On February 26th, my fantasy epic The Book of Deacon Trilogy was officially included in something called The Indie Fantasy Bundle. This is the latest offering from the good folks at StoryBundle.com, and it is the second time that I’ve worked with them (the first being the inclusion of my sci-fi books in their inaugural bundle, The Big Bang Bundle). When I contacted Jena about potentially writing a guest post to help publicize the bundle, she suggested it would be interesting to hear about StoryBundle from the point of view of a participant, so brace yourself as I share with you the ins and outs of the bundling lifestyle.
First, if you’re unfamiliar with StoryBundle, here’s what they do in a nutshell: Every few months they release a bundle centered around a certain theme—sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc. These books represent a curated, hand picked list. Each has been reviewed by StoryBundle staff, and only books with a high enough overall quality (a mixture of style, plot, format, grammar) are included in the bundle. The bundle runs for a limited time, and buyers get to choose how much they want to pay (between $1 and $100). You can decide how much goes to the authors or the site, and you can even specify that you want a portion of your purchase to go to charity.
Okay, that was a pretty big nutshell. (We’ll assume it was a coconut.)
So what is it like to be in a bundle? Actually, it has been a really positive experience. Even being contacted by the bundle folks after submitting your book feels like a victory, because it means that your writing has been put to the test and found to be worthwhile. Once the wheels start turning, the one word that sums it up best is “collaborative.” After years of being a one-man show, trying your best to push your book and improve your craft alone, you are suddenly part of a team. The bundle organizers and the authors all work together and pool their resources to try to make the bundle as successful as it can be. “What sort of ways can we get the word out there?” “How can we connect with the readers?” “What new features and fun contests can we offer?” Everyone puts his or her two cents in, and I cannot emphasize enough how useful it has been to have a meeting of the minds with a group of people in much the same situation. Being an indie is often about trial and error, and connecting with a batch of other authors exposes you to the trials and errors of a half dozen other people, compounding your know-how and allowing you to contribute what you’d learned on your own.
Looking back on the first bundle, was it worth it? Absolutely! (Heck, I wouldn’t be back for another one if I didn’t like the first one.) For me, StoryBundle has been a success on every conceivable level. I have expanded my network of contacts, I’ve gotten my name out there in a way that I never could have alone, I’ve reached new readers, and I’ve gotten paid to do it! Within the first few days of the Big Bang Bundle I was getting tweets and emails from readers all over the world telling me that they were loving my book so far and thanking me for giving them a chance to read it without breaking the bank. Even now, months after it ended, I find myself getting reviews, comments, and other feedback crediting the Bundle for leading them to my writing. Many of those readers continued from my sci-fi books to the fantasy stories that are now making their own appearance in a bundle. The Big Bang Bundle led me to do my first AMA, my first author chat, and motivated me to reach further and try harder to spread the word about myself and my peers than I ever had before. I still follow all of my fellow Big Bang authors, and I continue to buy all the bundles that come along. Though I’ve only been at it for a few days, this new bundle is looking to be just as fruitful on all fronts.
Well, that’s all the insight that I can scrape together. I hope I’ve given you a glimpse of the how the StoryBundle ticks, and how it’s treated me. I’ll subscribe to this post and keep an eye on the comments for a while, so if you’ve got any more questions, feel free to comment and I’ll pop in periodically to answer.
Thanks for reading!