Story bundling for curators: How to choose authors to invite

If you’re curating (aka organizing) a story bundle, how you select authors to invite to participate is entirely up to you. You can publish a call for submissions, or invite only authors whose names begin with the letter M, or who were born under a full moon – anything is fair game.

If you don’t have a firm plan, here are some things you might consider when deciding who to invite.


A bundle is essentially a box set where each participating author provides a cover, formatted ebook, sales copy, and a short biography. Not only should you consider the quality of an author’s writing, you’re also relying on them to provide a good cover and a well-formatted story. The curator will often not see the finished ebook until launch, and that’s not really a great time to realize an author forgot to add a copyright page, or has an unprofessional-looking cover. So when you’re considering who to invite, it’s worth checking out their existing covers and verifying that they know how to format ebooks.

Not only is this important for you as the curator, it’s also important because you should be considerate and respectful of the other authors who are participating in the bundle. They’re trusting that you will ensure their stories are in a collection they can be proud of.

A related consideration is whether or not an author has indie-published previously. If not, you may need to help them find someone to format their ebook and/or design their cover, or else help them yourself. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this – there are many talented authors out there who don’t know the difference between an epub and a mobi. But helping someone else may take more of your time, so make sure you feel comfortable with what you’re committing to.

Note that there are different types of bundles, so what you need from an author may change depending on the bundle and the site you’re going through. For example, BundleRabbit will soon be offering a collaboration feature, so the considerations with that will differ because the authors will coordinate on their own to create the ebook and cover.


Do you, as the curator, want to handle all of the marketing? Or do you want the participating authors to help out?

Generally a bundle’s authors do things like post about the bundle on Facebook or Twitter, announce it in their newsletters, and/or write about it on their blogs. If you’re inviting an author who you know won’t do much, if any, promotion, are you doing so because they have a name/following that will help draw in readers? Because their writing is so good you don’t care if they promote the bundle? Because this is a friend, or an author you admire, and you want them to participate just because it makes you happy?

All of these situations are fine – just make sure you’ve thought through your reasons ahead of time. For example, if you plan to do the bulk of the bundle’s marketing on Facebook, and are expecting the authors to help out, it might not make sense to invite an author who doesn’t have a Facebook account.


Do you want to invite authors based on their writing ability, or on whether or not they have already published stories that fit the bundle’s theme – or both?

Suppose you’re curating an urban fantasy bundle. You might want to invite authors who already have multiple novels published in that genre in the hope that the bundle will appeal to the authors’ established fan bases. Or you might invite all the successful urban fantasy authors you know, then open the remaining slots up to people who you know will be able to write high quality stories that fit the theme. And, of course, you can just ask whoever you want regardless of what they’ve written and/or published in the past. 🙂 The key is to make sure you know what you’re doing and why.

However you choose to select who to invite to participate, it’s important to remember that a bundle is always a team effort to some degree. So whatever factors are important to you should be considered up front, not after you’ve invited someone and then realized they’re not a good fit.

Think through what’s important to you early on, and you – and the authors – will be happier with the end result.


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Bundle story: “Shadow of the Midnight Moon” by Eric Kent Edstrom

Take Stranger Things and blend it with Buffy. That’s the spirit of the Sal Van Sleen adventures, a YA paranormal adventure series featuring a funny and mischievous hero who must face down the forces of evil threatening his small home town.

In “Shadow of the Midnight Moon,” the discovery of a magical note starts Sal on a race to save his girlfriend Becky from the most terrifying threat he’s faced yet … himself!

“Shadow of the Midnight Moon” iis in the Witches’ Brew bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

Eric is the author of the science fiction and fantasy series The Undermountain Saga and The Scion Chronicles. He lives in Wisconsin with his family.

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How – and why – to put author information in your personal Facebook profile

Why should your personal Facebook profile contain your author information?

If you’re like most authors, you’ve probably used your personal Facebook profile to join writing-related groups, ‘liked’ Facebook pages that relate to a topic you write about, and so on. These groups and pages almost certainly contain members/followers who aren’t connected to you personally, so those people can only see things in your profile that you’ve made publicly available. That’s great, but it falls down if you want people to be able to find, say, your author website.

As a real-world example, about six months ago I was looking for authors to participate in a ghost-themed story bundle. I know plenty of talented people who could write great ghost stories, but I decided it would be fun to find a few new writers to work with who regularly write ghost stories, like Mark Leslie. I wandered through the various Facebook groups I’m in, found a few authors who sounded like they might fit the bill, and then went to look them up. Most of them either didn’t have links to their author websites on their personal profiles. I was able to find a few of them by googling, but not all, and after a while it got to be too time-consuming to try to track people down. I’m sure I missed a few authors who would have been perfect.

For the record, when I went to look at my own profile I discovered my author website was not visible to people who weren’t already connected to me. 🙂 But it is now!

How do you make author information on your personal profile public?

Here’s how to set your author website and social media links publicly available in your personal Facebook profile.

  • Go to your personal Facebook profile.
  • Click the ‘About’ button below your cover photo.
  • Click on ‘Contact and Basic Info.’
  • Make your website public.
    • Hover over ‘Websites’ in the ‘Websites and Social Links’ section. An ‘Edit’ button will appear to the right of this line. Click it.
    • Enter the URL to your website, if you haven’t already. Note that you can list multiple websites – for example, you might write under multiple pen names, and have one site for each.
    • Set the visibility to ‘Public’ by using the dropdown link.
    • Click ‘Save Changes.’
  • Make your social media links public.
    • Hover over ‘Social Links’ in the ‘Websites and Social Links’ section. An ‘Edit’ button will appear to the right of this line. Click it.
    • Enter whatever social media links you want to add. Keep in mind that the visibility setting will apply to all of them.
    • Set the visibility to ‘Public’ by using the dropdown link.
    • Click ‘Save Changes.’

You can verify that this worked by viewing what your profile looks like to the public (i.e. anyone, even people who are not connected to you).

  • Click the 3 dots to the right of ‘View Activity Log,’ which is on the bottom right side of your cover photo.
  • In the dropdown that pops up, click ‘View As.’
  • Click on ‘About,’ and verify that the information you specified as public is displayed.

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Bundle story: “Chocolate Alchemy” by Lisa Silverthorne

Tucked in a tiny corner of Pike’s Market is Starling’s Chocolates, where a sorceress conjures magical confections to make people remember their fondest memories or forget their worst moments. Or even fall in love.

Everything was just fine until Mr. Corporate America walked into Orriana’s shop.

Will he buy her out or steal her heart?


“Chocolate Alchemy” is in the Fantasy in the City bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

Lisa has published over seventy short stories in the fantasy, science fiction, romance, and mystery genres. She has appeared in dozens of anthologies as well as several volumes of Fiction River. Her first short story collection, The Sound of Angels, is available from Wildside Press and her first novel, Isabel’s Tears, was published in 2015 from Elusive Blue Fiction.

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Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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Interview: Rebecca M. Senese, on “The Haunting of Melsbury Manor”

Now available via Bundle Rabbit as part of the Haunted bundle!

Find the author at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Greetings! I am freelance writer, editor, and designer DeAnna Knippling; I am interviewing authors for for Blackbird publishing because a) Jamie knows me, and b) I love having the chance to ask writers nerdy questions. EEE!

Today’s author is Rebecca Senese, whose story “The Haunting of Melsbury Manor” is available in the Haunted bundle on BundleRabbit and other sites.

The questions:

Is this story really polite enough for a Canadian? I kid, I kid… You’re a Canadian from Toronto with a history of participating in haunted houses. Tell us what it’s like to get involved in a haunted house and scare the crap out of people. I’m assuming that it’s a blast. How did you get involved in the glamorous, high-stakes culture of haunted houses?

Answer: It is a blast to get dressed up in a scary costume and scare the crap out of people! I’ve had people fall over, gangs of boys grab onto each other for dear life, and even a huge, hulking guy who looked like he could squish me with one hand grab his chest like he was going to have a heart attack! Then when I started to follow him, he almost squealed and tried to push past his friends to get away.

Such fun!

I’ve always loved horror and haunted houses. Over ten years ago, some friends of mine were running a haunt north of Toronto and over a period of a few years, I slowly became more involved. After they closed, I’ve volunteered at other haunts in and around Toronto. I’m also involved with the haunt community, helping to run the Canadian Haunters Association (

Funny thing, one of the very first stories I remember writing in elementary school was about a haunted house. It was about a group of kids exploring it and had a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy, the Frankenstein monster, and a gorilla in it, because at the time I thought gorillas were scary. Fortunately, that gem is lost in time.

What brought you to write this particular story—other than needing to submit a story for Jamie’s “Haunted” bundle?

Answer: I actually wrote this story a number of years ago. When Jamie mentioned the bundle to me, I immediately thought of this story because it is a different kind of haunting story. What brought me to write it is lost to the mists of my memory, sad to say. I do remember wanting to tell this story from a particular point of view. Saying any more might spoil it.

Your story, “The Haunting of Melsbury Manor,” is full of twists, more twists in one short story than most writers attempt in a novel. I was effusing to you about them. Do you normally think of stories in terms of plot twists? Are those the stories that you love best? I hate to ask you about your favorite plot twist in your own work—who wants a plot twist to be given away?!?—but I do want to hear about what place you feel they have in your stories.

Answer: I don’t usually think about plot twists as such in stories. For me, I’m more concentrated on my character and what’s happening to them and how they react to it. So if a twist does come up, I think about it in terms of its effect on my character. As far as “The Haunting of Melsbury Manor,” some of those twists are more reveals about the character. That sort of thing is very satisfying to me. It makes the plot twist do double work, creating more action or drama and revealing something more about the character. When I can manage that, it’s a double whammy and I like it!


I’m struggling to ask this question without giving anything away. “The Haunting of Melsbury Manor” seems to be about building families based on mutual support rather than blood ties. Where do you get your sense of family from? Friends, relatives, both?

Answer: My sense of family is that it is who they are. For some people, they’re born into a family that treats them that way and for others they have to go outside the biological relatives to build their own family. And for others, it’s a combination of the two. In older societies, you had the extended family which included the tribe, not just the parents and siblings. I like that idea a lot because of the idea of defining family as connecting to more people rather than defining family as an exclusion of others, which is how the so-called ‘nuclear’ family appears to me. I much prefer inclusion rather than exclusion.

You have a number of much darker horror books out, as well as science fiction and mystery. Do you mentally sort out what kind of book you’re writing before you write it, or do you just sit down and see what happens? I’ve known you for some time, and it’s always kind of surprising and fun to see you spread further and further into different genres.

Answer: I always pretend to know what I’m writing. 🙂 I often start out assuming I’m writing a certain type of story but then the story will have its own idea of how it’s going to go. Other times it will actually stay the same type that I start out writing. Other times it will morph into something completely different. So you could say I do both! I mentally start with an idea of what the story will be in mind and then I follow where it takes me, wherever that is.

and last but not least, the bonus question:

Is there any note that you’d like to leave your readers on? (Hint: the additional promo question.)

Answer: Check out my website at for more paranormal stories. Two of my other ghostly tales are “Leg Me Call You Sweetheart” and “Snow Bind”, both listed on my site with links to your favourite ebook retailer. Sign up for my newsletter at and receive the “Rebecca M. Senese Sampler” for free, featuring science fiction, mystery, horror, and urban fantasy.

Rebecca M. Senese weaves words of horror, mystery and science fiction in Toronto, Ontario. She garnered an Honorable Mention in “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” and has been nominated for numerous Aurora Awards. Her work has appeared in Fiction River: Visions of the Apocalypse, Fiction River: Sparks, Fiction River: Recycled Pulp, Tesseracts 16: Parnassus Unbound, Imaginarium 2012, Tesseracts 15: A Case of Quite Curious Tales, Ride the Moon, Hungar Magazine, On Spec, TransVersions, Future Syndicate, and Storyteller, amongst others. Find her at

DeAnna Knippling is a freelance writer, editor, and book designer living in Colorado. She runs Wonderland Press, a micropublisher of curious fiction and non-fiction for iconoclasts.


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Bundle story: “Never After” by Jaime Lee Moyer

“You wake and remember why he haunts you.
Blood washes off in the shower. You cry and never feel clean.”

Lillian Bryan goes to the office each morning and tries to ignore her co-workers’ stares, and her boss’ suspicions. She wants to believe that the battles she fights each night aren’t real, that it’s all a vivid dream. Lily tries to pretend that the nightmare will end; that she’ll stop waking up stiff and sore and bloody, haunted by the memory of those dying all around her. Haunted even more by how quickly she heals, and that she can’t seem to die.

The truth is she’s starting to forget living a life without fear and pain, or without ghosts staring in silent reproach. What’s happening to her is real, and Lily can’t break free of the nightmare.

Not without help.

“Never After” is in the Haunted bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

Jaime Lee Moyer lives in a land of cactus, cowboys, and rhinestones, while dreaming of tall trees and the ocean. She writes novels about murder and betrayal, friendship, ghosts and magic. Her first novel Delia’s Shadow was published by Tor Books in 2013, A Barricade In Hell in 2014, and Against A Brightening Sky in 2015. Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction, administered by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Art Counsel. She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can.

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What are story bundles, and why should authors care about them?

A story bundle is an ebook box set that has a few characteristics that make it different from standard ebook box sets.

The main story bundling websites right now are BundleRabbit, StoryBundle, and Humble Bundle. StoryBundle and BundleRabbit only bundle books; Humble Bundle also bundles games.


Bundles can be purchased through a bundling website and, depending on how that site works, may also be available through online stores like Amazon, iBooks, etc.

Most bundles are available for a limited time only – for example, a bundle might be available for three weeks, and then it’s gone forever. Availability is determined by the rules of the bundling site, and by the duration the curator sets.

For example, The Escapist Bundle is currently available on Storybundle, but only for another eighteen days. The Witches’ Brew bundle is available on BundleRabbit, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble, and at present there is no set end date for this collection.

How does one create a bundle?

The person who organizes a bundle is referred to as the curator. For StoryBundle and Humble Bundle, someone wanting to curate a bundle should contact the site; for BundleRabbit, anyone can create an account and put together a bundle.

The curator determines the theme, invites authors to participate, writes the sales copy, handles creation of marketing images if needed, sets the price, determines the duration of the bundle, decides if a portion of the sale price can be donated to charity, etc.

How can an author participate in a bundle?

If you know someone who is or will be curating a bundle, you can request to participate. Or you might suggest another author create a bundle, and offer one of your stories (this approach has the added advantage of you not having to do the organizational work…).

BundleRabbit is unique in that authors can upload stories they’d like to have in bundles; curators can search the available content and extend invitations to authors through the website.

How does the revenue split work?

The bundling site will take a percentage of the proceeds after taxes and fees, then the rest is split between the curator and the authors.

Unlike a typical anthology, the bundling website handles splitting and delivering the revenue. This is a huge plus for the curator as he/she can focus on the content, images, marketing, etc.

Why should an author want to participate in a bundle?

Bundles generally include stories from multiple authors, each of whom has their own set of fans. By participating in a bundle, an author’s work is exposed to readers who might not have come across it otherwise.

The authors typically each do some form of promotion, whether it’s posting on Twitter, sharing information on Facebook, or talking about the bundle in a newsletter or on a blog. Because there are multiple authors all doing promotion, each individual author gets more exposure than they would be able to on their own.


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Bundle story: “Something After Saturday” by Steve Vernon

Daddy thought that he could just put old Granny out onto the hillside, just because he didn’t want her around the house anymore – only Daddy had another think coming. Something was going to happen. Something bad. Something dark and nasty, sometime after Saturday.

“If Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson and Robert Bloch had a three-way sex romp in a hot tub, and then a team of scientists came in and filtered out the water and mixed the leftover DNA into a test tube, the resulting genetic experiment would most likely grow up into Steve Vernon.” – Bookgasm

“Steve Vernon was born to write. He’s the real deal and we’re lucky to have him.” – Richard Chizmar

“Something After Saturday” is in the Witches’ Brew bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

Steve is a writer and an oral tradition storyteller; he learned the storytelling tradition from his grandfather, and regularly tells stories to in-person audiences ranging from 5 to 5,000 spectators. He writes horror, paranormal, dark fantasy, and ghost stories, and specializes in the fine old art of booga-booga.

Think of Steve as that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the saber-tooth tiger.

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Three easy ways to use Facebook to get mailing list sign ups

Here are three different ways you can use a Facebook page to direct people to your mailing list/newsletter sign up page.

  1. Add a sign up button to your page
  2. Provide a link in your page’s cover photo
  3. Use an app to add a sign up tab and form

Add a sign up button to your page

Underneath the cover photo on your Facebook page is a button labeled “+ Add a Button.”

If you click on this you’ll see a popup containing a slew of options. To set up a link to your sign up page:

  • Select ‘Get in Touch,’ then on the next popup select ‘Sign Up.’
  • Enter the URL to the sign up page on your author/publishing press website and hit ‘Add Button.’

Your Facebook page now has a ‘Sign Up’ button that takes you to the link you entered. If you hover over the button you’ll see a ‘Test Button’ link – click it to verify that the button goes where you think it should.

Provide a link in your page’s cover photo

  • Click on your page’s cover photo.
  • Edit the description for the photo and add a link to your sign up page.
  • Save the description.

Now when someone clicks on your cover photo, the description – with the link you added – will be displayed.

Use an app to add a sign up tab and form

You can use an app to a tab to the sidebar of your page. When the user clicks on that tab, a sign up form will be displayed on your Facebook page.

aWeber, Constant Contact, and MailChimp are a few of the companies who currently provide apps to integrate mailing list/newsletter sign ups with Facebook. Each app works a bit differently, so make sure to read the documentation for whichever one you use.

Here’s a screenshot showing how app configuration works with aWeber. Notice that the list and the form used are options, so you might create one form for use on Facebook and another for use on your website.

And here’s how this particular sign up form looks on a Facebook page. Notice the ‘Email Signup’ link at the bottom of the sidebar – clicking that takes you to this page. In this screenshot, there’s also a ‘Sign Up’ button under the cover photo that was created following the ‘Add a sign up button to your page’ steps above.

If your email marketing provider doesn’t offer an app, you can always write one yourself.


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Bundle story: “Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker

A mystery girl appears in the midst of a winter thunderstorm, seeking a witch to break a terrible curse: the girl has accidentally destroyed the Realm of Faery.

Seventeen-year-old Stacy, young to the Craft but growing in power and reputation thanks to her hand in thwarting the last apocalypse, might be able to save both Faery and the girl.

If Stacy refuses to help, both the realm and the girl will die. But helping the girl can only lead to heartbreak—and a choice that will change them both forever.

An impossible problem. A heroine with the courage and heart to take on the challenge against all odds. To enter the magic, read PHOENIX.

PHOENIX is a story in The Faery Chronicles series.

“Phoenix” is in the Fantasy in the City bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

Leslie Claire Walker grew up among the lush bayous of southeast Texas. She lives in the spectacularly green Pacific Northwest with cats, harps, and too many fantasy novels to count. She takes her inspiration from the dark beauty of the city, the power of myth, and music ranging from Celtic harp to heavy metal. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies.

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