We’ve talked a lot about books that you’ve decided to re-release, book updates, and getting your rights back from a publisher, but we’ve yet to discuss the book bundle.
No doubt you’ve seen them on sale as you scroll through Amazon, since book bundles are always e-books, with two or more books “bundled” together.
Often, book bundles offer large discounts. Instead of paying about $10 per book, you can buy an entire bundle for well under $20—often for less than $10. But we’ll cover more about pricing in later steps.
Here’s what you need to know: book bundling has become a hot new book marketing trend. Authors are doing it for a variety of reasons, most notably as a way to market a newer book by bundling prior books in the series, or to breathe life into an older book. Let’s walk through how to use this marketing tool to increase your book sales.
What Exactly Is a Book Bundle?
It’s important to note that book bundles are exclusively electronic. You can only use this marketing tool with e-books or a digital file of your print book. Also, the books are always uploaded in one file. This isn’t five or six separate books you’re selling. It’s one e-book electronic file of two or more e-books, bundled together to create one title. Again, book bundles (or at least the ones I’m referring to here) are always e-books.
How Big Is a Bundle?
How many books you bundle really depends on the goals of the bundle, as well as the type of books. As a general rule, each book in the bundle should be fifty pages at least. There isn’t a maximum, but if the total number of pages in your bundle exceeds 700, you may want to think about seperating the bundle into more books, or multiple bundles.
Different Types of Bundles
Not all book bundles are created equally. It’s essential to note that there are different types of book bundles, just as there are different genres of books. Your reasons for bundling will largely depend on which one you choose.
A Creative Way to Revive Older Books
What do you do with books that have been collecting dust on the shelf? Bundle them!
Keep in mind that all you need to bundle is the electronic book file. Let’s say you have an older book, or several, and they were released before e-books were big, and you have no e-file of the book. The solution is simple: create one! By creating an e-book version of a print book, you are now in possession of a brand-new book to promote (technically just the e-book version, but still, it’s a brand new publication date!).
However, if you have several older titles that are in print only, you could roll them out in single e-book form, and then (at some point down the road) bundle them, too. This works especially well for series.
Here’s an example:
At a writer’s conference recently, I spoke to an author who had a fantasy novel nearly 500 pages long. But he only had the print book version. I suggested that he roll out the e-book version of the book (which, remember, is now considered a new book since it’s a fresh edition). Then, maybe three months after his intial release of the e-book, I suggested that he separate it into three or four segments and offer the segments as a bundle, but to also offer the segments of the book individually, like a series. Depending on the novel’s original structure this can look like Part 1, Part 2, and so on. I told him to price the first book in the series at $0.99 or $1.99 as a way to introduce new readers to the story.
By digitizing and bundling your pre-existing book, what you’ve done is taken a long print novel and created a number of new products out of it, each of which catering to a different kind of reader. Some will devour the long version; others would prefer to read in shorter bursts and buy them individually when they’re ready. But then you also have the bundle that can be used to entice those who love “the deal,” which is a HUGE market when it comes to e-book fans.
One Bundle, Multiple Authors
These days I see a lot of authors who are in similar genres collectively bundling their books. In fact, I think it’s going to be a trend, because when authors work together to promote one bundle instead of individual books, the group marketing effort tends to prove more effective.
Generally the books are a similar genre, such as romance novels, mysteries, or books about health and wellness. If you do this, keep in mind that someone will need to manage the money, dividing up the royalties generated from the sale of the bundle. For a popular bundle the effort is totally worth it!
I’ve done this myself, and it’s pretty cool, because the books benefit from the collective promotion. Here’s a look at a book I did with other authors:
When you bundle a set of books like this, you don’t need to “work” with other authors. This isn’t a co-writing project, the extent of your involvement is to bundle your books and market their sale. So, you can breathe a sigh of relief. We’re all busy! This is merely a matter of combining existing files you already have. And we’ll cover this more below.
General Book Bundles
Last, but certainly not least, we have the book bundle for a book (or books) that aren’t really that old, but you’re looking for an excuse to do some fresh new promotion to reach new readers.
You can do this with several books you’ve written as a series. Or, like the science fiction and science fiction-fantasy authors I mentioned, you can also break up one book and bundle it. Candidly, I’d do a little of both. If you have a series, bundle it, but also break up a longer book you already have out. Bundles can be several books or two books, like this one: http://bit.ly/thepublicist
No matter which option you choose, your goal should be to “own the shelf” by having enough individual titles to fill the first page of the virtual shelf at Amazon. Book bundling helps you own your space. Have a look at this author, who has six published books on Amazon, but technically only three titles: http://www.amazon.com/author/christinageorge
The ways to use bundles to revive older titles includes splitting a book up and offering the segments as individual titles or bundling them; collaborating with other authors in your genre to create a treasure trove of stories, novels, or special content for your shared buyer market. The bundle strategy is a useful technique to revive your personal promotion and entice and convert an entire new wave of readers. You can get really creative with a bundle, the sky’s the limit!
The Nuts & Bolts of Bundling
When you’re bundling, keep in mind that you’re only doing this on Amazon—although Barnes & Noble has also recently launched a bundling option, too. But for the purposes of this section, I’m going to focus on Amazon, since that will be your primary sales opportunity.
Because of this, you’ll only be working with the MOBI file, which is Amazon’s e-book file format. And constructing the actual bundle is surprisingly easy.
As I said, you need a MOBI file, but in some cases even a PDF will work if you have a talented interior person. The interior you use should be the full interior, meaning that there’s a title page and all copyright information for each book, because each book in the bundle is a separate book, or it should be. This also protects the individual books and authors by showing the copyright information for each segment.
When you have all the MOBI files (or PDFs) you’ll send them to your interior person and have them combine the files into one book file. You may decide to have a new title page for the new bundle, but other than that, you’d be done. Now it’s time to work on the cover.
Bundle covers are always three-dimensional images. This dynamic perspective doesn’t just draw attention, it also reassures readers that they’re purchasing more than one book. Here are some samples of bundled covers so you can see what I mean:
You don’t need a back cover since it’s not a print book (although you could certainly do a print book if the bundle isn’t too long), but a 3-D cover is a must for these titles so the bundle stands out on Amazon.
The Essentials of Bundling
Remember that the benefit of the single-author bundle is that you own the virtual shelf on Amazon. That’s really key.
But the other piece of this is that you want to link every book to every other book. Ideally, at the end of every book, suggestions will pop up that encourage the audience to keep reading. Something like, “Check out these other titles from the same author!”
You should also have sample chapters in the back of these individual titles and bundles, leading readers to the next book in the series or the next stand-alone title!
Bundle pricing can be all over the place. My suggestion is that when you launch the bundle, price it at $0.99, even for just a day or so, to give it a strong sales spike before adjusting the price.
After you establish an initial sales spike, you can increase the sticker price. Generally bundles are not priced over $5.99, and mostly I see them priced at $2.99 and $3.99.
Whether you take my suggestion or not, keep in mind that your reason to bundle should be what determines how you price. If you’re using the bundle as a loss-leader to get folks to read your other books, then I’d price it low, like $1.99 or $0.99, because even though this price makes you cringe, you’re using it as an attention-getter.
This technique works especially well if you’re sharing a bundle with other authors and are using it to collectively promote your individual work.
The Bottom Line
Book bundles are a great way to revive interest in an older book that doesn’t need updating. And if you’re ready to take your book revival to the next level and are ready to revise and re-release your book, I have a brand-new book that just released. How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book: Simple and Smart Strategies to Sell More Books is now available on Amazon!
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.