Day Boxset

Soul’s Day Boxset: Horror and Paranormal Halloween Anthology

This concludes part I of “my first experience contributing to a boxset.” Stay tuned for parts II and III over the coming weeks. This boxset is priced at only $0.99 for a limited time and releases on 10/20/2020.

Best Wishes,
Azaaa Davis

Note: Fire Quill Publishers is not to be confused with Fire Quill Books. They are not the same or affiliate.

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