SFFMP 62: Anthologies, New Covers, and Creating Boxed Sets to Increase Sales with C. Gockel

We had our first repeat guest on the show today, urban fantasy author Carolynn Gockel (writing as C. Gockel) from Episode 19, where we chatted about permafree books, getting started on fan fiction sites, using Tumblr to promote, and where to buy sponsorships. Carolynn has been busy with a lot of marketing stuff in the last year, and she’s also jumped into science fiction, so we talked about some of what she’s done and learned recently.

We discussed:

  • The promotional (and monetary) perks of putting a short story into an anthology with other authors in your genre, all of whom throw their marketing weight behind the release.
  • Starting your own multi-author boxed sets and whether it’s better to do permafree sets or 99-centers.
  • How to snag a Bookbub ad on a multi-author anthology.
  • The challenges of launching a new series in a different genre from your flagship series.
  • Having one series in Kindle Unlimited (KDP Select) and one wide (she recommends that new authors start out in KDP Select right now).
  • Getting approached by audiobook producers and if it’s better to sell your audio rights versus spending the money producing your own audiobooks.
  • Whether investing in new covers resulted in an uptick in sales and was worth it for Carolynn.
  • Her adventures in Facebook advertising — is it worth using Facebook to promote permafree Book 1s? Boxed sets? Multi-author boxed sets?
  • Lastly, she let us know that she writes because, “If I wasn’t an author, I’d probably be a nasty internet troll.” We all have our motivations!

Grab her first book in the I Bring the Fire series for free from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, or Apple. You can also check out the first ebook in her science fiction series, Archangel Down.

Visit her online at C. Gockel Writes.


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  • Aaron

    Thanks for the interview. I really like the idea of doing an anthology of short stories with other authors and using it as a lead-in to an existing series.

  • Scott

    Love the comment halfway through on “bootstrapping it” from a $15 original investment. That was exactly my mentality from the beginning– I wanted my self-publishing endeavor to pay for itself all the way. After my first few books failed to gain any traction I began to second-guess myself and listen to the entrepreneur-land voices out there saying you can’t make money without investing money (usually someone else’s). But then I released a small series in a niche genre, they took off, and now it’s pure profit with no debt hole to claw my way out of. Now I can roll some of those profits back into improving covers, editing, promotions, and future releases, and just keep building from here.

    I also want to give a shout-out to Lindsey, Joe, and Jeffrey. I love what you’re doing here; these interviews are very helpful. General self-pub talk is great, general marketing talk is great, but listening in on an on-going discussion between self-pubbers in my specific genres is incredibly valuable. I hope you’re getting enough out of all this to make it worth continuing, because it’s very much worth it for me!

  • This show was so good, I listened to it twice. Wonderful advice on marketing. Your guest mentioned that the easiest way for a single book to get something going is KU. I have a trilogy that I’m trying to get traction for in the wider market. So I’m holding back on KU for that one. But I have a new book one of a new series (strongly thematically related- spiritual warfare) that I’m going back and forth on regarding KU. One moment I’m like, “Yeah, KU it is.” The next I’m saying, “But then what happens if KU readers who would have purchased the book instead read it free?

    In your experience, is the cannibalization fear warranted?


    Eric M Hill
    Author of Spiritual Warfare Novels

    • SFFpodcast

      Heya, Eric! Glad you found the show helpful. Interestingly, right now, you may actually make as much on a borrow as you do on a sale, unless it’s a shorter book. If it’s a longer book, you could make more. You never know when the rules would change, but right now borrows can be as good as sales.

      I probably do get a few more sales on the pen name book that isn’t in KU (because it’s in an anthology that’s wide), but I think that to some extent you target a different audience with the KU folks. They’ve spent their $10 a month, and that’s their book-buying budget, so they might not be a buyer anyway.