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. 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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