Saturday, 11 January 2014

Things to consider when creating a box set

by JD Smith

Boxset, box set, boxed set, I've been asked to add all three titles to covers when designing them for clients. But regardless of which terminology you prefer, here's a few things to consider when creating your box set.

As yet, other than releasing a series of books as one physical book, there is no option to print on demand publish a series of books. So here's I'm referring to ebook publication only.

The Insides
Many authors argue that a table of contents isn't necessary for fiction, and unless you have front and back matter of interest, I'm personally fairly indifferent to the idea of having a list of chapters in a table of contents. However, for books created as a box set, it's vital. Books making up an ebook box set are contained in one document, and the only way to navigate from one book to another is to have a table of contents directing readers to the title page of each book.

You can also trim down front and back matter, having a combined copyright page, dedication, acknowledgements and a single page at the back of the set with links to other books and author website and social media.

The Cover
Many box sets, even ebook box sets, have a 3D cover. However, many people design their 3D covers with a white background:

Great in theory, but whilst a 3D boxset can be published successfully through retailers like Amazon, some other retailers, such as Smashwords and Apple, don't accept them. How do you get around the problem, short of designing a 2D cover?

I spoke to support staff at Smashwords and they/Apple will accept covers which have a 2D element, including the title and author name, which means they will accept a file similar to this:

You still get a great 3D box set image in there, just with the addition of the background and author name/titles. The cover doesn't have to be 3D at all, of course, but it does make a nice differential between single books and sets of books.


  1. Can you tell me what you used to create the box set 3D image? Just photoshop or did you have some sort of template or widget that helped? Thanks!

  2. Hi Michael, I create them manually using Photoshop and Indesign software. Jane

    1. Do you have a tutorial for how you make them using Photoshop and InDesign or would you consider making one? I'll be putting out some box sets in the future and would like to learn how to do this.