Bundles and other beasts

DeAnna Knippling of Wonderland Press interviewed me about Bundle Up!

In addition to being my interviewer, DeAnna edited Bundle Up, so she knew exactly what to ask about. 🙂 She started off asking me about “bundles and other beasts.” This question that seems straightforward, but is actually more challenging than it appears…

When I first started thinking about writing this book (thanks to a suggestion from Dayle A. Dermatis, who’s participated in quite a few of the bundles and anthologies I’ve organized), I’d just put together my first ebook bundle, and was working on my second. I didn’t feel like I knew anywhere near enough at that point, but could tell that I’d eventually learn enough to write at least a teeny tiny book. (The book ended up at 155 pages, so I clearly underestimated how large it would end up becoming!)

At that time BundleRabbit, the website I use to package story collections and distribute royalty payments to the authors, only supported ebook bundles. In an ebook bundle each author creates their own cover, writes their own sales copy, and puts everything into an ebook. BundleRabbit takes all of the individual ebooks and creates one big ebook, and then uploads the files to Amazon and other sales channels.

A year or so later, BundleRabbit added support for “collaborative projects.” For this type of project, the person (or people) organizing it create the ebook and/or print book. This feature opened the door to many different types of collaborations—anthologies, novels written by two or more authors, etc. I had a few short story bundles in the pipeline, and after getting the okay from the authors I was working with, I switched them to anthologies.

I much prefer the anthology format for collections of shorter works. If you’re reading a bundle of short stories, even though there’s only one ebook file, each individual story has its own cover and formatting style. For example, one author might include their cover, story, and an about the author page. The next might include a sample chapter from their next book, or a long section thanking their cats for helping them write the book, and so on. (Nothing against cats—they can be very helpful with writing books. My cats have always helped out by sitting on my keyboard, or filling up my computer fan with fur.) I find the inclusion of covers and the different formatting to be a bit jarring in a collection of shorter stories, whereas it doesn’t bother me if the stories are longer.

Because I like the anthology format for the short stories, that’s now the only format I use for short story collections I organize. However, I still participate in ebook bundles other people organize, whether they’re short story bundles or bundles of books.

Why does all of this matter? Because my original plan was to write a book about organizing bundles of ebooks. Instead, I wrote about how to put together ebook bundles—AND anthologies, story collections, and boxed sets in both ebook and print. My simple how-to book was no longer just about working with ebook bundles, but instead about how to organize a slew of different kinds of multi-author projects. And then, while I was in the middle of the manuscript, I realized a lot of what I was writing applied to single-author collections as well!

On top of all that, I realized that the different types of projects were not clearly delineated, so I had to be extra careful with the way I worded things. For example, if you create an ebook bundle using StoryBundle.com, your bundle is only available for purchase at StoryBundle, and only for a specified amount of time. If instead you create an ebook bundle using BundleRabbit.com, your bundle is not available for sale at BundleRabbit (at present), but can be offered for sale on Amazon, Apple Books, etc., and can be available for sale indefinitely. So I couldn’t say “do X with ebook bundles, and Y with anthologies” because there were too many variables.

This is why DeAnna’s first question was a hard one to answer. 🙂 You can find the interview on DeAnna’s site.

Bundle Up! is available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and a few other places, and you can find it on Goodreads.