Do you want to put together an anthology, boxed set, or ebook bundle, but aren't sure where to start, nor how to effectively handle promotion? Or are you an author interested in collaborating with other authors on a project, but don't know what this will entail?
Whether you're creating a collection or an author participating in one, Bundle Up! can help you! The more aware you are of what's involved, the more efficient and productive you—and the project—will be.
Today's software tools make it faster and easier to create collections of stories and books than ever before. They also provide new and innovative ways to create—and promote—these projects.
If you're an author and are considering participating in a multi-author collection, this book will provide you information about what to expect, how to contribute to promotion, and how to make the most out of your participation in the project.
If you're a curator organizing a multi-author collection, this book will walk you through the many decisions you'll need to make and will help you make your project more efficient and successful.
"Jamie Ferguson knows what she's talking about when it comes to bundle and anthology curation. These collaborative works require effective organization, communication, and vision. You have to put in the time, and Jamie goes above and beyond. When I get an invitation from Jamie, I jump on it without hesitation; she's that effective as a curator."– Allyson Longueira, Publisher of WMG Publishing, Inc.
"I've been honored to participate in several of Jamie Ferguson's bundles. From start to finish, she demonstrated a deep knowledge of the process, including all the tasks needed to make for a successful launch. If there's one person I'd ask for guidance on putting together a bundle or box set, it would be Jamie."– Eric K. Edstrom
"Jamie Ferguson was the first person I know who pushed herself into the new world of bundles and other collaborative projects. She knows her stuff. Beyond that, she's a complete joy to work with."– Ron Collins
"Jamie is a genius at organization and planning. I always look forward to getting an invitation for one of her collections."– DeAnna Knippling
"I had never seen a professional cat herder in action until I saw Jamie curate a bundle."
"Bundle curation is a curious mix of left-brain / right-brain. Jamie excels at the artistic aspects while systematically keeping the production, publication, and marketing processes moving forward smoothly."– Chuck Heintzelman, Founder of BundleRabbit.com
"Jamie has an eye for detail that is unsurpassed, which makes each bundle a thing of beauty with a shining patina of professionalism. She has a good grip on the process and manages timelines and her authors with wit and gentle prodding. Her deft touch at editing makes her a pleasure to work with."– Thea Hutcheson
"When I graduated to trying to set up my own bundle, Jamie was the person I went to for advice. She was generous with her time and knowledge and I'm not surprised that she could write a book on bundling! She really is the bundle queen, having put together many of them. She's not afraid to try different marketing strategies and organization. She let me know what worked for her and what things hadn't, but might work for someone else. Her research into doing bundles and marketing them was thorough and I was more than grateful for the time she spent with me when I had questions."– Bonnie Elizabeth (curator of the Fantastic Feline Heroes bundle)
What does a curator do, anyway?
The curator handles things like defining the vision and theme for the project, selecting authors and stories, setting the price and, depending on the collection, designing the book cover and formatting the ebook and/or print book. They may hire someone else to do the cover and formatting, as well.
If you're using an ebook bundling site, some aspects of what you'll need to do for your project will be dictated by that site. For example, if you're creating a project using BundleRabbit, you'll need to provide a header image which will be used as the background for the project's page on BundleRabbit. If you're using StoryBundle or Humble Bundle, you won't need to provide artwork, but you will need to define the pricing tiers and select which books go in each tier.
If the project is not an ebook bundle, you'll need to provide a fully formatted ebook and/or print book, as well as a cover. For a print book, you'll need the full cover (including a front cover, back cover, and spine), not just the front cover image.
All of this involves time on the curator's part and, depending on the project, can involve a financial investment as well. The actual amount of work and the monetary cost to the curator vary depending on factors like whether or not the book is offered in ebook and/or print, whether or not a bundling site is used, and the amount of and type of promotion the curator chooses to provide.
Does the curator have to include a story of their own?
Curators often include one or more of their own stories in the collections they curate, but this is not required.
Plenty of people create multi-author projects because they enjoy organizing collections, editing, or are interested in making money, whether for themselves or to donate to a cause.
How far ahead should you start planning your project?
If you're putting together a collection of existing ebooks, there's not a great deal of work involved for either you or the authors, since all of the ebooks already exist. In this type of situation, you can get a project published in a matter of weeks. Just make sure to factor in time to create the collection's cover (if one is needed) and write the sales copy, and for all the authors to accept the contract and provide their ebooks. You may need more time in order to put together promotional material as well. However, the project can be ready to launch pretty quickly. If you're working with a bundling site like StoryBundle or Humble Bundle, the site may require more lead time if they schedule ebook bundles in advance. They may also limit the number of bundles they publish at any given time.
If your project will include new stories or if it's an ebook bundle in which the authors may need to create covers and format ebooks for stories that were previously not sold as stand-alone titles, you'll need to add in sufficient time for the authors to prepare their submissions. Make sure to keep in mind that different people have different skill sets and schedules. It might only take you a few hours to design a cover and format an ebook, but someone else need twice that amount of time or might be too busy to work on theirs for a while.
Also consider how much time it will take you to put together any promotional material. If you're planning on posting interviews with the authors the week of launch, you'll probably want to prepare those ahead of time.
I prefer planning collections quite far in advance. I generally like to begin planning at least six months before launch and have curated several projects where I started planning over a year in advance. Each of my projects to date have included a few reprints, but most of the authors have written brand-new stories, and I like to give the authors time to write without having to rush. The extra time also gives me a chance to find a replacement author if someone has to pull out of the project unexpectedly. I also like having enough time to make sure I'm happy with the artwork, the sales copy, and have put together at least some of the material I'll need for promotion.