Boxed Sets and Writing Across Genres

I’ve been through a crazy week here. Mom is now recov­er­ing from her flu/asthmatic bron­chi­tis and I have my writing/reading time back piece by piece. It’s been a week of cook­ing, clean­ing, dog-walk­ing, and brief inter­net time.

I’m hav­ing a ter­ri­ble aller­gy to bright sun­light. My eyes are swol­len, teary and my nose is run­ning. I must stay indoors to avoid bright places.

My depres­sion is back and with each sun­ny day it grows stronger, turn­ing bright spring col­ors into a rich tapes­try that just sits there — it reg­is­ters, but it brings no emo­tion­al respon­se, its stim­uli make no sense. I want to hate it, but even that is not pos­si­ble in this case. Noth­ing is fun, noth­ing is inter­est­ing, noth­ing mat­ters. Much. A bit, yes. If Godzil­la would be destroy­ing my town this very moment in an epic bat­tle with the Army guys and pieces of torn flesh and human body parts were scat­tered all over my front yard, I’d be like, oh, ok, nice.

Sometimes I want to play lotto or Bingo. I'm guessing it would be therapeutic.
This is not my brain pic­tured, but some­times I want to play lot­to or Bin­go. I’m guess­ing it would be ther­a­peu­tic.

I man­aged to sneak my new sto­ry to my beta-read­ers pri­or to this mess, but I still haven’t had any results from there, which is not quite as I had planned it to hap­pen. It won’t delay my edits or release, but I’m not a hap­py camper either. Next time I won’t ask my friends to beta-read for me. I’d go for ran­dom folk on Goodreads instead.

I’m back on track with writ­ing my blog posts for April A-Z (my the­me is World­build­ing in SF and all stuff relat­ed to that). I’ve done three so far. Not fast enough, I know. But with my depressed brain I’m actu­al­ly ter­ri­fied to write any­thing and not bore peo­ple to death, because engag­ing is not what I would call myself right now. (Though I’d love to have that super­pow­er.)

And hey, I had no back pains and headaches for two whole days. A bonus!

Mean­while I’ve been think­ing about how weird it feels being a hybrid gen­re author and what to do with mul­ti­ple-gen­re box sets. Mul­ti-gen­re and mul­ti-author boxed sets allow read­ers to expe­ri­ence the whole array of new worlds all in one pack­age. Should I try that? Should I drop the idea?

In my writ­ing I don’t stick to a par­tic­u­lar gen­re, though sci­ence fic­tion is my main field. I’m not alone and I’m not the only one who’s been think­ing about if it’s a good idea not stick­ing to a sin­gle gen­re. I mix var­i­ous fun things like hard sci­ence fic­tion, space opera, adven­ture, humor, and add a dash of PG-rat­ed love sto­ry or even going full-scale erotic romance, depend­ing on my pro­tag­o­nists’ ages. More impor­tant­ly, I like read­ing sim­i­lar stuff. I need smart and spicy in the same pack — just not ‘for­mu­la spice’ — and I’m cer­tain­ly not alone among 7 bil­lion and count­ing peo­ple who enjoy bold writ­ing in all its glo­ry. If you don’t cringe at non-flow­ery body-part names and physics/math games, we can be friends. Real­ly.

I was look­ing into boxed sets for a while now, and I made a deci­sion that I cer­tain­ly do not want to try mul­ti-author ones yet. But what about stuff­ing polar­ized works into a sin­gle set? How would hard SF and erotic romance fit togeth­er, even if they belong to a sin­gle series? There are read­ers who like that kind of dynam­ic and embrace both kinds of sto­ries. There are those who would love the first, mild part and think that the sec­ond, raunchy part is too much to take (the oppo­site won’t hap­pen since the­se sto­ries are a sequence, not stand-alone.)

I would cer­tain­ly want to try mak­ing a boxed set, but as an ebook only (basi­cal­ly, a sin­gle file with a full seri­al of 206 000 words.) It seems like hav­ing both options — books sold sep­a­rate­ly and as a boxed set — would be a good strat­e­gy, either for a lim­it­ed peri­od of time or per­ma­nent­ly. Both options should exist as there are peo­ple who won’t risk get­ting a bunch of books they don’t know if they will like. 

I cur­rent­ly have two com­plet­ed nov­els and a box set can help cross-pro­mote them (and show­case my han­dling of the gen­res I play with.) Pros would be that peo­ple will get the whole seri­al and prob­a­bly read my whole work. It will be cheap­er for them than to buy the books one by one. Cons are that I will get a lot less mon­ey than with two books (because nobody would buy a boxed set if it’s cheap­er to buy the books one by one), and I can alien­ate some­one with sex sce­nes in the sec­ond book.

Oh well.

How writ­ing in mul­ti­ple gen­res been work­ing out for you? So, what do you think are PROS and CONS of mul­ti-gen­re boxed sets, sin­gle-author or mul­ti-author? Do you have expe­ri­ence with boxed sets? 

Jeno Marz
JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF trilogy. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.

2 Comments

  1. Sor­ry to hear about the depres­sion. 🙁

    I have no idea about boxed sets, espe­cial­ly mixed gen­res. It’s the first time I heard about them, to be hon­est…

    1. But the ques­tion is, would you join forces with oth­er authors who would invite you to add your nov­el to their boxed set? That’s how mul­ti-author stuff rolls, accord­ing to my obser­va­tions. It’s not much dif­fer­ent from short-sto­ry antholo­gies, only in size. Imag­ine box­es that con­tain 1.2 mil­lion words and who aren’t GRRMs. I’m guess­ing peo­ple read that, or read select­ed nov­els from the box. That’s one of the cons: as in anthol­o­gy, your sto­ry can be skipped.

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