Thursday, August 16, 2012

Should you publish an omnibus?

What in the world is an omnibus?  One of those funny looking road vehicles designed to carry passengers that has rounded corners and a eee,eee sounding horn?

That's not the sort of thing I'm talking about.  I'm talking about a book comprising of related works often called an omnibus edition, or simply an omnibus  For instance, with my Willden Trilogy, the omnibus consists of three books wrapped into one.

May or may not be an omnibus

What is the plural of omnibus?

I don't know!  omnibi?  omnibuses? omni . . . oh, quit distracting me.  Sheesh.

Well, should I publish one?  Get to the point.

Maybe yes, maybe no.  It's complicated.

That's not an answer.

Quit interrupting me!  Egads.

An omnibus can be an effective tool to revive interest in a series after sales have begun to decrease.  I would not recommend creating one right away.  My opinion in this comes from experimenting.

Reeeeaaaalllyyyy . . .

No!  Not that kind of experimenting!  Egads!  I mean that I published my first trilogy in omnibus form about a month after publishing the third book in the trilogy.  I've come to the conclusion that it was a grave mistake that may have cost me in the long run.

Here's the key:  It splits up your rankings.  I've sold about a thousand copies of my omnibus.  I've sold about six hundred pairs of Anilyia and Kethril.  Every time I get a sale, my ranking goes up.  If it goes high enough, I get onto bestseller lists and my books become more visible, resulting in more sales.
By publishing an omnibus, I've prevented my books from achieving high enough rankings to get me noticed.

Another issue is that it splits reviews.  Book two has 5 reviews, book three had 4 reviews and the omnibus has 7 reviews.  Reviews are important to get noticed.  Those seven reviews from the omnibus would have helped greatly on the other two books.
Why are you telling us this?

I've decided to unpublish "The Complete Willden Trilogy", which is the omnibus of the Willden Trilogy.  I apologize to my fans for removing this option, but it's necessary if I want to grow a large enough readership to be able to make a living with the writing.  It's my intention to bring the omnibus back in a few years.

The secondary reason is because I want other authors to understand the biggest consequence of publishing an omnibus right away.

People are going to think something's wrong with you if you keep talking to yourself like this.

Whatever.  Here are the books of the Willden Trilogy.  Rojuun is free. :) (click on the picture for Smashwords)


Amazon editions:

All my best,

John H. Carroll


Kate Policani said...

You make a really good point! Thanks for the insight. I have just started my first series, so your tip comes in time for me. I'm going to add Rojuun to my reading list!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate!

You are very welcome. I hope your series goes well. Writing is such a blast. And thank you for downloading. :)

Mark said...

So to be clear, if I have only been writing for two months on kindle select, and I have a 6-book series on nerf-herding, how long should I wait to bundle them all?

Does this also apply to non-fiction books as well? I've also got four computer books I was thinking about putting together in a collection, but should I wait on that as well? They're only 2.99 each. Again, they have been out only a couple of months.

John H. Carroll said...

It will be different for each author. In many cases, it's a complete guessing game. I'd give it more than a few months though.

See what promotions you can do to get some sales. Try to get your rankings up. If the rankings go down and you're only selling a couple per week, then I'd go ahead and put them together in a collection and promote that to see how high you can get the rankings.

Once you get high enough in the rankings, your books start making lists that attract readers. That increases the rankings even more.

I can't tell you for certain when to publish a collection. Sometimes you just go with your best guess. :)