Essay – On Curating a Story Bundle

For the month of October 2022, I’m part of the “Witches, Wands, and Wanderers” story bundle.

I’ve taken part in many different story bundles over the years. It’s always been a heady experience. The very first time I was invited, it felt like being included at the Adult’s table for Thanksgiving.

I don’t want to say that they’re old hat now—it’s always a thrill to get an invite. And sometimes the story bundle has a lot of meaning to me.

But I tend to be invited to two or three a year. So it isn’t as special as it once was.

However, this story bundle is very different, at least for me.

Instead of being invited to partake in this story bundle, I’m the curator. I’m the one who put it all together, who chose the theme, found the writers and the books, came up with the ad campaign, chose the charity, etc.

I’m the driving force behind this story bundle.

So I thought I’d write a little about this process, a sort of peek behind the curtain, as it were.


What is the timeline for your project? I chose to start the process months in advance so that I could do most of the work ahead of time. Even if you don’t do that, you need to have an idea of when you want the story bundle to run. Generally speaking, the schedule for story bundles gets put into place six months before they run. You can’t come up with an idea and expect it to be in place in a month. You need to plan for these things.


You need to come up with a unifying theme that isn’t a complete repeat of something that’s already been done. A good reference for figuring out a theme is the story bundle archive:

In my experience, having been part of many different story bundles, the ones that do the best are the ones that are most tightly themed. Fans want their genre, not a smattering of genres. This is why the Witches bundle is mostly urban fantasy.

Once you come up with an idea, you get to pitch it to Jason Chen, the guy who runs story bundle. Use one of the emails on the story bundle contact page. ( I’ve pitched more than one idea to Jason. The Witches idea was the first one that he accepted. In retrospect, I realized that the others weren’t well enough defined.

Finding Appropriate Books

Hopefully, you’re pitching a story bundle that will highlight one of your own books. And maybe you have a couple of writer friends who you could tap as well, who also have books.

Where are you going to find the rest of the books for your bundle?

Do you belong to any writer organizations? I belong to a few. I let people know that I was looking for bundles on those forums.

I also belong to a few writer groups on Facebook. I posted to one of them as well. (

Before I did this pitching, I came up with a standard pitch that I sent to everyone, telling them exactly what I was looking for, as well as what I was not looking for. This is the pitch that I created, and I started posting on July 1st, giving people an entire month for sending me stuff.


Witches, Wands, and Wanderers

This is the title of a StoryBundle that I’m putting together. I need novels (NO collections) where the main character defines themselves as a witch, that are preferably urban or contemporary fantasy, but I could stretch that a little. Must be at least 30K words, and either stand alone or be the first in a series. The StoryBundle runs for four weeks starting Oct 5, 2022. Your book CANNOT be in KU during this period, and the book cannot be free.

You all know how StoryBundle works. (See if you’re not familiar with it.) I curate the titles, pull together between ten to twelve books, and launch the bundle. Everyone promotes heavily—I have a BOGO planned, and I’d like to interview the authors in the bundle ahead of time, so there will be some easy, ready-made posts for people to like and share.

Your book must have a top-notch fantasy cover. It also can’t have been in a StoryBundle before.

If you have a title that fits, EMAIL me the cover of the book, a description, a link to the book, and any marketing ideas you may have. LRCUTTER at GMAIL. I’d like to skim all the books in the bundle before we go live, so I’ll at least be familiar with what is in the bundle.

Deadline: August 1, 2022, or as soon as I have all the novels I want, whichever comes first. Chances are, this bundle will fill LONG before the deadline. So if you have something that fits, let me know sooner rather than later.


Choosing Books

This took time because I was being picky. I instantly rejected books that weren’t urban fantasy, or that didn’t have an obvious witch as the main character.

At the end, I had over twenty books to choose from. Then I went looking at the author’s social media presence, their website, etc. There was one author who I turned down because she hadn’t updated her website in over three years.

I also read samples of every book. Once I finished the sample, I asked myself if I wanted to read more? That helped me get rid of a few more books.

Eventually, I narrowed it down to twelve, which is a lot. Most of the story bundles that I’ve been a part of have only ten. But I wanted all of these books in my bundle, so I went ahead and chose them.

Prep Work

I created a Google Drive folder, then gave everyone access to it. I wanted everyone to put a copy of their cover, as well as to fill out an interview for me. I created a promotion spreadsheet so that people could fill in when they had specific dates for promo. Some people had newsletters going out, and when I scheduled an interview, I always made sure that the interview occurred before the newsletter so that the writer could link to it.

I also created all the ads for the bundle, such as a Facebook post, a Facebook header, a Twitter post, an Instagram post, and so on. These got sent out to everyone once we went live.

I had to write all the page copy, about the bundle itself. I wrote all the curator notes, talking about each book.

Jason sends out an email asking for authors to send him information regarding the bundle. I ended up being involved in that, sending follow-up emails or reaching out on Facebook to ping authors. I had to do a lot more that week than I’d anticipated—next time, I’ll know to plan for it.

After the Bundle Starts

Now, the bundle is running. I have all the author interviews scheduled, so I can post them early and have them automatically published.

All bundles have a life cycle. People get all excited and so you have a lot of sales at the start of the bundle. Then, just before the bundle ends, you get another spurt of sales.

It’s the mushy middle that you need to worry about.

So I’m running a BOGO—buy a copy of the bundle and send me the email receipt, and I’ll send you a free book! But only for a week or so during the middle of the bundle. Just something to maybe drive a few more sales of the book. (And yes, when someone goes to download the free book, they’ll have the option of joining my newsletter.)

After the Bundle Ends

Jason will handle all the paperwork with the authors, dividing out the money, etc. As a curator, I’ll send a thank you note to the authors.

And start planning for my next one!

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