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.