- by Rebecca York
As an author, sometimes I feel like I’m caught in a time warp. I remember when my first novel, LOVE IS ELECTED, came out from Silhouette Romance (now Harlequin Romance) in 1982. Back when there were only a few romance lines competing for readers’ attention, LOVE IS ELECTED sold 260,000 copies. Today that would be unheard of for a category romance or for almost any other kind of book except by a must-read, top best-selling author.
Like most authors, over the years I’ve seen my sales numbers slip. But a few years ago at a NINC conference at the TradeWinds Resort in St. Pete Beach, I learned that a good way for published authors to increase their sales was with indie publishing. The lucky authors were the ones who had the rights to their backlists and could go into production quickly. My own backlist was tied up with Harlequin, and I had to write new material to get into the new market.
To date, I’ve sold about 45,000 indie books. But I see the market fragmenting, just as the romance market did. There are a lot of indie books out there—sold for very low prices. And I’m fighting for visibility just like everyone else. Which is why authors are banding together for promotion. Last year I joined the Free ParTay (www.freepartay.com) where we advertise our books for free for a limited period, cross promote, and then raise our price to 99 cents for a short period—or longer.
Another successful promotion technique is the boxed set, a collection of several novels and/or novellas sold together for one low price. I’ve participated in three of them to date, starting with a collection of my own Decorah Security stories (about a detective agency where the agents have paranormal powers or take on paranormal cases). In addition, I’m currently in two boxed sets with other romantic suspense authors. One is THE ULTIMATE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOX set. The other is DANGEROUS ATTRACTION (which includes three other NINC authors: Patricia Rosemoor, Dana Marton and Sharon Hamilton); it came out first, on all e-book platforms, and made both the New York Times and USA Today best-seller lists.
THE ULTIMATE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOX, is the brainchild of J. Thorn, who invited the Free ParTay authors to participate in one of three boxed sets—THE ULTIMATE ROMANCE BOX, THE ULTIMATE MYSTERY – THRILLER – HORROR BOX, and THE ULTIMATE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOX. I’m in the RS one, with one other NINC author, Mary Leo. All the “Ultimate” collections are being sold exclusively on Amazon, which means they’re not eligible for the New York Times or USA Today lists. But they can be offered free as a promotional tool.
The idea behind the boxed sets is to advertise each of the participating authors. We all put in a full-length novel that had been previously published on Amazon. Most are also part of a series. If readers like the entry, they may buy the rest of the books. Because the price is way below the cost of the individual books—only 99c in the case of THE ULTIMATE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE BOX—it’s a great way for readers to find new authors and a great way for indie authors to reach a wider audience.